Jon M. Chu shares secrets of his 'G.I. Joe' ninja battle
05:00 AM, Jul 23, 2013
There’s nothing quite like a whole bunch of ninjas bouncing off snow-covered mountains and sword-fighting in mid-air.
Director Jon M. Chu explains how he pieced together his epic battle in the Himalayas in the bonus features of the G.I.Joe: Retaliation Blu-ray/DVD, out July 30. (Those who can’t wait can check out the movie via video on demand and digital download now.)
Chu used mountain-climbing experts to figure out how actors and extras should move in a sequence involving G.I. Joe ninja commando Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) capturing Cobra baddie Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) with a whole bunch of Red Ninjas in pursuit.
And when he was conceiving shots, Chu set up chairs and couches in a giant room, plus used a bunch of action figures that he requested from Hasbro.
“I would say, ‘I need them to swing from this cliff to this cliff,’ and then the mountain-climbing expert would be like, ‘Well, then they need straps here, here, here and here,’ step by step until we figured out the landscape,” Chu told USA TODAY in March.
“All those chairs and couches became those mountains. When I see the sequence now, I just see like, ‘Oh yeah, that was that desk lamp we used as the edge of a mountain.’ It came full circle. I definitely did that as a kid. I’d probably still do it and won’t tell anyone.”
The director also remembers having to fight for certain aspects of the 11-minute action sequence with no dialogue an homage to Larry Hama’s “Silent Interlude” issue of G.I. Joe from 1984.
“Plenty of times, the studio would come and say, ‘Can’t Snake Eyes say one thing here? Wouldn’t it be cool to have Snake Eyes maybe take off the mask once?’ ” Chu recalled. “And plenty of times we had to be like, ‘What the (expletive) are you talking about? No! That’s not what he is, you can’t do that.’
“The journey to retain the honor of what ‘Silent Interlude’ is was a challenge.”
Other extra features on the Blu-ray for Retaliation, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis, include special featurettes on the ninjas, evil Cobra characters and set pieces, plus deleted scenes and a commentary by Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.