Shout! Factory // 1991 // 420 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 21st, 2012
Got to get tough! Go Joe!
As Cobra Commander spreads his evil around the world, only the elite fighting force of G.I. Joe stands in the way of Cobra's complete global domination. Then again, Cobra's diabolical schemes are so inane, your local electricians' union can probably do just as good a job keeping these morons at bay.
General Hawk is back with a full complement of highly-skilled, poorly-nicknamed professional mercenaries, and he'll need to call upon all of their talents to defend democracy, capitalism, freedom, and hamburgers against Cobra Commander, who runs around in public in a blue hood and sounds like Willem Dafoe with post-nasal drip. He's not short on crackpot schemes, cannon fodder, or helicopters that fire lasers, so that means the Joes will have plenty to do this season.
Not the least of which...fight the War on Drugs.
As far as Very Special Episodes of cartoons go, the two-parter "The Greatest Evil" maybe the very special-est. With Nancy Reagan no doubt looking on with grand approval, this double-header actually does the unthinkable: teams G.I. Joe and Cobra to take on a ruthless drug lord who's hooked both Hawk's little brother and some random Cobra soldier's sister on a controlled substance. This urban scourge is enough to soften even the hardened heart of Cobra Commander, moving him to the point where he and Hawk hold a press conference to declare their truce in a joint operation against dope slingers.
Temporarily, of course. After the Joes and Cobra are done taking down The Headman and his narcotics empire, it's back to massive laser blast exchange, where (curiously enough) nothing ever ends up getting blasted by lasers. Either the engineers for both contingents are all besieged by genetic depth perception deficiencies, or the operators of said laser-beam artillery are total morons.
Or maybe these guys are just determined to engage in the most bloodless war ever waged? The G.I. Joe / Cobra saga is essentially one prolonged living room Nerf battle, just with a whole lot more incoherence and jittery animation. And G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Series 2, Season 2 has plenty of lunacy to offer. Beyond the epic anti-drug episode, you can look forward to the following daring Cobra plots:
"Chunnel" -- In an effort to attack the Anglophiles at their most vulnerable point -- in the Chunnel -- Cobra snatches up the Queen of England and promptly get disarmed by her charm and manners.
"Long Live Rock N Roll (Parts 1 and 2)" -- Cobra recruits a hair metal rocker to vaporize New York City with his shredding.
"Kindergarten Commandos" -- Cobra Commander dabbles in the child soldier arena, looking to recruit kindergarteners into his terrorist organization. He ultimately gives up because he finds children tiring.
"Keyboard Warriors" -- To kick-start a pilot-less drone initiative (no doubt prompted by his desire to rescue the costly parachute budget), Cobra Commander turns to -- you guessed it -- more kids.
"Basic Training" -- Some rookie Joes get the full tour of the magical Joe facilities and meet the Eco-Warriors, a triumvirate of Earth-minded soldiers who fight for clean water, pure air, and ozone layer preservation...and look like out-of-work gigolos.
Shout! Factory's DVD set is more than a bare-bones release, which is appreciated: standard definition 1.33:1 full-frame, Dolby 2.0 Mono, and a nifty interview retrospective with some Hasbro toy creators.
More Joe madness than you can shake a stick at. Buy it. Live it. Love it.
Not Guilty. Go Joe!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 420 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Not Rated