The 2009 action movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was so spectacularly awful, so gleefully, intently dumb that it overdid it and shot past so bad it’s good to so bad it’s bad, that I kind of can’t believe this but…I’m sort of looking forward to G.I. Joe: Retaliation. And I kind of can’t believe that, in between jokes about Channing Tatum babysitting the Rock’s kids, and Bruce Willis talking about his cholesterol, there’s a line about drone strikes, or at least terrifying strikes from the skies, so blunt it could have been spoken on Homeland. “There’s only one man who could authorize a strike like that, and I voted for him,” the Rock says grimly:
This all comes, of course, wrapped in a package that includes an In Like Flint-like president-swapping scheme (sadly, the ladies of America are not also getting brainwashed through salon hairdryers), sexy ninjas, and motorcycles that turn into explosives. I’d expect nothing less. But it’s interesting to me that even pop culture artifacts that are otherwise quite comfortable with projections of American military power are getting increasingly uncomfortable with our capacity to deal death from above and without warning. Homeland’s concerned with the possibility of blowback, while the much showier G.I. Joe makes horrifying spectacle of the prospect of getting blown of out of existence from a higher level of the atmosphere. But they share that anxiety. And it’s telling that the Rock’s character believes that even a legitimate president might have grossly abused the power drones or satellites give him.