I’m not even going to pretend to have purchased RoC, but you better believe I bought Resolute the second it hit shelves. I know I’ve talked about how much I enjoyed this animated masterpiece before, but that was before I had its big screen sibling as a reference point. Now, I’m going to do a little comparing and contrasting for you fine folks at home.
First up, let’s talk cast. Resolute features venerated voice actors Steve Blum and Charles Adler in the lead roles of Duke and Cobra Commander, respectively. This is a Duke who balances the ass-kickery of the comics version with the strong leadership of the cartoon version, sans the hokey boy scout routine. This is a Cobra Commander who is as ruthless as his comic version, but who acknowledges the cartoon version’s simplering slithering past. As our principals, they are fantastic. RoC instead gives us the wooden Channing Tatum as Duke, who here is little more than a placeholder in the role of field commander. Quaid’s Hawk leads the team, and the rest of the group carry the brunt of the action, drama, and plot. Tatum is simply there to be Duke so that the other characters can interact with him. This may in part be the fault of the writing, but Tatum does nothing to bring anything special or new to the role of “soldier.” Playing opposite Tatum is Joseph Gordon Levitt who does a perfectly passable job as Rex Lewis and the Doctor, but who lost me when he became Darth Vader.
Point to Resolute.
Above and beyond the two leads, each film of course has an expansive supporting cast with some overlap between the two. Ripcord, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Baroness, Storm Shadow, Zartan, and Destro appear in both versions. Resolute’s Scarlett isn’t played by Rachel Nichols, so that’s a strike against it, immediately. The animated Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, however, are both far more emotive and entertaining than their live actions couterparts. Baroness and Destro both kind of get shafted in both iterations of the Joe-iverse, with RoC trying a new spin on the former’s backstory and the latter’s mask, while Resolute simply reduces the characters to little more than ineffectual guns for hire. Ripcord and Zartan both play larger roles in RoC, and Marlon Wayans and Arnold Vosloo are both surprisingly good in these roles.
Point to RoC.
Then there’s things like the plot. Both are fairly similar in scale – Resolute sees Cobra vaporizing cities with a particle beam cannon while RoC has them turning cities to dust with nannites. Resolute does, however, send small squads of Joes on separate but interlocking missions giving the various characters their own time to shine. Oh, and Resolute didn’t have any Delta 6 Accelerator Suits. There’s things like the visuals. Resolute features a heavily-inspired-by-Anime stylized sort of animation where blood and death abound. RoC features Photoshopped effects that don’t gel with the rest of the scene because their entire budget was blown on scenes with the aforementioned accelerator suits. There’s things like romantic sublplots. In Resolute, again tying together the comics with the old school cartoon, there’s tension between Snake Eyes and Duke over the affections of Scarlett. In RoC, Scarlett’s inexplicably drawn to Ripcord while Duke battles Destro for the heart and hand of his former fiancée… the Baroness?!
Point to Resolute, point to Resolute, point to Resolute.
The long and the short of it is that Resolute is quite simply the better movie. Its DVD features the original animated trailer for Resolute entitled “Now You Know” which I had not yet seen. Its fantastic. RoC includes a making of featurette and some other junk, but alas, no alternate ending.
4 out of 5 dead Majors for Resolute
1 out of 5 unexplained tremors we probably don’t need to worry about for RoC