I love GI Joe and if you’re reading this, chances are you at least like it. But, if we’re being honest, all three GI Joe films have big plot holes. They’re all entertaining but which one had the most logic fails?
At its heart, GI Joe is about US special forces versus a terrorist organization but which holds up best, taken on its own merits? In other words, we can accept that Destro can invent nanomites that eat metal but why does he need to kidnap a scientist to “weaponize” them? Let’s take a look at each of the three films and see which has the most plot holes. Read on but be warned that there are SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the films.
Movie: G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987)
What does the protagonist want: Lt. Falcon wants to prove that he has what it takes to be a GI Joe, stop Cobra from taking over the world, and get revenge for his brother, Duke.
What is the plot: Cobra plans to steal the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (BET) from the GI Joes. While their initial attempt fails, they retreat to Cobra Commander’s secret home: Cobra La, a secret community in the Himalayan mountains comprised of a pre-human society that uses living technology. They want to use the BET to explode spores that will turn humans into dumb animals, allowing them to take over the world.
Does it star a pro-wrestler: Yes, Sgt. Slaughter plays a version of himself, a drill instructor who ends up training Lt. Falcon.
1) Cobra La sends Pythona to tell Serpentor that they actually created him but they don’t tell him where their base is. The Joes HAPPEN to be testing the BET near Cobra La and Cobra Commander takes Cobra there. Pythona should’ve let Serpentor know where she’s from.
2) GI Joe sends what appears to be their entire team to a snow environement to test the BET. Despite it being best suited to Joes such as Snow Job, Iceberg, or Frostbite, they do nothing. Quick Kick is allowed to go shirtless.
3) GI Joe is having an audition process for new members and has let in a basketball player and a dumb mute who wears gaudy Hawaiian shirts (their other trainees make sense: explosives expert, military police, green beret and ninja).
4) Lt. Falcon abandons his guard duty to flirt with Jinx. This leads to the Dreadnoks being able to penetrate the rest of GI Joe defenses. Falcon is held solely to blame despite all defenses and other servicemembers failing (Falcon IS a dick, but what difference could he have made?)
5) Sgt. Slaughter takes Falcon and three other trainees on a recon mission to discover Cobra’s plans. He does not allow them to take weapons because it would be a tougher exercise.
6) All of the Joe army except the trainees are captured by Cobra La defenses but the handful of new members are able to defeat Cobra La without much trouble.
Movie: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
What does the protagonist want: Duke wants to serve his country and also save his old girlfriend who has become the Baroness.
What is the plot: Duke and his friend Ripcord are Army soldiers transporting nanomites when they are attacked by Destro’s Vipers but survive. They are brought into GI Joe, an international anti-terrorism force, and tasked with recovering the nanotech that was stolen.
Does it star a pro-wrestler: Nope.
1) Duke and Ripcord are helping NATO escort some nanotech bombs that they bought from Destro.
2) They are escorting them out of Kyrgyzstan! The second poorest country in all of Central Asia whose only real thing they produce is agriculture.
3) Destro steals them back! He could have kept them or made more.
4) Destro plans to use them to attack world capitals despite pretending to be a peaceful arms manufacturer.
5) Snake Eyes is a ninja that wears a mask with sculpted lips.
6) Zartan, Storm Shadow and Baroness invade GI Joe headquarters but only Storm Shadow and Baroness do anything, stealing the nanotech from GI Joe. Zartan disguises himself as a camel driver above GI Joe headquarters in the middle of the Sahara desert, looks directly at the camera with a smirk and just moseys away.
7) The nanotech bombs are being kept in a simple safe in General Hawk’s office, hardly the protection that such a weapon warrants.
8) The Baroness forces her husband, who is a Baron and a scientist, to turn Destro’s nanotech into bombs. Destro then has Storm Shadow kill him because he likes the Baroness. No reason for her to have married the guy.
9) Cobra plans to destroy the Eiffel Tower in Paris. GI Joe sends only 5 men in a rented SUV to stop them. They give the newest recruits, Duke and Ripcord, their most powerful weapons (accelerator suits).
10) GI Joe does not stop Cobra from destroying the Eiffel Tower but does hit the kill switch to stop the nanotech from destroying the rest of Paris. Which means Cobra could have set the weapon off anywhere and it would’ve been much easier for their purposes. Cobra captures Duke, for whatever that’s worth.
