G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009)
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Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett, Michael Gordon, Stuart Beattie, Stephen Sommers
Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Arnold Vosloo, Byung-hun Lee, Brittany Alexis Palmer, Ron Yuan, Brandon Soo Hoo, Courtney Fleming, Jabbaar George, Gerald Okamura, Michael Benyaer, David Jean Thomas, David Murray, Bob Rumnock, Frederic Doss, Jerald Garner, Burton Perez, Ken Thomas, Ryan Van de Kamp Buchanan, Michael Bretten, Chris Akers, Brad Carr, Jason Castle, Joe Davis, Brendan Fraser, Charles Howerton, Zaayan Lala, Jeff Lam, Wayne Lopez, P. David Miller, Lili Mirojnick, Ken Moreno, Westley Nguyen, Tom Ohmer, Lalo Reyes, Jason Roehm, Gubbi Sigurdsson, Sean Velie, Kaleti Williams, Brianna Womick, Leo Howard, Joe Guth, Shannah Barrett, Gunner Wright, Duncan Bravo, SaÃ¯d Taghmaoui, Karolina Kurkova, Elena Evangelo, Luke Massy, Kellie Matteson, Michael Broderick, Wesley Busser, Hugh Daly, Vincent Defebo, Michael Foster, Mark Hames, Victor Harris, Daniel Josev, Mary Kircher, Renzo Lewis Jr., Melissa S. Markess, Dan Martino, Markell Pool, Sean Richter, Mary Scanlon, Bryan Soto, Joe Chacon, Ken Edling
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|Movie Review by Jarrod |
August 9th, 2009
'G.I. Joe' was a cartoon I used to watch as a kid; if I recall correctly, it was hosted by the wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, who appeared after every set of commercials, and introduced each episode, and advertised all of the various action figures from Hasbro toys. It thus shares common origins with Transformers, though I think the popularity of Transformers has been more enduring. But there are, I am sure, a few diehard GI Joe fans out there, who have been clamoring for a movie like this for a very long time. Compared to Michael Bay's recent cinematic atrocity Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is sort of a masterpiece. But that is not giving it much credit. Directed by Stephen Sommers, responsible for The Mummy and Van Helsing, this is a big, loud action picture, adequate yet totally vacuous entertainment for the summer crowd.
These are the kinds of films Sommers makes rather well, and he spared no expense, with loads of expensive, state-of-the-art CGI effects and technology on full display, in every scene. There is certainly never a dull or quiet moment, and no real attempt to invest in worthwhile or logical exposition, as the plot makes no actual sense anyway and it simply leads from one bombastic sequence into another, with some absurd and inane dialogue thrown in along the way.
I often had to stifle my laughter when the characters began to converse with each other. Channing Tatum gets top billing here, and is joined by Marlon Wayans; they are two regular US soldiers, Duke and Ripcord, selected to transport four ultra-dangerous warheads, which have been sold to NATO by their creator, James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston).
The convoy is attacked by Cobra forces, the bad guys, who attempt to intercept and steal the warheads for themselves. They are fought off by the good guys, the GI Joe special operations team, located in a secret underground base, and headed by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid).
Duke and Ripcord are taken there, undergo training, and essentially become the new recruits. Duke has a personal connection with Cobra; his former fiancée Anastasia DeCobray (Sienna Miller), and her brother, Rex (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) have fled to its ranks, turned to the dark side if you will, and Rex, having been disfigured in some kind of accident, wears a mask to cover at least the lower portion of his face.
I was reminded of Darth Vader almost immediately. Rex is one of the primary villains, played with effective and twisted menace by Levitt, who must have recognized that this role was beneath his talents, but took it for the paycheck and made the most of it.
The real brain behind Cobra, though, is none other than McCullen himself, who dispatches Ana, or the Baroness, and skilled white-uniformed ninja Storm Shadow to do most of his dirty work, while remains hidden from view. Lame one-liners abound, especially in the exchanges between Duke and Ripcord.
Eccleston wields an outrageous Scottish accent, perhaps for comical effect, but I was never quite sure, but I do that McCullen's motivations and ambitions would make him a great choice for a Bond villain. Speaking of Bond, Jonathan Pryce (who played media mogul Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies) shows up briefly as the US president, not appearing the slightest bit worried about impending calamity.
The Eiffel Tower is destroyed in rather spectacular fashion by the nanomites hidden away in those warheads, but then, the script feels it is necessary to remind viewers of Paris's geographic location. We also get to hear plenty of jingoistic idiocy, the mindless patriotic sophistry parodied so brilliantly in Team America: World Police. Tatum looks great in tight-fitting costumes, but has all the charisma and magnetism of a paper bag.
Wayans is egregiously miscast, and comes across as insufferably obnoxious and full of fake machismo. The Joes and the Cobras each have two beautiful female members, and two ninjas; matching the Baroness is Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), the intelligence expert, whom Ripcord is attracted to, but she apparently has no interest in him. And Storm Shadow fights it out with his nemesis, Snake Eyes (Ray Park); we see flashbacks of them as children, training under their Japanese mentor. I did not hate the movie, as I hated Transformers 2, and it stopped just shy of two hours, so it does not overstay its welcome.
It leaves behind; however, a string of loose ends, and is obviously laying the groundwork for future installments. Unfortunate and unsatisfying, but I suppose the flick does qualify as pure dumb fun, the purest and dumbest fun you are bound to have at theaters currently.
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