The set-up is essentially ‘Team America’ played (fairly) straight: in the near future, a hi-tech team of globe-trotting crimefighters, the best of the best from every NATO member country, are pitched against the deadly forces of Christopher Eccleston’s murderous Scottish arms dealer McCullen (of the clan McCullen, natch). Our heroes include Channing Tatum’s walking, brooding buzzcut Duke, Marlon Wayans in full-on Goofy Black Sidekick mode as Ripcord and Dennis Quaid kicking ass and taking names as squad commander Hawk.
The plot is little more than a 12 year old’s action-movie wishlist: wiseacre heroes? Check. Foxy, leather-clad babes? Check. Wholesale destruction of international landmarks? Check. Scarred uber-villain with underwater base and access to world-threatening weapons technology? Check, check and check. But it’s all put together with such verve and invention that resistance becomes futile: the climactic sequence, a globe-spanning pitched battle on five fronts involving ninjas, nanobots and a fighter jet that speaks Gaelic, is nothing short of breathtaking. ‘GI Joe’ is big, dumb, loud and utterly relentless: basically, everything you could ever want from a summer blockbuster.