Review: 'G.I. Joe" a Real American Hero on 4KHD

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday July 27, 2021

It's no wonder that after the success of the "Transformers" franchise, Hasbro — the toy manufacturer behind Transformers — would offer up another one of its biggest brands. Thus, the most well-armed action figures of the '80s were on their way to make their big-screen debut!

"G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero" was one of the most popular action figure lines to hit the market, and with the advent of Reagan-era military pride, the paramilitary special forces unit was all the rage of boys. When you couple that with a Marvel Comic and an animated series, the G. I. Joes were an instant phenomenon. The big-screen adaptation had all the hardware and gadgets that were central to the toy line, and featured a cast lead by "Magic Mike" star Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid, and some impressive explosions.

The fault in the first movie in the franchise, "The Rise of COBRA," was the wasted effort to build up a back story between two of the leads, Tatum and Sienna Miller, the latter of whom portrayed one of the villainous arch enemies from a terrorist organization bent on world domination. Add in the comedy relief provided by Marlon Wayans, and you have the recipe for a largely incoherent mess that should have been an action-packed spectacle from start to finish — not that the action isn't in there. For the franchise's follow-up, "Retaliation," the roster expanded to make room for Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, but it hardly felt as interesting as the trip to the toy store.

Now, for the first time, the two films are being released in 4K Ultra HD for the ultimate cinematic experience right from the comfort of your living room. The colors are more vivid and the detail is extraordinary. In some cases this is beneficial, but in others it makes for some very cartoony-looking set pieces, especially when detailing the scenes displaying the depths of the JOE headquarters. The movies don't really do justice to the G. I. Joe toy line and cartoons, which for many marked and framed our childhoods; still, the movies have the makings of the blockbuster action that we often imagined in our own backyards.

Both films feature commentary by the filmmakers.

"G. I. Joe: Retaliation" special features include:

  • G. I. Joe: Declassified featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes


    "G. I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA" and "G. I. JOE: Retaliation" are available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray on Digital for $24.99.

    Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".