G.I. Joe: The Movie

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G.I. Joe: The Movie
North American VHS box art
Directed by Don Jurwich
Produced by Joe Bacal
Tom Griffin
Written by Buzz Dixon
Based on G.I. Joe
by Hasbro
Starring Don Johnson
Burgess Meredith
Sgt. Slaughter
Music by Robert J. Walsh
Jon Douglas
Cinematography Masatoshi Fukui
Edited by David Hankins
Distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment (1987–2000)
Rhino Entertainment (2000–2010)
Shout! Factory (2010–present)
Hasbro Studios (2010–present)
Release date
  • April 20, 1987 (1987-04-20) (United States)
  • September 19, 1988 (1988-09-19) (United Kingdom)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

G.I. Joe: The Movie (also known as Action Force: The Movie in the UK) is a 1987 animated action-adventure film produced as a spin-off from the animated series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, based on the original Hasbro toyline.[2] It was produced by Sunbow Productions and Marvel Productions and was animated in Japan by Toei Animation Co., Ltd.

Created at the height of the G.I. Joe craze in the 1980s, G.I. Joe: The Movie was intended as a theatrical release to be closely followed by The Transformers: The Movie. However, the G.I. Joe film encountered unexpected production delays which allowed the Transformers feature to be released first. Due to the poor box office performances of The Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie, G.I. Joe: The Movie was instead released direct-to-video as well as aired on television in syndication, first in feature length format and later split into a five-part miniseries format as part of the show's syndication package.


While Cobra Commander and Serpentor blame each other's leadership of Cobra as the root cause of the organization's failures, Pythona, a woman from the secret civilization of Cobra-La, infiltrates the Terror Drome. While there, she reveals to Serpentor that Cobra-La was responsible for planting the idea in Doctor Mindbender's mind to create Serpentor. At her urging, Serpentor plans to capture a revolutionary device that transmits energy at a long distance that G.I. Joe is testing: the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (B.E.T.).

Cobra assaults the Joes as they test the B.E.T. in the Himalayas. The Joes use the B.E.T. to activate their automated weapons systems. Serpentor is captured and Cobra Commander orders a retreat. Duke sends Roadblock and half of the Joes to go after them. Cobra Commander, revealed to know about Cobra-La which happens to be nearby, leads his troops there. Taken off-guard by its Lovecraftian living environment and residents, the pursuing Joes are ambushed and detained. Pythona and fellow Cobra-La resident Nemesis Enforcer claim command of Cobra as Cobra Commander is arrested.

In G.I.Joe headquarters, General Hawk orders Flint to lead a search team back in the Himalayas to look for the Joes that went after Cobra, whom they haven't gotten a word from since. Meanwhile, a new group of rookie Joes are brought onto the team; the unlucky kunoichi Jinx, military police officer Law and his dog Order, former basketball player Big Lob, EOD specialist Tunnel Rat, covert operative Chuckles, and the green beret Lt. Falcon. While the rest of the recruits undergo training, Duke finds Falcon bringing a girl in G. I. Joe headquarters. For abandoning his training, Duke puts Falcon on guard duty while the girl is escorted by Jinx to leave the premises.

It turns out that Falcon's date was really Zarana in disguise, and her visit was a ruse to infiltrate Serpentor's holding cell. Falcon yet abandons his post to flirt with Jinx, allowing the Dreadnoks, Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer to slip through the defenses of Joe headquarters undetected. They free Serpentor, injuring Alpine, Bazooka, and Gung-Ho in the process. Hawk is furious with Falcon for abandoning his post and confines him to his quarters until court-martial.

Arriving in Cobra-La, Serpentor is greeted by the its ruler, Golobulus, who reveals himself to be his creator by using a Psychic Motivator on Mindbender to produce Serpentor. With Serpentor and Cobra, Golobulus then puts Cobra Commander on trial.

During Falcon's court-martial, Duke convinces Hawk to spare Falcon a harsh punishment, and reveals that Falcon is his half-brother. General Hawk reassigns Falcon to the "Slaughter House" where he is to be retrained by Sgt. Slaughter and his "Renegades" consisting of ex-Viper Mercer, former football player Red Dog, and former acrobat Taurus.

Back in Cobra-La, Cobra learns about its history: 40,000 years ago, Cobra-La was an ancient civilization that ruled Earth. However, the Ice Age, the evolution of humans and their development of scientific technology resulted in Cobra-La's survivors being forced into caverns within the Himalayas. Cobra-La rebuilt their society in secret as centuries passed. Golobulus vowed to destroy humanity so that his people could re-claim the earth. He chose a Cobra-La nobleman who was disfigured from an accident while working on biological weapons to go out and conquer the world for him. Said nobleman turns out to be Cobra Commander, but after getting frustrated with his repeated failures, Golobulus has decided to be rid of him.

