Let me see if I’ve got this straight: GI Joe is an elite military task force tasked with stopping COBRA, a nefarious terrorist organization who spend all their time attacking GI Joe. Viewed from this perspective, this is completely, inexplicably irrational, making it perhaps the most brilliant satire of military history ever to appear on syndicated TV, save for “Charles in Charge.” More likely, though, is that the whole thing is just an elaborate ruse by the armed forces aimed at keeping their most inept recruits busy with their most incompetent foe while the grown-ups get on with the real work of defending the country. That would go a long way to explaining their piss-poor marksmanship, not to mention how William “The Refrigerator” Perry wound up in their ranks.
Still, to their credit, the Joes clearly embrace their diversity. Anyone can be a Joe, provided he isn’t like anyone else on the squad. The practical upshot of this is that they only have one guy capable of doing each job: One pilot, one gunner, one… ninja. (If I ran the military, every battalion would have at least one ninja.) The One Guy Policy either incredibly efficient and optimistic, or the stupidest strategy ever. COBRA may have been inept and ass-backwards, but at least they had a little built-in redundancy. Not to mention really cool headgear. And a floating fortress of death! For a group with no discernible goals or income, they do all right for themselves. Yep, if it weren’t for the whole yelling-their-name-when-they-attack thing, I would totally join COBRA.
At least I would have before GI JOE: THE MOVIE, when we found out that COBRA were really just a front for Cobra-la, an ancient snake cult that lives in the Himalayas. Which makes about as much sense as a bunch of Saharan tribesmen worshipping polar bears, but whatever. Yes, to recap, COBRA, the feared international terrorist army, are being secretly manipulated by an ancient race of reptilians who live in one of the coldest climates on earth. It makes so much sense that I think we should demand that the government send ridiculously expensive expeditions into northern India just to ensure that there aren’t any snake cults lurking there.
Apparently the cultists decided that the mid-80s was finally the right time to emerge from the mountains, perhaps because their outfits had finally come back into fashion. More likely, however, they were looking to turn the human race into drooling, mindless animals, and they figured that “Battle of the Network Stars” had already done most of the work for them. To finish off the other half, they needed to seize control of the transmitter for (and this is true) something called BET, which GI Joe is testing out at the start of the film. How exactly Black Entertainment Television figures into world domination is never made explicitly clear, but it’s a safe bet that it involves the mobilization of several hundred Wayanses and possibly a WHITE GIRLS sequel.
Apparently, with the aid of BET, the Cobra-lalians will release spores into the atmosphere. Fortunately for us, since they’re using the COBRA army, we know there’s little chance they will succeed. Unfortunately for us, the Army let GI Joe guard the BET thing, which means there’s a good chance that it will get captured. Apparently for the Joes, guarding a priceless piece of equipment means one or two guys, tops. Maybe if they let themselves have, I don’t know, more than one MP or something. Hell, he doesn’t even have to be a full-timer. Get yourselves a temp, guys, and save on the benefits.
Instead, they task Duke’s mildly retarded brother Falcon with watching the transmitter, which he promptly screws up by bringing an in-disguise COBRA operative in to show it off. Maybe I’m out of touch, but are women really that turned on by giant military vehicles these days? Somebody needs to tell Falcon about tequila shooters. They’re easier to get your hands on, and that way it’s two people at most who are likely to end up brain damaged, not the entire human race. But we all know how little brothers are…
So the BET thing gets stolen, and one of the COBRA bigwigs escapes from the brig, all because Duke was too busy to take his little brother out and get him laid. Sad, really. So what happens to the little runt for crippling the war effort and possibly dooming the entire race to Death by Wayans? Military prison until he’s 80? A severe beating from his fellow Joes? No, he’s sent for more training, which probably should have happened before they let him guard priceless equipment.
In the end, Falcon redeems himself by infiltrating the Cobra-la headquarters and shutting off BET, probably right before “Martin” came on, for which we should all be grateful. COBRA, it seems, will have to live without Sheneneh for one day more.
Alas, the next day, Destro had digital cable installed, which not only had BET but also TV Land and three channels of MTV. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.
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