DUKE v.33 (2009)
Today’s figure technically isn’t a Retaliation figure, but it’s close. This here is Duke as played by Channing Tatum in both Joe movies. Duke is one of the few characters from the first film to return for the second installment. That’s fine with me; I won’t miss any of the other characters. However it would be nice if a couple of the other actors (Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols) were to make cameos to help tie the two films together. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would you want to tie this new film to the old one? Let’s sweep the 2009 film under the rug and move on with our lives. I don’t disagree with you. However the producers made the decision to continue on in the same world established in the first movie as opposed to rebooting the franchise. And to honest I’m glad they did. The first movie wasn’t great but it set up a lot of stuff and I want to see how it pans out. Sure it sucks that the first film basically ruined the Baroness and a couple of other key characters but there’ll be plenty of time for reboots in years to come. I feel that since we went through the trouble of setting up this world we might as well see it through.
I haven’t seen the film yet but I think most Joe fans feel that they have a pretty good idea of Duke’s role in the movie. He’s there to bridge the gap between the old and the new. We were introduced to the covert world of G.I. Joe through Duke’s eyes so I’m glad to see him back to give the audiences something familiar to latch onto. Judging by the trailers though, I think Duke is gonna get smoked in the same attack that takes out Agent Mouse and virtually all of the other members of the Joe team early in the movie. I think they’ll elude to the fact that other characters we met in Rise of Cobra like Ripcord and Breaker are also killed in that scene. This will leave only new characters: Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye, to save the day. I have no idea if this is the case but that’s what I’m guessing. If Duke really does get killed in this movie I applaud Mr. Tatum for showing up to the slaughter.
But fear not Duke fans, there has been plenty of internet rumors swirling about that Duke will perhaps only be injured in the attack. Some people think that test audiences’ reaction to Duke’s demise is what caused the 9 month delay of the film’s release. Some speculate that they reshot scenes to keep Duke alive for potential sequels. I have my doubts that this is the case (the studio denies it) but either way I doubt Channing will get much screen time this time around.
I was very excited about the release of Rise of Cobra back in 2009 but got less and less so as the release date drew closer and more and more information and images were leaked. The all black leather X-Men vibe left a bad taste in my mouth and I found it hard to get excited about the ROC figures being released. I actually bought very few of them. In the years since I’ve backfilled some of those holes in my collection but to this day I have refused to buy the majority of ROC figures. For example there were 8 ROC Duke figures released with Channing Tatum’s face and I only bought the first one, this one. And I only bought this one because of his unique desert gear. He looked to me like all those contemporary soldiers I see on CNN; he felt more real than most Joe figures I buy. Plus his helmet had night vision goggles that could lowered to cover his face which was a pretty neat accessory. With his helmet and goggles on he could be displayed as any generic desert trooper. I passed on the accelerator suit and black padded uniform versions. There was a Duke figure released in wave 1 of the Retaliation figures but I passed on that one to. This is why I had to go back and review a Rise of Cobra Duke for you.
If you were to buy just one Channing Tatum Duke of the 9 that are now available I think this is the one to go for. It’s actually a really nice figure. The likeness is decent and it’s the only Duke with painted on stubble which gives him some more personality. He’s even got his facial scar painted on his cheek. The body sculpt is appropriately borrowed from the Joe’s standard desert trooper Dusty. I found most of the movie Dukes looked too skinny but this figure’s torso is nicely bulked up by the removable vest. He’s got a big backpack which fits nicely and provides secret storage for a couple of nanomite-warheads.
The display base of this figure is neat but annoying. Instead of the usual black rectangle, Duke comes with a dog-tag base to stand on. It’s actually a really cool idea but it doesn’t match any of my other figures in my collection and so for that reason I wish they just gave him a standard base. I actually think that this is one of the better figures from the Rise of Cobra line. 7 out of 10.