Film Review: G.I. Joe: Operation Dragonfire (1989)

Release Date: September 2nd, 1989 – September 6th, 1989 (first run syndication, 5 parts)
Directed by: Michael Maliani
Written by: Doug Booth
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama
Music by: Johnny Douglas, Rob Walsh
Cast (voices): Sgt. Slaughter, Chris Latta, Morgan Lofting, Michael Benyaer, Jim Byrnes, Kevin Conway, Ian James Corlett, Lisa Corps, Lee Jeffrey, Maurice LaMarche, Dale Wilson

DiC Entertainment, Hasbro, Claster Television, 5 Episodes (first run syndication), 22 Minutes (per episode), 102 Minutes (movie cut)


If G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero jumped the shark with G.I. Joe: The Movie, than this is where they decided to just jump right into the shark’s mouth wearing a suit made out of chum and a sign around the neck that read, “I’m your tasty lunch, Mr. Shark Dude!”.

DiC Entertainment took over animation duties from Marvel/Sunbow. Apparently, Hasbro couldn’t reject their offer to take over the show, as they promised to do it for much cheaper than what Marvel/Sunbow could offer.

Well, I once bought a generic knockoff G.I. Joe in a baggy from a one dollar bin at Rite Aid when I was an idiot seven year-old. I discovered that the figure didn’t even come with accessories or elbows that bent. The thing is, you get what you pay for and what the fans got was the cartoon version of cheap Chinese G.I. Joe ripoffs. This era of G.I. Joe was to the first two seasons what Gobots were to The Transformers.

So what’s wrong with it? Well, just about everything.

The animation is terrible and I mean, super f’n terrible. It’s so bad when compared to the first two seasons of G.I. Joe that it almost gives you a headache. Plus, the character designs are appalling. Granted, this could be due to Hasbro reworking the action figures for their 1989 line but the colors of the uniforms were ugly and the new look compared to the classic characters was unnecessary and a total waste of resources. Hasbro could have created more new characters or altered existing figures colors in a way that wasn’t so vibrant, gaudy and goofy.

Operation Dragonfire was the five episode miniseries created to kickoff this awful era. It was done in the same vein as the original G.I. Joe: An American Hero miniseries, The Revenge of CobraThe Pyramid of Darkness and Arise, Serpentor Arise! And while it’s said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, imitation without soul is pretty much just dickish thievery.

At least this story tried to fix some of the problems with G.I. Joe: The Movie by wiping the slate clean, doing away with Serpentor (who should have been dead, actually) and reestablishing Cobra Commander as the leader of Cobra. And at least it had Copperhead in it, a favorite Cobra character of mine, and it gave us Python Force, one of my favorite things to come out of the toy line. However, the story used to establish Python Patrol was so stupid and asinine that it made me kind of hate those toys now.

Operation Dragonfire is, without a doubt, the worst of the feature length G.I. Joe stories. It’s dreadful and sitting through it in one sitting was a tremendous feat. I should be given a damn medal.

As horrible as this piece of shit is, I must run it through the trusty Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 6 Stool: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.”

Rating: 3.5/10
Pairs well with: Nothing good.