The world waits with bated breath for the release of G.I. Joe 3. Okay, so that’s probably not true at all – considering that neither G.I. Joe 1 or 2 really scored big points with either hardcore fans or casual moviegoers. However, back during the summer, when Transformers: Age of Extinction hit theaters, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura assured us, personally, that the plan for G.I. Joe 3 was one that would please fans, as well as expanding the role of Dwayne Johnson’s Roadblock in the franchise.
Since that discussion, the third installment has picked up a writer in the form of Shooter and Devil’s Advocate scribe Jonathan Lemkin, presumably in the hopes that he will better execute the plan that is in place. Now we have word that G.I. Joe 3 could also get a much different sort of director.
Schmoe’s Know has word from their sources that none other than Casino Royale, Goldeneye and Green Lantern director Martin Campbell is in early talks to helm G.I. Joe 3. The first two films were directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) and Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2&3), respectively, which means the producers are definitely looking to switch things up, stylistically, if they are considering Campbell as a replacement.
Sommers made G.I. Joe into an over-the-top, tech-heavy action/comedy that barely resembled the cartoon series fans were accustomed to; Chu sought to “ground things” with a more traditional military action flick, but still took it over the top with moments like cartoonish ninja zip line battles on frozen mountains. Needless to say, even with their respective good points, neither of these versions of G.I. Joe were what fans would call “spot-on,” or “highly-enjoyable.”
With films like Goldeneye, Casino Royale and Edge of Darkness under his belt, it’s clear that Campbell can do darker action/espionage thriller material with a confident hand. On the other side of that filmography, films like Green Lantern and the two Zorro movies suggest that Campbell isn’t nearly as strong with pulpier hero material. The question for G.I. Joe 3 then, is which side of Martin Campbell are the producers most interested in?
Here’s what Lorenzo di Bonaventura told us over the summer:
“I have to say I’m really excited about what we’ve come up with on G.I. Joe 3. I think it’s one of the best ideas for a sequel I’ve ever run into, and I think the audience is going to be really, really happy with us.”
So far we’ve met the Joe team in their prime, and then watched them climb back from near-extinction using bare minimum resources, so where do we go from there? Given the talent being assembled behind the camera, one could surmise that a deeper, semi-political, race-against-time type movie may be the plan – perhaps even something that involves bringing back Channing Tatum’s Duke? (We’ve already heard that it’s not impossible.)
What would be interesting to see is how much (or little) Campbell embraces the ninja/mysticism elements of the G.I. Joe franchise. The story of Snake Eyes, his rival Storm Shadow and their ninja sect has arguably been the best part of the G.I. Joe movies; but how much of a fit would all that be in a truly grounded, thriller-type action film?
And so we really come back to the central issue of this entire movie franchise: how to balance the more fantastical elements with a realistic military actioner. The eclectic mix works fine in a cartoon or a comic book series, but as we’ve seen (in multiple examples), getting that tone right in live-action is much harder. Is Martin Campbell the man that could do it?
Right now, talks with Campbell are said to be early. So we’ll have to wait and see if a deal actually goes through.
G.I. Joe 3 is expected to be released some time in 2016.