With the teaser trailer for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," it looked like Paramount Pictures was doing a reboot of the franchise. Granted, "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" was a box office hit, but reviews were not kind and fans complained that this was not the "real American hero" they all grew up with.
Judging from the sequel's latest trailer, however, it looks as if the studio and director Jon M. Chu ("Step-Up 2: The Streets" and "Step-Up 3-D") are bringing that back with the cast additions of two American movie stars: Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Johnson and Willis are featured very prominently in the preview, to the point where the original's star, Channing Tatum, looks as though he's merely making a cameo this time around.
Born in Hayward, California, Johnson has gone from the World Wrestling Federation to being a bona fide movie star. His resume shows him in action movies like "The Scorpion King" and "The Rundown" as well as more family-oriented flicks such as "Race to Witch Mountain" and "Tooth Fairy," so he has taken the Arnold Schwarzenegger route by going from one genre to the next. And, like Schwarzenegger, Johnson's physical form makes him an imposing presence in action flicks like this sequel.
Johnson's last big hit was "Fast Five," in which he proved to be Vin Diesel's toughest opponent yet, using his imposing presence to great effect. As Roadblock in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," he looks to be bringing that same quality of the indestructible soldier to the movie.
Johnson is this generation's embodiment of '80s action stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone in that he plays characters who never go down without a fight. I think that makes him a much-needed addition to this particular series -- the previous movie seriously lacked it.
As John McClane in "Die Hard," Willis forever changed the face of the '80s action hero in movies. Instead of the usual superhuman machine that crushes everything in his path, Willis gave us an everyman we could easily relate to, making the conflicts he was involved in all the more emotionally visceral and exciting.
Seeing Willis in this trailer as what appears to be the original G.I. Joe makes him seem like a welcome addition. His presence should contrast nicely with Johnson's and give "Retaliation" a strong human element which might keep it from being like any other action flick Hollywood typically churns out. While we see him participating in reality-defying stunts, like the one where he's shooting a machine gun from the back of a moving pickup truck, Willis always anchors the characters he plays to a reality we all know and understand.
Seeing these two types of characters, the muscular superhuman fighting force and the average Joe (no pun intended), come together in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" makes it seem more interesting as a result. Usually action movies have one of these characters but not the other, so the one-two punch gives the discerning movie fan more of a reason to check "Retaliation" out when it's released June 29. I didn't care much for "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra," but this sequel looks to be an easy improvement on it.
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