Golobulus further reveals his plans to launch spore pods into orbit, filled with mutative spores into space and use the B.E.T. to hatch them. The spores that will spread over the Earth will cause mankind to devolve into mindless beasts, allowing Cobra-La to rule over them. And as Cobra Commander's punishment for his failures, Golobulus exposes him to the spores, which starts to slowly devolve Cobra Commander into a snake. Serpentor has Cobra Commander sent to where the captured Joes are being held so that they can see what Cobra-La will do to them. But the captured Joes have been waiting for their cell-door to be opened, and make their attempt to escape. Cobra Commander catches the attention of Roadblock and they both witness Cobra-La's giant plants overpower and entangle the Joes with their vines. Cobra Commander convinces Roadblock to take an escape route instead so that he can call for help.

Still worried about the missing Joes, Duke sends Slaughter and his Renegades on a recon mission in the Terror Drome, where Falcon convinces them to bring him along. They find out that the Baroness has discovered the location of the B.E.T. and Cobra is on its way to attack the facility where it is being hidden. Falcon attempts to contact the Joes guarding the B.E.T. but has been found out and brought to Serpentor. Slaughter and the Renegades confront Serpentor and Nemesis Enforcer who is with him, and the Terror Drome blows up as the Joes escape.

Both Falcon, Slaughter and the Renegades and Serpentor and his group catch up on the ensuing battle between their main forces. Serpentor attempts to kill Falcon with one of his snake spears, but Duke jumps in front of Falcon at the last minute. The spear hits Duke, knocking him into a coma, and the B.E.T. is taken by Cobra and Cobra-La forces.

The B.E.T. is activated in Cobra-La, and its signal is detected and traced by the Joes. The Joes head for Cobra-La while Falcon and his fellow new recruits are sent to assist Flint's search party who then bumps into a wandering Roadblock and still devolving Cobra Commander. Roadblock tells them about Cobra-La's defensive environment, but their broadcast warnings to Hawk and the main force came too late and Hawk and his group fall victim to the plants that captured Roadblock's group.

The remaining Joes are led to Cobra-La's lair by Cobra Commander right before he has completely devolved into a snake. The new recruits prove themselves valuable soldiers as the they rescue all their captured teammates. And with the Joes banding together, they face off Cobra and Cobra-La forces. Falcon, Jinx and Sgt. Slaughter confront Golobulus, Pythona, and Serpentor. The ensuing fight culminates in Jinx and Slaughter sending Pythona and the Nemesis Enforcer falling to their apparent demise. Falcon dispatches Serpentor out of Cobra-La and hurdles past Golobulus to reach and shut down the B.E.T. Showing that the pods in space have already matured and are ready to spread their spores, Golobulus leaves claiming victory. Falcon then uses the B.E.T. to incinerate the spore pods. After managing to do so, the B.E.T. overloads, and the Joes escape before it explodes and destroys Cobra-La. After the smoke clears the Joes receive news that Duke has come out of his coma and is recovering, while Falcon and Jinx watch the last of the dead spores burn up in orbit. Falcon whispers a thanks to his brother right before they head home.

Voice actors[edit]


The writers did not originally intend for "Cobra-La" to be the name of the rival civilization; this was merely a placeholder name in the drafts until a more alien label came to mind, but Hasbro executives fell in love with the name and forced the writers to keep it.[4]

In the film's original script, Duke dies in battle after receiving a wound from a snake spear hurled by Serpentor. After this was written into the script, it inspired the death of the Autobot leader Optimus Prime in The Transformers: The Movie while both films were in production.[4] However, Optimus Prime's death sparked a severe backlash among both fans and parents, and Hasbro reversed their decision on allowing Duke's death. While the scene was kept, replacement dialogue was inserted stating that Duke had gone into a coma. At the end of the film it is stated that he had come out of the coma.[5] Writer and story editor Buzz Dixon said in an interview with JoeHeadquarters.com, "[If] you watch the visuals and don't listen to the soundtrack, it's obvious Duke dies."[4] In the original script, the Joes also held his funeral prior to the final battle.[6]


Rhino Entertainment first released the film on DVD on June 20, 2000. Shout! Factory released a remastered special edition on DVD and Blu-ray on July 27, 2010, featuring audio commentary from story consultant (and series writer) Buzz Dixon, and a printable copy of the original screenplay.[6]


  1. ^ "Audio Commentary With G.I. Joe Writer/Story Consultant Buzz Dixon." G.I. Joe: The Movie. Narr. Buzz Dixon. Dir. Don Jurwich. 1987. Special Edition Blu-Ray. Shout! Factory, 2010.
  2. ^ "G.I. Joe: The Movie (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ "G.i. Don". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b c "G.I. Joe Interview - Buzz Dixon". Joeheadquarters.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  5. ^ "G.I. Joe - A real American F.A.Q." yojoe.com. 
  6. ^ a b "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero: The Movie". Shout!Factory. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 

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