I can honestly say that I have never been a diehard G. I. Joe fan and I'm glad I'm not because I would be out for blood after watching G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Director Steven Sommers (of The Mummy trilogy franchise) actually created a live-action cartoon. Seriously, that's what I was watching for the entire two hours. It also helped that I didn't take the film too seriously. That still doesn't excuse the absurdity that was shown throughout the movie as there were many moments when I was just plain shaking my head and thinking to myself "What the heck am I watching?"
The title really explains that the movie is all about the bad guys, yet that ruthless, terrorist, organized group known as Cobra is in its embryo stage waiting to spring to life. With the machinations of weapons designer and founder of Military Armament Research Syndicate (MARS) James McCullen, the seed is planted. Somewhere in the near future (it could be one second, one minute, one year from now... it's not specific), McCullen has created a nanotechnology weapon that has the capability of destroying cities. He sells four warheads to NATO (who actually helped fund the research) and the U.S. Army has the task of delivering these weapons. Unfortunately for Duke and Ripcord, part of the convoy, they are under attack by a highly advanced adversary led by the Baroness, who Duke quickly recognizes as his ex-fiancée Ana Lewis. The timely arrival of Heavy Duty, Scarlett, Breaker, and Snake Eyes help turn the tide as Duke and Ripcord are introduced to the G.I. Joe team, a highly-trained special mission force, led by General Hawk.
McCullen is working both sides as he is behind the theft of his own weapon. With the aid of the Doctor, this nanotechnology can be used to create the ultimate army of soldiers. The Baroness, along with Storm Shadow and Zartan, make another attempt to obtain the warheads, this time stealing it from the Joes' headquarters. It then becomes a cat-and-mouse game of obtaining the warheads and stopping these terrorists.
The story isn't really that bad and I know purists are balking at how situations have changed, especially giving toes between Duke and the Baroness. Honestly, that inclusion didn't bother me at all. Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller actually had some good chemistry between them, though I'm sure they could have had much more meaningful dialogue to convey.
Throughout the film, little flashbacks (ala LOST) were given to some players to help piece things together. It also helped make these characters become more than one-dimensional beings. I know there are many fans who cried foul over the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow flashbacks as it didn't stay true to the original story. Again, I didn't mind it at all. What really fascinates me between these two characters is how the good guy wears black while the bad guy wears white. In all honestly, I think their story was the most interesting. Lee Byung-hun did a great job playing the ninja assassin without any remorse. But I think Ray Park must be counting his blessing the most as he had a silent role in the film and wasn't subjected to the bad dialogue.
The cast was good and I don't fault them for their screen time. Dennis Quiad (General Hawk), Rachel Nichols (Scarlett), Marlon Wayans (Ripcord), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Heavy Duty), Said Taghmaoui (Breaker), Christopher Eccleston (James McCullen/Destro), and Arnold Vosloo. For the longest time, I was wondering when Joseph Gordon-Levitt was going to come on the screen until I realized that he was heavily in makeup as the Doctor. He did ham it up for the role (I think everyone did in a subconscious manner) but he has a bigger revelation in the end that explains the movie's title. Brendan Fraser has a small cameo (if you can even call it that) as Sgt. Stone.
The action runs at a furious fast pace but not at such a dizzying level that will leave people feeling nauseous (though they might feel nauseous for other reasons). I will admit that the absurdity of some of the sequences still makes me shake my head in disbelief, but that's exactly what Sommers wants viewers to remember when watching this film... it's a live-action cartoon! I'm sure he would have included a scene between the Roadrunner and Wily E. Coyote just to keep with the frantic pacing.
The special effects are not the greatest I have seen as there are many scenes where it just looks out of place. The whole underwater battle in the end is a good example of things sticking out like a sore thumb. Don't get me wrong. I'm amazed at what was accomplished using CGI but it really could have been taken to the next level if some care was put into it.
In the end, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra became a multiplex movie theatre housing different films all into one. I saw a lot of James Bond with the high-tech weaponry and gadgetry used throughout the film. Anyone who ever saw Team America: World Police will breathe a sigh of relief that the Paris scene is still far superior to what was accomplished in this one. And the ending had a Star Wars finish to it, more specifically The Phantom Menace. The group battle was one element but the inevitable fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow played out an eerily déjà vu feeling. The writing is silly, the action is over-the-top, yet it was still somewhat fun. That's because I got into the spirit by wearing my G.I. Joe t-shirt for the occasion (it couldn't go to waste).
Without a doubt, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra set itself up for a sequel and I'm sure it will quickly come to fruition. After all, Cobra needs a chance to grow up. Maybe next time, however, Sommer can convince Sgt. Slaughter to come out of retirement and whip these Joes into proper shape, though I'm afraid that William "The Fridge" Perry might follow suit.
Other Comic Book Movies
Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) || Batman (1943) || Batman: The Movie (1966) || Batman (1989) || Batman Returns || Batman Forever || Batman & Robin || Batman Begins || The Dark Knight || Batman: Mask of the Phantasm || Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero || Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman || The Batman Superman Movie || Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker || Batman: Gotham Knight || Catwoman || Constantine || Justice League: The New Frontier || Steel (1997) || Superman: The Movie || Superman II || Superman II: The Donner Cut || Superman III || Superman IV: The Quest for Peace || Superman Returns || Superman: Brainiac Attacks || Superman: Doomsday || Wonder Woman (2009)
Daredevil || Doctor Strange (2007) || Elektra || Fantastic Four (2005) || Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer || Ghost Rider (2007) || Hulk (2003) || Hulk Vs || The Incredible Hulk (2008) || The Invincible Iron Man (2007) || Iron Man (2008) || The Punisher (2004) || Punisher: War Zone || Spider-Man || Spider-Man 2 || Spider-Man 3 || Ultimate Avengers: The Movie || Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther || X-Men || X2: X-Men United || X-Men: The Last Stand || X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Independent Comic Books
The Mask of Zorro || Men in Black || Popeye || The Spirit (2008) || Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles || Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze || TMNT || Transformers: The Movie (1986) || Transformers (2007)
Read all 8 Reviews
Write a Review
Movie Mood: Action Movie