Who's In It: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Byung-hun Lee, Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Said Taghmaoui
The Basics: For the purposes of this movie there is no "Joe." The former kung-fu-grip-employing boy-doll is now the name of an elite international fighting force hell bent on destroying as much stuff as possible in the name of saving the world (mostly Paris, though, because this is the summer of American action movies that destroy Paris and its never-ending supply of street mimes) from Destro, an evil arms dealer with metal-eating microbugs on his side and Cobra, an international organization of power-mad terrorists. And Sienna Miller in a catsuit.
What's The Deal: When I was in college in the '80s, to watch cartoons on TV involved a passing acquaintance with Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, Voltron and Thundercats. Not that I was even into those all that much. But you watch cartoons in college sometimes, and those were the ones I watched. I never watched G.I. Joe. I never even played with the action figure when I was a kid. Therefore, I do not care about G.I. Joe or his problems. So lucky for me there was no G.I. Joe in this movie at all, just a bunch of tech-savvy counter-terrorists, digital undersea mecha-sharks, fake Eiffel Tower destruction/9-11 exploitation, Double Bubble product placement, and child-on-child face-kicking. It's about nothing, but who cares? It's the last big action movie of the summer and it does what it's supposed to do. Now it's over.
What It's Not:
1. As intentionally confusing or as aggressively stylized or clankingly stupid as theTransformers movies, which makes it also less interesting than those movies.
2. Completely convinced that women can be as superheroic as men, since both of the female leads eventually need saving by some dumb guy, which means the creators never watched the X-Men films.
3. Going to go down without getting those damn Hasbro balloons into at least a couple of shots. Because happy bunches of balloons are what you think about when someone is trying to use iron-munching insects to eat all of Paris and destroy is population.
What I Spent Most Of The Movie Wondering: "Who did Sienna Miller hook up with on this shoot?"