Review: “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”

August 12, 2009 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is, for better or for worse, pretty much everything you thought the movie would be.  It’s loud, fast, stupid, and mindless.  But it’s also entertaining.

Following on the heels of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, this Stephen Sommers-helmed pic places the popular action figures on the big screen against the evil members of a shadowy organization bent on world domination.  It’s pretty much the plot of every children’s animated action/adventure show ever made.  To its credit, the script is ‘better’ than Transformers 2, with the characters being a little more fleshed out and the story, by comparison, doesn’t seem so rushed.

The flick follows Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), the two newest recruits of a secret multi-nation special ops group designed to combat terrorism anywhere in the world, without all the red tape.  Duke, however, has been romantically linked to one of the Joes’ enemies, the Baroness (Sienna Miller), who is now in league with the nefarious arms dealer McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) and his assistant known only as The Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  The Joes, led by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), send a team consisting of mute martial arts expert Snake Eyes (Ray Park), gun nut Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), genius Breaker (Said Taghmauoi), and beautiful marksman Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) to stop McCullen from using a secret weapon that unleashes nanobots to eat everything.  Mixed in for good measure are some flashbacks that explain a bit of some of the characters’ backstories, massive and improbable underwater bases, and ninja fights.

Yeah.  Oscar-winning, this script isn’t.

But, just like Transformers, that isn’t the point.  Basically, these movies are supposed to put on the big screen all the crazy stuff you put the action figures through when you played with them as a kid.  And that’s pretty much what happens in The Rise of Cobra.  The Joes jump over (and through) buses, run up the sides of buildings, smash into cave walls, get shot at, blown up, thrown around, and slammed into.  Generally, all manner of abuse is dished out on these guys.  And it’s sure fun to watch.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a “perfect” action flick.  Just like other reviewers have commented, the CG effects sometimes look unfinished, as if they finalized the film before the effects were done rendering or something.  For example, some of the desert shots look terribly fake.  By comparison, the desert shots of the pyramids in Transformers 2 looked great; the pyramid shots in G.I. Joe look mediocre by comparison.  Also, no one can direct an action scene like Michael Bay.  Sommers tries, but there’s just a certain flow to a Bay movie that is lacking here.  There’s one sequence involving an attack on the Joes’ HQ.  Despite all the craziness going on, there still seems like there isn’t enough happening.  Even if dialogue is being spoken, the action shouldn’t stop.  I feel as if Sommers lets everything calm down for a second so that the actors can say their lines.  Sure, it might be good for the actors, but it slows down the action.

That being said, the flick still has some great moments.  The chase through Paris is great fun, and I had to restrain myself from squealing like a fanboy when I saw mortal enemies Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (Brandon Soo Hoo) face off for the first time.  There’s also plenty of eye candy to go around; I know there were girls swooning at the very glimpse of Channing Tatum (despite is one note acting), and the guys have a lot to look at in Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra won’t exactly win over anyone who despises dumb fun summer flicks (ahem…Roger Ebert), but it will entertain those that grew up playing with the toys.  This movie was made for them, and it doesn’t have to be anything more than that.  Is it stupid?  Oh, yes.  But, will it please its target audience?  Most likely.

7.5/10

(images from Yahoo!)

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