To date, the biggest problem I have with Paramount’s G.I. Joe sequel is its title. Cobra Strikes? Didn’t the evil organization already strike in the 2009 original, when it demolished the Eiffel Tower, the Joe’s headquarters and a slew of other locations? Seems kind of redundant to me, but thankfully it is the only element of the follow-up that can be described that way.
Much is different this time around. Jon Chu (Step Up 3, Never Say Never) is taking over directing duties from Stephen Sommers. Most of the original cast (including Rachel Nichols and Marlon Wayans among many others) has been scrapped to make room for new recruits like Dwayne Johnson, RZA, Adrianne Palicki and Elodie Yung, although Channing Tatum, Ray Park and Byung-hun Lee will reprise their roles from the first flick. However, another thing that remains the same is that the franchise’s producers wish to give the property the international flair it needs to be a global hit, and that’s where Ray Stevenson comes in. The Rome actor, fresh off his turn as an Asgardian warrior in Thor, has just signed up to take a villainous turn in the film. He’ll play Firefly, who’s described as a saboteur, ninja and explosives expert. Sounds like he’ll be keeping the Real American Heroes quite busy.
It won’t be the first time Stevenson has walked on the dark side. He recently played bad guys in The Book of Eli and The Other Guys, though he’s best known as a heroic type thanks to HBO’s fantastic forementioned series, King Arthur and Punisher: WarZone (well, actually let’s forget about that last one).
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes will strike theaters sometime next summer.