Question: What do boys like?

A: Pretty girls who beat you up. (Check.)

B: Shooting a ninja’s throwing stars out of the air with a handgun. (Check.)

C. Ridiculous vehicles that are basically just bombs on wheels. (Check.)

D. Quoting rap lyrics like Bible passages. (Check.)

In these regards, the new Super Bowl ad for G.I. Joe: Retaliation has all the bases covered, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson opening it by quoting Jay-Z’s soldier’s lament “Don’t Let Me Die.”

Click through for a not-so-serious (but affectionate) dissection of G.I. Joe mythology and the new footage.

Sunday’s much-heralded promo for the June 29 movie starts by playing up the sex appeal, opening with a shot of Elodie Yung as the red ninja Jinx, shedding her robe as she steps forth to do blindfolded battle. (Click here for the trailer, which debuted first on Apple.)

It’s usually the kind of imagery reserved for a Calgon (‘Take me away!”) commercial, which she may just need after crossing swords with everyone’s favorite mute, masked, commando-ninja Snake Eyes.

Director Jon M. Chu repeats the technique of juxtaposing soft femininity with a bit of the old ultra-violence a little later in the trailer, when we meet Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), who was the kind of butch tough-as-nails female member of the Joe team in the 1980s cartoon.

Only here we see her first in a red ballgown — low-cut up top, and high-cut on the bottom — dancing the night away before another shot of her in butch mode, introducing a turban-wearing gentleman to the butt of her machine gun.

These shots are clearly aimed straight at the amygdala of the average, heterosexual male. But what does G.I. Joe: Retaliation offer the ladies?

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Here’s a photo that will make Freud choke on his cigar.

Only Dwayne Johnson could possibly stand upright while shooting a gun that big. (I would fly off into the distance like Wall-E riding that fire extinguisher in deep space.)

If you’re into waifish, hipster guys with small, soft hands, this probably isn’t the movie for you. Here we see Johnson in the lead role of the machine gunner Roadblock, and though you might — at first glance — think he’s in top physical shape, I say it’s pretty obvious he has had some work done.

My guess is we’re looking at a little biceptoplasty, in which swimmies are surgically implanted under the skin of his arms, then inflated to the breaking point. I don’t see any other explanation, frankly.

If older guys are more your speed, the movie offers a supporting role by the original tough guy, Bruce Willis, who turns up as Gen. Colton, the founder of the G.I. Joes. He gets the applause line of the movie with his quote from the trailer: “Call me Joe.”

Or maybe if you like them tall, dark, and mysterious, Cobra Commander is your kind of love connection (seen here with wingman Firefly, played by Rome‘s Ray Stevenson). He’s the perfect guy for a narcissist — you’d spend the whole date with Senor Faceplate staring back into your own eyes.

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As a child of the ’80s, Chu knows how fans of this classic Hasbro toy line think (or used to think). The new trailer gives us a face-off (well…as much as you can with two guys in masks) between the villainous Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee, in white) and the strong, silent good guy, Snake Eyes (Ray Park, in black).

Chu recreates fantasy combat moves that only a kid could imagine to be possible. Like this little maneuver …

“Well, if a ninja came at me with his throwing stars, I’d just… shoot them out of the air!”


Of course you would, brah! Just like you shot all those grains of sand away when your big brother kicked them in your face at the beach.

Let’s face it: Geeky little boys talk about fighting the way Mark Wahlberg talks about Sept. 11.

For instance, if you’re falling from a high distance, you can just propel yourself back up by shooting your machine gun at the ground.

Try it next time!

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One of the great joys of the original Hasbro toy line was how utterly !@#$%& ridiculous the vehicles were. (See this amazing compilation for proof: The 20 Stupidest G.I. Joe Vehicles Ever.)

The adjective “stupidest” is a little harsh. These fantasy war machines are absurd, certainly, but that was part of the fun. G.I. Joe was advertised as a “real American hero,” but no one ever put much stock in the “real” part. Every bad guy always jumped safely out of the way when their car/plane/boat would explode.

The vehicles were made to crash, essentially. In the new movie, here’s a plane that looks more like a tank with wings. Very aerodynamic!

And imagine how scary it is driving this actual tank, what with all those rockets shooting out RIGHT BESIDE your cockpit window.

Earplugs, please! Or you’ll never listen to Jay-Z again.

When it came to the original toys, even an 8-year-old knew that if you could really go for a ride in the Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball, chances are your body would just pour out of that thing like a spilled Slurpee the next time someone opened its door.

The vehicles in Retaliation aren’t quite THAT off-the-wall, but they still seem to have been designed by the guys from Jackass.

*(Made-up dialogue, not the real thing.)

Cobra Commander: “Okay, Firefly… We want you to drive your motorcycle straight at the compound.”

Firefly: “Won’t it be heavily fortified? I can’t carry that much ammunition on my bike.”

Cobra Commander: “THAT’S the beautiful part! The BIKE itself is made up of several small bombs which will break up when you go over a sweet jump.”

Firefly: “Er…”

Cobra Commander: “And then they’ll just kind of rocket straight forward like mini-missiles.”

Firefly: “What happens to me…? ”

Cobra Commander: “Oh… You’ll have a parachute. And a helmet. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Let’s just get serious for minute: Kids, enjoy this stuff in the movies, but don’t try it in real life.

Now you know … And knowing is something-something.

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • Movie
  • 100 minutes
  • Jon M. Chu