As a kid, I was a Transformers fan (you may have already guessed this). My friends Hugh and James were too, but they had parents with a wee bit more disposable income, so they had Action Force toys too – my first exposure to the brand. When the sales of the Marvel UK Action Force comic fell, the book got absorbed into the Transformers Marvel UK comic as a back-up comic, and that was pretty much my source of knowledge for all things Action Force at that point.
My mum bought me Action Force – The Movie on VHS for Christmas one year, and that was pretty much my sole exposure to the Action Force cartoon, with the exception of a few VHS tapes that my friends had. I enjoyed the film, although not as much as Transformers, obviously. The best part of the film to my eight-year old mind was the great big opening battle that takes place over the Statue of Liberty. It was fantastic to watch, and had a great soundtrack! Loved it. Better than the rest of the film, which was still not too bad.
As the years went by I found out the history of the Action Force brand, in that it was GI Joe everywhere else, and this explained the blatantly obvious dubbed bits in the film. So when the troops said “Full Force”, they were supposed to say “Yo Joe!”. Oh, and Sergeant Slammer’s name was actually Sergeant Slaughter. Good thing that was changed, or my childhood would have been spent traumatised from such a harsh word. Thanks Mary Whitehouse… It also explained the very obvious re-lettering of certain pages in the UK books. So, ok, all cool.
Fast forward to 20-odd years later, and me idly surfing YouTube and stumbling across the original intro for GI Joe – The Movie. Ah, let’s grab the nostalgia, I thought, and hit the play button. And boy was I surprised. The intro was much longer this time around, and featured some vocals and sound effects! More action! More animation! The soundtrack was (in my humble opinion, please don’t flay me) a serious step-down compared to the UK alternative version, but it was obvious that the UK edit overall had absolutely hacked this bitchin’ action-packed battle to bits. An utter travesty.
I forgot about it for another 13 years or so, until the other night I had this urge to take that extra footage, and marry it to the UK Action Force soundtrack. I had to extend the UK soundtrack a fair bit to make it match the length of the US footage, and I did trim a tiny bit of the US footage out still (mainly the opening GI Joe logo animation, and Cobra Commander being split screened shouting retreat cos, well, it looked shit). And as the US version used sound effects and vocals, I had to add those too! I managed to track down some of the GI Joe sound effects, and used sound-alike stuff for the rest. Finally for the vocals, I grabbed some “Full Force” clips from bits of the UK film edit to bring back those awful, shittily dubbed memories. I also managed to recreate the Action Force logo animated title card used at the start and the end of the action sequence, only now in lovely hi-res, and tried to match that nicely to the UK edit too. Couldn’t find the right font for the movie, but ‘eh’, close enough for this little passion project.
So, a few hours and a copyright claim from Hasbro LLC later, here’s my lovely remastered and extended edit of the blisteringly cool Action Force – The Movie opening battle! FULL FORCE!!
And as a bit of a bonus, here’s a screengrab of the assembly in Adobe Premiere, so you can see how I hacked up the audio like some digital butcher.