By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com April 24, 2012 at 8:40AM
Three years back, Paramount hoped that "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" would follow in the footsteps of their other toy-based franchise, "Transformers," and become a giant blockbuster. The film did ok -- $300 million worldwide is nothing to sniff at. But given that the film cost a little more than $200 million, excluding marketing, it wasn't the kind of profit machine that they'd hoped for. Unbowed, the studio have ripped it up and (almost) started again, bringing a new director, "Step Up 3D" helmer Jon M. Chu, and essentially restarted the cast, with Dwayne Johnson now heading up the film (after he helped make "Fast Five" by far the biggest in the series), and Bruce Willis added to the mix as well.
But has it given the series a new creative lease on life? Hmm. We've got a pair of new trailers for the movie, a domestic one via Rope of Silicon and an international one via Digital Spy (essentially the same, but cannily tinkered-with to make the threat seem more global for foreign audiences), and it's looking pretty similar to the first film, to be honest. We've got international landmarks being trashed (in this case, London rather than Paris: bad news for anyone with Olympics tickets, then), weightless CGI-heavy action and gadgetry, and a cast mostly made up of young, attractive, bland people like D.J. Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki and Elodie Yung.
The slap-headed quip contest between Johnson and Willis still looks like the biggest selling point here, but even that seems to be a little lacking in the trailer (and Paramount must be feeling a little regretful about their decision to seemingly kill off Channing Tatum's character early on, given that he's had two $100 million hits already this year -- five will get you ten he pops up, still alive, in some kind of post-credits coda). We're not against some dumb, glossy, action fun, but the indications here are that the lessons from the original weren't learnt. Let's hope we're wrong: we'll find out when the movie opens on June 29th.