This was never going to be pretty, now it’s getting downright ugly. Spoilers to follow (sort of).
Last week came the news that G.I. Joe: Retaliation had been pushed back nine months to March 2013 in order to make way for 3D post-conversion. It was pretty clear then that there was more to this story, now we have confirmation. Word is that Paramount got skittish after poor test screenings – the gist of which being audiences disliked Channing Tatum’s Duke being killed off in the first act.
Duke, as you might remember, was the lead in G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra – a throwaway character in a throwaway (but mildly amusing) film. It’s not like audiences are clamoring for more Duke, it’s Channing Tatum they want. After back-to-back hits with The Vow and 21 Jump Street, few rising actors are having a better 2012 than the once and future Magic Mike. So rather than open their picture and hope for the best, Paramount is going to throw more money at this thing and… well, still hope for the best.
Of course, none of this bodes well for director Jon Chu – who was reportedly as surprised as we were that the film was getting delayed. Will this still be Chu’s picture come March of next year? If the test screenings went as poorly as it sounds it is hard to imagine a scenario where another director isn’t brought in to finish what was started. Like Stephen Sommers before him, it would appear Chu is being pushed out of his G.I. Joe film. And what becomes of Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in all of this? Will their schedules allow the necessary time to insert Tatum back into the film, or is the plan to send Tatum off on a mission away from the other principals?
If the original cut of this film is the least bit salvageable, I would love for Paramount to release a “director’s cut” Blu-ray down the line. Good or bad, this trailer sold me on a film I’ll probably never have a chance to see. If you were one of the lucky few (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) to screen G.I. Joe: Retaliation in its original form, I would love to hear your take on all of this.
Seen the film? Contact Tim on Twitter: @roboTimKelly