So what exactly is going on with the G.I. Joe franchise at Paramount? And what, exactly, are these movies supposed to be?
The studio’s latest hiring decision – bringing on Lethal Weapon 4 and The Devil’s Advocate writer Jonathan Lemkin – brings us no closer to an answer to that question.
Variety reports that Lemkin will be writing the 2016 G.I. Joe 3 for series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Looking back over the writer’s filmography, I’m trying to figure out what Paramount sees in Lemkin. There’s not really a lot of throughline for his work, with a handful of TV dramas peppered in with the objectively bonkers The Devil’s Advocate and the Lethal Weapon where Jet Li is the bad guy and everyone looks tired. Shooter, however, was supposed to be a solid, slightly twisty thriller (based on Stephen Hunter’s novel), so there’s that.
Could that be it? Could the studio be going for something a little more complex than “guy steals the President’s face and destroys London?” A lot of fans seems to embrace the… busy Transformers plots, so maybe Paramount is looking for more of a twist-filled military thriller rather than a straight-up action movie (much of this will largely depend on whoever they get to direct it).
The studio would probably want to make the sequel more of a vehicle for The Rock, who starred in G.I. Joe: Retaliation for director John M. Chu. Retaliation saw The Rock front and center as Roadblock, as they took down the fake President of the United States and thwarted Cobra’s plan involving space lasers and global domination. If the next one doesn’t have Tomax and Xamot, then I don’t even know why anyone’s bothering to make these things.