Like its cousin ‘The Transformers’, America’s fave 3&3/4 inch action hero got its own film, full of animated violence, doom and a cool theme song. Released in the wake of ‘TF:TM’, ‘Joe’ hit the storm of backlash from parents groups and was altered for its release.
‘Joe’ was a straight to TV release, no motion picture box office to slow it down. ‘Joe’ didn’t get a rock soundtrack, but various mixes from the show (aside from the opening credit’s theme song redux). And Duke, slated for an Optimus Prime send-off (though Prime was resurrected on TV by this point), was re-dubbed in studio and drifted off into a coma. (also see: Voltron Lion Force’s Sven. Killed by episode six, Sven was redubbed to the ‘hospital planet’).
Now parent friendly except for the standard dosage of animated violence… only the story became a downfall. Moderately paced, the Cobra back story just didn’t hit on all cylinders, dragging the rest of the script down. Cool cartoon appearances from some better than average actors of the time (Burgess Meredith, Don Johnson), add to the enjoyment overall.
Still a great retro 80’s cartoon flick, it just misses epic, but bring popcorn anyway.