Even those who sort of enjoyed Stephen Sommers’ campy G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra back in 2009 have to admit that the director left a lot of metaphorical “chips” on the table. There’s still a lot of value associated with Hasbro’s classic line of military-themed toys, and Hollywood’s taking a second, more serious stab at mining cinematic gold from the Joe franchise with the new sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Does that mean you are going to have to dust off (or hunt down) a DVD copy of Sommers’ surprise hit to refresh your memory prior to Retaliation? Nope. We’re saving you some time and effort by running through five important facts you need to know about the first G.I. Joe movie. They’ll help you better appreciate the storyline mapped out in Jon M. Chu’s sequel. Because as the Joe members say, “Knowing is half the battle!”

Channing Tatum Duke
1. Duke (Channing Tatum) originally wasn’t a Joe
We meet Tatum’s tactical hero, Duke, in the opening scenes of the original movie, where he’s accompanying NATO forces on a mission to deliver warheads loaded with nanomites, destructive little buggers created by biotech weapons developer James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston). The Joe forces only allow Duke to accompany them on their mission because he’s intimately familiar with The Baroness (Sienna Miller), a beautiful terrorist who tried to steal the warheads from NATO. Oh, and she and Duke once were engaged. But don't get too attached to the original characters, because …

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