‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Set Visit Report: Knowing is Half the Battle

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2013 at 8:04 am,

Long before G.I. Joe: Retaliation was bumped from a summer 2012 release date for the purpose of post-converting the film into 3D, we attended a set visit event while the movie was shooting just outside of New Orleans – at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility. For decades, the facility housed the construction of Saturn rockets and enormous tanks for space travel but, back in October 2011, the 832 acre compound was home to a number of highly-detailed Hollywood sets – including a maximum security prison vault and Blind Master’s cliff-side monastery, to name a few.

According to executive producer Herb Gains roughly 65-70 percent of G.I. Joe: Retaliation was shot in or around the NASA facility – including external shots that will double as the Korean DMZ – no small feat considering the globe-trotting adventure that will be depicted in the final film.

That said, while the NASA facility served as a solid backdrop for much of the project, helping producers work with greater efficiency, whether or not the project can reignite the G.I. Joe movie brand, after mixed reactions to Stephen Sommers’ The Rise of Cobra, will be up to director Jon Chu and his team – along with the high-profile ensemble cast.

Check out the latest trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation below to see the fruit of their labor:

As indicated in our Retaliation set visit preview, Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura have been adamant that their new G.I. Joe film will offer a satisfying balance between sequel and reboot – a tricky tightrope but one that the filmmakers believe will ultimately deliver the best possible film experience for G.I. Joe fans and casual moviegoers alike.

According to Bonaventura:

By process of elimination or by process of feeling our way through it, came to this sort of balance. It’s interesting because, I’ve watched a lot of the footage, and it doesn’t feel like we’ve stepped away and yet we have. It’s a really interesting thing. I can’t really explain it because it was a sort of ‘feel your way through it.’ One of the things we wanted to do was we wanted to try to bring an uptick of machismo to the cast and with Rock and Bruce we sort of got a lot right there [...] I think all of those things have brought a different flavor, and at the same time, it’s Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and we’re fighting the same battle – a new and improved Cobra.

Leading up to G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘s March 28th 2013 release, we’ll be posting individual interviews with the film’s cast and crew, including: Director Jon M. Chu, Dwayne Johnson (Roadblock), Ray Stevenson (Firefly), Ray Park (Snake Eyes), Byung-Hun Lee (Storm Shadow), Elodie Yung (Jinx), DJ Cotrona (Flint), as well as Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. Stay tuned for those but, in addition to roundtable interviews with the filmmakers and cast, we toured two separate filming locations – moving from set to set around the Michoud Assembly Facility as well as an outdoor second-unit shoot near the Fort Pike State Historic Site, which will serve as a stand-in for an active military installation in the final film.

During our time at the NASA facility, we had a chance to examine several sets in various stages of construction and deconstruction. While the production had already started taking-apart the prison facility set, and were gearing up for a climactic battle in the “Nuclear Depot,” we toured the eclectic interior of the Blind Master’s monastery. In the film, the Blind Master, mentor to Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and newcomer Jinx (Elodie Yung), is played by Wu Tang Clan-member turned actor, RZA. The cliff-side hideout is a fitting backdrop for the musician/actor – given that the monastery features a colorful mix of scattered books, preserved animal remains, and high-tech gadgetry.

Storm Shadow GI Joe Retaliation G.I. Joe: Retaliation Set Visit Report: Knowing is Half the Battle

In general, the set is a perfect example of the grounded approach to G.I. Joe the filmmakers have been touting – mixing the cartoonish image of an isolated Himalayan dojo with functionality that makes sense in the world of Joes and Cobra. Amidst melted candles, human skulls, and cluttered wooden storage shelves, is a very modern body scanner table (complete with an iPad indentation).

Fans can catch a quick glimpse at the Blind Master’s monastery in the latest trailer – during the hallway fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow – though the final film will, no doubt, allow for a much clearer look at the sharp details that were easily apparent on set.

An external shot of the monastery, the conclusion of the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow brawl, was filmed on a separate stage. We watched as Storm Shadow attempted to choke Snake Eyes into submission – only to be caught off-guard by Jinx who doses the Cobra villain with a sleeping gas. The shot can be seen in the recent G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D preview footage that aired ahead of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (read our impressions of the 3D teaser) – and sets off the action-heavy cliff-side chase sequence that has been featured in a lot of the film’s marketing.

Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe 2 Retaliation  570x380 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Set Visit Report: Knowing is Half the Battle

Teasing what fans can expect from the film’s (now) three ninja characters – as well as their respective conflicts and relationships, Park said:

We wanted to make it real. Like it’s two brothers fighting, there’s a lot of aggression. Instead of flashy-flashy and doing flips in the air, we wanted to tell the story throughout the fight as well. There’s a lot of good moves, a lot of great choreography that we worked on. There’s a lot I can do with the character but I’m also working with my fellow actors, especially with Jinx. And I love Elle’s character and we’ve had this great sort of rapport since day one, and this great relationship between the two characters. Where Snake doesn’t speak, it’s sort of sold through our actions toward each other.

Next: A fiery scene with Dwayne Johnson and Ray Stevenson as well as fun facts about the film.

« 1 2»

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. YO JOE!

  2. Snake Eyes needs his own spin-off comic just like Casey Jones does.

    • He has a couple. one of them Ray park him self helped write (Weird I know) Another one is still on going as we speak.

  3. Definitely one of my favorite toons (GI Joe: A Real American Hero) as a little kid. I am hoping this movie is awesome. I am definitely glad that the Rock is in this movie, he just looks right as a joe. 80s toons are probably the best toons (IN MY OPINION) to convert into a live-action movie simply because those toons, although a toon had numerous shows (like gi joe which had about 100 or more episodes), each episode lead up to a bigger story (thus, making them epic). The likes of GI Joe, Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, Voltron, etc. just to name a few, are all excellent examples. These toons were epic and therefore could have multiple sequels WHEN they are made into live-action movies.

    Voltron could be the next star wars. Just imagine seeing the 5 lions in CGI towering over the trees and the people when they are earth bound. It would be awesome. I çan’t even tell you where a Voltron live-action movie (IF DONE RIGHT WITH THE DETAILS GIVEN MUCH ATTENTION, AND THERE BEING NO COMEDY SO IT IS NOT A COMEDIC MOVIE) could lead to. The sequels that could follow and a prequel before the sequels…excellent.

  4. Surprisingly this just looks better and better.. yooooooo JOEEEEE

  5. Looks like it will be a good time the trailer reminds me of Ghost Protocol

  6. Does anyone watch this crap anymore?

  7. Snake Eyes is one greatest Joes no doubt. Too bad Sgt. Slaughter is too old. Id hate to see someone try to fill his shoes as someone tried to fill Mr.T’s in The A-Team film. Serpentor was a great villain id love to see aswell but they’d have to change his origins probly.

  8. Btw, Glad they got Cobra Commander right this time regarding his appearance. Much better. I hope Destro isn’t a whining chump though.

  9. Watching this movie on the 24th, Sneak preview, military appreciation, and just watch Olimpus has fallen (yesterday Sunday), it was Awsome.

  10. I’m still on the fence about this one. It comes out a few days before my birthday, so maybe I’ll go.