G.I. Joe Keep Rising
Written: Aug 8, 2009 (Updated Aug 11, 2009)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Great performances by Sienna Miller and Leo Howard, Decent Plot, Caters to Boyhood Dreams
Cons:Casting of Channing Tatum as Duke, Rushed Ending, Disjointed Plot
The Bottom Line: A decent film, suffering from a disjointed plot, some poor casting decisions, and a rushed ending.
A decent plot and action scenes save the movie. Casting was a mixed basket of great and not-so-great decisions. This movie would have benefitted from a thicker plot, a bit less suspension of disbelief, better fight sequences, and better acting.
PLOT (SPOILER ALERT):
Having been attacked by a group of futuristic fighters, Duke (Channing Tatum) and his war buddy, Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), find themselves struggling to complete their mission to deliver NATO-sponsored nano-mite weapons. The group that attacked them is led by Baroness (Sienna Miller), once Duke's fiance, Ana. She apparently disappeared from his life 4 years prior, he quickly learns she has now working for a terror organization. Duke, Ripcord and their precious cargo are rescued by another group that call themselves G.I. Joe, a secret world-funded organization of professional military-trained individuals, led by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid).
The viewer soon learns more about how the terror organization became what it is and that the seller of the nano-mite weapons is actually the same organization. The unsuspecting Joes are quickly drawn into a war with the terror organization and adopt Duke and Ripcord as part of their group.
As the story thickens, the viewer learns about the Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his experiments on troops and nano-mites used to turn them into unfeeling fighting machines. Using these super warriors and other resources, the leader of the terror organization (Christopher Eccleston, A.K.A. McCullen) sends a team to successfully infiltrate the Joes' base and steel the weapons. Duke eventually learns that his ex-fiance is married to a scientist who works for a company that can turn those nano-mite weapons into warheads.
While the story unfolds, so do the backgrounds of Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and others who will play critical roles. We see young Snake Eyes (Leo Howard) and young Storm Shadow (Brandon Soo Hoo) when they were children, learning from the same martial arts master and what drives conflict between them.
Duke and others in his organization also find and infltrate the terrorists' base to take back the weapons. Finding they are too late, Ripcord acquires and flies an enemy jet to shoot down the now launched missles. After being captured, Duke is about to be subjected to the Doctor's experiments and discovers that the Doctor was Ana's brother, whom Duke was to protect while they were fighting in a war years before. Ana was also a subject of the Doctor's nano-mite experiments. Duke's love for Ana pushes him to rescue her from the enemy base and, together, they help to capture the Doctor and McCullen. Ana, McCullen and the Doctor are placed in prison, but not before the Doctor manages to perform one last experiment on McCullen, turning him into Destro.
Character development could certainly have been better. Most of the back stories felt disjointed from the plot. The conflict between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow could certainly have been a movie in itself. Viewers had to make quite a stretch to believe characters, such as Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), were so intellegent that they could come up with the answers to seemingly impossible problems they faced, so quickly. Ripcord somehow manages to fly a jet he's never seen or been trained in. General Hawk disobeys direct orders to get his team in to rescue Duke and Ripcord and, yet, there appears to be no reprecussion.
There were very appropriate casting decisions, such as Dennis Quaid (who also could very well have played Duke), Sienna Miller as the Baroness, Leo Howard as young Snake Eyes, and Arnold Vosloo as Zartan. Notable performances were provided by Sienna Miller and Leo Howard. However, the rest of the characters suffered from mediocre casting decisions. The most inappropriate tie was having Channing Tatum as Duke, which (again) could easily have been played by Dennis Quaid.
Fight scenes would have been better had their been more focus on choreography and not so much camera shaking to emulate action. The best fight scenes could easily have been between young Snake Eyes and young Storm Shadow.
The music neither stood out as good or as bad. It simply wasn't memorable, nor did it make me want to buy the soundtrack.
Although not exceptional, the lighting was good enough that all scenes were easily viewable. The lighting wasn't used in any artistic way, such that it forced you out of suspended disbelief.
The costumes were great and really added to the effect of the movie. They did feel a bit like they came from the set of Batman, but were appropriate for the subject. The only exception was Storm Shadow's outfit, which could have benefitted from wrap boots and a better hood.
The movie was decent. It was fun to watch action scenes in general, but the digital anamations didn't look as real as they should for their parts. The plot was disjointed in areas and really stretched the imagination to the point of being absurd. The decision to cast Channing Tatum felt more like a way to get females to watch this boyhood dream flick. The ending was rushed, but certainly left room for a sequel.
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Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Studio Screening/Premiere
Film Completeness: A few glitches, but mostly complete.
Worst Part of this Film: Ending