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G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra

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G.I. Joe: Is it as bad as they say?

Aug 16, 2009 (Updated Aug 16, 2009)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Bang For The Buck

Pros:Doesn't require a lot of heavy mental lifting.

Cons:Okay, it's sorta stupid.

The Bottom Line: G.I. Joe is probably underrated, although that's not saying much.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra centers around the adventures of Duke (Channing Tatum) and his buddy Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), U.S. soldiers entrusted with a mission of critical importance - the delivery of non-weaponized nanomite warheads to a secure location.  Things go amok when the weapons are nearly snatched by evil-doers seemingly led by spandex-clad Ana/the Baroness (Sienna Miller).  As a result of this incident, Duke and Ripcord learn of the existence of the top-secret G.I. Joe unit made up of the top military recruits from twenty-three countries.  Naturally, they want in, despite the associated dangers.  As one might expect, the rest of the film consists primarily of sword fights and bomb blasts with plot twists strewn liberally throughout.

 My Thoughts
Prior to seeing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, I read multiple reviews proclaiming it to be "The Worst Movie Ever."  In fact, while G.I. Joe certainly has its flaws, it isn't even the worst movie I've seen this month. Let's start with the good news, given all the criticism that has been heaped on this summer popcorn movie. 

G.I. Joe is actually better than Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, which in turn is better than the aggregate of professional critics would have you believe.  Both movies deliver exactly what they promise in terms of virtually non-stop action via a sexy cast of heroes and villains.  As far as characters go, in G.I. Joe, the bad guys are more compelling than the good ones - Sienna Miller, in particular, spends at least the first two-thirds of the movie being freaking awesome and unapologetically scary while leaving quite a body count behind.  Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow is likewise welcome addition thanks to his excellent martial arts skills.  He also brings more depth to the character than might be expected, and I would have liked to see him developed even more.  Perhaps a sequel or a prequel about this? 

Now, moving onto the more delicate issue of plot . . . while there is one, it's rather flimsy.  The main idea of destructive computerized nano-mites turned into weapons isn't necessarily the problem.  Unfortunately, most of the supporting subplots are abruptly dropped or fall apart before the end.  Prime examples of this include the film's opening moments in a medieval torture chamber, a subplot involving one main character's unique response to nano-mite therapy, and some plot twists involving the U.S. president.  Part of the problem is that the makers of G.I. Joe have clearly put a lot of energy into setting up for a second film, where they ought to have been concentrating on the first.  It also doesn't help that the film's dialogue is frequently painful and does little to help move things along.

I managed to forget about many of these gripes, though, in light of some exciting action sequences and fancy special effects.  The undisputable highlight is a sequence where Duke and Ripcord engage in a high-speed pursuit - on foot - thanks to their high-tech accelerator suits.  There are also some impressive undersea shots and plenty of hand-to-hand combat.

Overall . . .
I can't believe I'm saying this, but against my better judgment I actually kind of liked G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  Sometimes I laughed at the movie instead of with it, but I was generally entertained throughout.  You may well be more discerning than me, but I maintain that for those looking for nothing more or less than a big dumb summer action movie, G.I. Joe will somewhat satisfy. 

Recommend this product? No

Movie Mood: Action Movie

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