Hollywood: G.I. Joe no Longer American Soldier But an ‘International’ Operative?


By: Warner Todd Huston

Outrageously, a new live-action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line might see Joe’s American soldier identity scrubbed to be replaced by membership in an “international force based in Brussels.” The news site, IGN Entertainment, a site that reports on the gaming, comics and movie industries, has the scoop on the upcoming live-action G.I. Joe movie that Paramount is launching and it is looking like the G.I. Joe that we all loved, that “real American hero,” is going to be replaced with “Action Man,” a member of an “international operations team.” It appears that the American soldier, a liberator and protector, isn’t a good enough role model for the execs at Paramount!

Paramount is even turning Joe’s name into an acronym adding insult to injury. Instead of just being the main character’s name, it will become G.I.J.O.E., meaning “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity.”

In a follow-up to their confirmation that Stephen Sommers will direct G.I. Joe, Variety offers this new description of the team: “G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer. The property is closer in tone to X-Men and James Bond than a war film.”

According to various reports in Variety, Ad Age, and IGN, the producers of G.I. Joe the movie are claiming that marketing will be too difficult on the international market for a movie about a heroic U.S. soldier. So they are thinking of eliminating Joe’s connection to the U.S. military.

Deciding whether to make “GI Joe” at all, let alone how to market it, is nettlesome thanks in large measure to an unpopular American president defending an unpopular war: In a July USA Today/Gallup poll, a record high of 62% respondents had called the invasion of Iraq “a mistake.” A month later, that view is 57%, more or less where it’s been for over a year.

Yet with the announcement that Steven Sommers will direct the movie, though, there is no confirmation that the standard G.I. Joe we all loved as the expression of American heroism will be replaced by the international mercenary man concept. Paramount is refusing to say officially which way they will go, but reports of their vacillation toward an anti-U.S. military point of view are many throughout the industry.

Some rumors claim that the title “G.I. Joe” will even be dropped in the international release to be replaced by “Action Man” (the original name of the Joe series’ British soldier) so that the name won’t offend anyone outside the USA.

Whatever the case, we have another U.S. based entertainment giant ashamed to be Americans. This is par for the course for Hollywood, sadly. It should be recalled that the last Superman movie dropped the American part of Superman’s tag line, “truth, justice, and the American way” because it had American in it, not to mention that every Iraq war movie coming out has an anti-American point of view. So, with that in mind, it is hardly surprising that G.I. Joe is doomed to be denuded of his American identity by a weak-kneed and unpatriotic Hollywood.

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