The Attempted Review of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 9:15 PM

In an attempt to build on the success of their toy to film adaptation of Transformers, Hasbro quickly commissioned the adaptation of another popular toy franchise, G.I. Joe. The film is helmed by Stephen Sommers, director of The Mummy franchise and stars such names as Siena Miller, Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid and Marlon Wayans.

What it's all about... The McCullen clan have been dealing in arms for centuries, but never exclusively with one side. The modern day McCullen played by Christopher Eccleston heads arms manufacturer MARS. His company has been contracted by NATO to develop new weapons technology, more powerful than anything known to man. What NATO doesn't know is McCullen heads a secret terrorist organisation and plans to steal his own weapons back from NATO and use them to reign terror on the world, in true cartoon villain style. The only people who can stop McCullen and his crack team of well equiped operatives, The Baroness (Miller), Storm Shadow (Byung Hun Lee), Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) and The Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are the equally well equiped special ops team G.I. Joe consisting of Heavy Duty, Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Breaker and new members Duke (Tatum) and Ripcord (Wayans) who are commaned by General Hawk (Quaid).

What it does well... Unfortunately I didn't think G.I. Joe did much well. I don't know whether it was because I was more of a Transformers fan as a kid but I didn't find much too wow me in G.I. Joe and that's what a summer blockbuster should do. Sure it had non stop action, which to it's credit was relatively well paced and made the films 2 hour running time zoom by. I loved Storm Shadow, I thought he just oozed cool whenever he was on screen with his stylish look and equally stylish martial arts moves. Also, in a nice twist it was refreshing to see the bad guys succeed to some extent. This film was called The Rise of Cobra and to take these guys seriously they need to actually pose a threat to society. Seeing them actually destroy the Eiffel Tower was good and well without spoiling the ending the Joe's can't be everywhere at once.

What it doesn't... The film is far too cartoony for a live action piece, especially one with an M rating. To me it just came across as well, wanky. For me the source of most of this extreme wank comes from the accelarator suits Duke and Ripcord get. These suits accelarate all your attributes to ridiculous proportions and come fitted with tons of arsenal. They let the wearer do anything they want, like flip and cartwheel your way through the streets of Paris whilst avoiding cars and missiles. Instead of appearing cool and envious you are left thinking wow, I could wear one of those and do all that stuff if I wanted to, there isn't anything special about the Joe's wearing them which is the whole reason they are Joes, they are supposed to be special. Also it really annoyed me that the plot was driven by the Joe's magically guessing how McCullen had found their base or using the bizarrest theories possible, like measuring shadows to find things. Clearly it is designed for a youngish audience who don't need huge coherent plot devices and fans of the show who are use to the bizarre plot points and cartoon nature. I know I forgave Transformers for a lack of story because it was such an amazing spectacle but to me Joe doesn't reach those heights considering it's equally large budget. The characters in the film use these holographic projector devices to communicate with each other and that is exactly how their performances felt, hollow. Their was no depth to these characters although the film did try to give them some backstory through flashbacks but to me they didn't really add much to the film. They all deliver their overly cheesy lines but there is no feeling behind it. Also it was a bit odd that Ripcord got to smooch Scarlett even though she's in a relationship with Snake Eyes, we don't want the Joes to fight each other now do we.

Memorable Moment... Like I said there wasn't really much that jumped out at me with this movie. Sure it had a lot of action and a lot of special effects but it was all a bit meh. I guess probably the best bit was the showdown between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in the pulse cannon control room. Watching two martial arts weapon masters go at it is always pretty cool and the fact they had concealed or multi-function weapons was cool and unexpected. Even though they were fighting around dicentegrating laser beams they didn't seem fussed and you weren't left with a sense of danger even though you knew they could be zapped by these beams. I did find it funny though that two henchmen came back into the room and tried to work the cannon albeit clearly freaking out they would be killed next.

What it all means... If you can sit there for 2 hours and not think about anything or you're a prebuscent teen then you'll likely enjoy G.I. Joe. It has plenty of explosions and action but to me it didn't reach the heights of other summer blockbusters like Transformers and Terminator. Just too many things in this film annoyed me to thoroughly enjoy it and that's why G.I. Joe gets 5 super dooper cartwheels out of 10.

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