An Utter Failure From Start to Finish in Every Aspect of Moviemaking - G.I. Joe
Written: Aug 17, 2009 (Updated Aug 17, 2009)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Er, lots of good looking people
Cons:Every other thing you can imagine
The Bottom Line: Thus far, the worst movie of 2009, easily.
Stupid action movies have their purpose, I understand that. Every so often people need to just watch crap blowing up and dudes running around and hot chicks kick each other's butts. It's a way to unwind at the movies with unrealistic looking people in wildly unrealistic situations and it enables you to get on with your mundane life, escapism achieved. But, there are different levels of stupid action movies. All mindless adventure isn't created the same.
At the shallow end of this creative pool was born G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. How anyone read this script, heard this plot, saw these effects, heard this dialogue, and thought going forward on this project was a sound idea is beyond reason. As noisy and brain draining as some action movies can be, they are usually held together by a slight semblance of coherent plot, or at least a solid enough cast embodying superhuman characters somewhat capably. What we have here is utter failure from start to finish in nearly every aspect of moviemaking. What's more amazing is at least some of the folks involved have evidenced in the past that they are basically talented at what they do. How this perfect storm of awful came together on top this 80s toy franchise turned motion picture I don't know, but it sure happened, brother. It happened in spades.
The plot is meandering nonsense, held together by this battle between the covert military group called G.I. Joe (or often referred to as "The Joes," like they're a Goatius sponsored baseball team) and the diabolically evil yet fashion conscious Cobra. These metal eating bombs have been developed and Cobra wants them for reasons of destroying the world or something, and The Joes intervene. There are a number of running subplots - how Duke (one of the Joes) used to hook up with the Baroness (a sexy Cobra operative), how her brother was killed in a mission with Duke, driving her bad, how face altering technology may be placing the world in jeopardy (at least in time for a sequel), how Snake Eyes (the silent Joe) faces off against his childhood nemesis Storm Shadow (Cobra), and how Hawk (Joe leader) can look and act like a life size action figure despite being played by a real person with the acting talent of Dennis Quaid, no less.
It's a surprisingly awful movie, and I say this having suffered through a number of director Stephen Sommers other efforts. Van Helsing is terrible, the second Mummy movie degenerates into horrid blathering garbage by the end, but apparently taking a couple years off didn't exactly change Sommers's propensity for trash on screen. G.I. Joe doesn't even have the sleek effects and production quality of that other purveyor of noisy trash cinema, Michael Bay. The lauded, expensive effects largely fall flat, looking very computer generated and sticking out ugly in the "real" world they are digitized into. Every time the camera runs a 360 degree path around a flying ship, you feel like you've instantly been transported into a Sega Genesis game circa 1994. Terrible!
But not half as terrible as the acting. To be fair, the script and dialogue is at such a third grade level that Daniel Day Lewis and Cate Blanchett would come off looking like amateurs spouting it, but the producers sure didn't do themselves any favors with the folks they put in place. What part of "Channing Tatum/Marlon Wayans action hero tandem" sounded awesome at the pitch meeting? Wayans, while solid in his very rare serious work, is just a musclebound goofball here, hitting on the personality-lite, cleavage-heavy Scarlett (Rachel Nichols). Still, he looks like Olivier next to Tatum, quite possibly the worst actor in the history of the world. His lifeless, dim-witted turn as Duke should earn him the coveted Golden Raspberry this year, if there is any justice.
Sienna Miller fares okay as the leather clad Baroness, but spouts a bunch of clichéd villain lines throughout. Joseph Gordon Levitt (apparently looking for a paycheck after the marvelous indie (500) Days of Summer) gets to play full on creepy weirdo baddie as the man who becomes the Cobra Commander, again in the obvious sequel. And Dennis Quaid, for the love of God, you can turn down a script every once in a while! What in the f@#% were you thinking taking on this s%&@ role in this godawful stupid movie?!
I would also like to point out for the record that I say all of this with no lingering affection for the toy brand or cartoon from the 1980s. These things were around in my formative years, but I don't remember ever seeing the show, and I'm positive I never had one of the action figures. They were too small! They didn't cross over with other toys worth a lick. You put He-Man in against Snake Eyes, He-Man crushes the life out of him every time. No, they only worked against Star Wars figures, and even then Star Wars figures didn't feel so much like toys as collector's items.
So leave all hope behind, those who enter into watching this abysmal garbage. Incredibly, they go to great lengths to set up things at the end of the film for a sequel, and I think this might be the biggest affront of all. How a movie this bad can presume to spawn another film to the point that it builds characters and plot elements into the finale that serve no other purpose is outrageous and deplorable. Everyone involved in this travesty should be ashamed. This is officially the worst movie of 2009 thus far, hands down.
Oh, I should add I haven't seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen yet. Maybe calling this schlock Worst of the Year is a bit presumptive.
The Goatius Grade = 1.0
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