11) Destro’s main henchman, the Doctor, is revealed to be the Baroness’ brother, Rex, who was left for dead when he was in the Army with Duke. Because he didn’t protect Rex, the Baroness broke off her engagement with Duke. But she never realized that she was working for her brother!
12) Breaker figures out where Cobra’s base is by sticking metal rods into a dead Viper’s head. They don’t even try to cover it up with psuedoscience.
13) GI Joe attacks Cobra’s underwater Arctic base but Cobra manages to launch some nanotech missiles. Ripcord catches up to them because Cobra left a fueled and ready single jet by their base entrance. Ripcord can fly the jet despite the fact that he is not an Air Force or Navy pilot, but an Army paratrooper.
14) At the very end, The Doctor puts on a chrome mask and calls himself Commander but he, Destro and Baroness are all arrested and Storm Shadow is left for dead. The movie is called The Rise of Cobra. Cobra does not rise.
Movie: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
What does the protagonist want: Roadblock wants revenge for his fallen comrades.
What is the plot: Zartan is impersonating the President of the United States. He issues a kill order on GI Joe and frames them as terrorists while also sending Storm Shadow to free Cobra Commander. Zartan has built his own private army called Cobra to obey Cobra Commander and they’ve also built giant sattelite weapons capable of destroying an entire city. Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye are the only survivors of Zartan’s attack and they team up with Snake Eyes (who was on a personal mission) and his new trainee Jinx, as well as General Joe Colton who the Joes are named after. They eventually infiltrate a meeting Zartan’s set up among the nuclear powers of the world and try to stop Cobra from causing massive damage to the planet.
Does it star a pro-wrestler: Yes, The Rock is the lead of this movie, playing Roadblock, the second-in-command of GI Joe who is forced to lead its survivors to clear their name and save the world.
1) Roadblock, Duke, Lady Jaye and Flint go on a covert op to save someone from North Korea. Roadblock cuts through a wire fence with bright, glowing hand lasers and Flint runs the GI Joe flag up at the North Korea base.
2) Roadblock flat out guesses that the President of the United States ordered the attack on GI Joe.
3) Snake Eyes is arrested and brought to a high-level prison where Destro and Cobra Commander are being held. The warden unmasks him only to learn that it is Storm Shadow in disguise. No one thought to check they had the right man. Storm Shadow does not immediately attack since he is surrounded by armed guards but the warden never calls anyone to tell them what’s up. Storm Shadow (with the help of Firefly) easily kill everyone and release Cobra Commander.
4) The Joes hide out in an old gym full of dusty old equipment. Lady Jaye assembles it into a state of the art system that analyzes the President and she’s able to tell that his behavior is slightly different.
5) The Joes conclude that it is Zartan, despite the fact that Zartan is supposedly good at impersonating people.
6) General Joe Colton keeps thousands of weapons hidden in his house. The first he shows include grenades hidden right beneath his kitchen stovetop. It escalates until he just opens normal cabinets full of guns and shows that he keeps a tank in his car garage.
7) The Joes drive that tank from Washington, D.C. to South Caroline (where Zartan is holding a nuclear powers meeting) without anyone noticing.
8) The Joes infiltrate the meeting but still wait until Zartan/the President drops a weapon that destroys all of London before trying to stop him.
9) The weapon is a series of steel rods in satellites all over the globe. They simply drop them and it impacts with the force of a massive bomb but with no radiation. The Joes eventually turn the weapons off and the satellites then blow up. The steel rods should be peppering the planet now.
10) At an awards ceremony, General Colton gives Roadblock a loaded handgun that General Patton once owned. Despite the President being there, Roadblock immediately aims the gun into the sky and shoots it as the movie cuts to black. Who gives loaded guns at ceremonies where the President is? Who shoots it in the air for no reason?
I won’t enumerate this one but RZA plays the Blind Master, the leader of the ninja order that trained Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx.
Winner: G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra
So if we add it up, we come to the somewhat shocking conclusion that the cartoon GI Joe has the least logic fails. The thing is, you have to accept the world the movie gives you. So I can’t critique the ridiculousness of Cobra La, just like I won’t criticize the ridiculousness of accelerator suits. I WILL dock points for giving accelerator suits to the least trained members of the team when there are better options. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra EASILY wins for dumbest movie. If you disagree or have anything to add, let’s get a discussion going!