G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA
*** (out of 5)
August 7, 2009
Dennis Quaid as GENERAL HAWK
Channing Tatum as DUKE
Marlon Wayans as RIPCORD
Sienna Miller as ANA
Rachel Nichols as SCARLETT
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as REX
Christopher Eccleston as MCCULLEN
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. On one hand, I’m still irked at Paramount for generating a news story about their flat-out refusal to show this movie to the vast majority of critics. But, on the other hand, I cannot deny the fact that “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is a very fun, whip-ass action flick made for the ten-yea-old boy in all of us.
Like Renny Harlin and Roland Emmerich, Stephen Sommers is a director that I have pretty much enjoyed over the years. He makes the crappiest of the crap on cinema screens, but I eat that stuff up like a starving wiener dog. I love his fast food quality of filmmaking. Heck, I even liked “Van Helsing,” and I’m pretty sure no other critic in America did.
If you consider Sommers’ pedigree of two “Mummy” films and the aforementioned “Van Helsing,” you have an idea of what “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is going to be. It’s heavy on the special effects and loaded with CGI-augmented action sequences.
The story follows two Army soldiers named Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) who are ordered to protect a package of nanobot warheads that can be used to consume entire cities. A mysterious terrorist organization coincidentally sends Duke’s ex-girlfriend Ana (Sienna Miller) to steal the weapon, but they are thwarted by an elite group of soldiers known as G.I. Joe. Soon, Duke and Ripcord are recruited into G.I. Joe to fight the terrorists and save the world from these weapons.
I used to watch the “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” cartoon when I was in middle school, and I really enjoyed it. The series was up their as one of my favorites, along with “Johnny Quest,” “Dungeons & Dragons” and “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” And while I don’t remember a whole lot about the stories, action or even character, I remember the flavor of the show.
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is exactly like a live-action version of this cartoon, even more so than the craptastic “Transformers” movies brought to you by Michael Bay. There’s no drug humor in “G.I. Joe,” and the beer commercial sex isn’t slathered on the screen like it is in a Bay film. In this respect, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is superior to Bay’s “Transformers” flicks, and it’s more appropriate for a young audience.
The film is very similar in tone and character to the “Fantastic Four” movies, only with a bit more military violence. Most, but not all, of the kills are relatively bloodless, and it’s loaded with shoot-em-up action. The story is needlessly convoluted, trying to give a backstory to all the many characters on screen. In the same vein, the dialogue is significantly cringe-worthy with some of the most wooden acting you’ll see on the screen this year.
But for the fan of the old cartoon, or someone just looking for big-screen action, these are all forgivable flaws. Just put yourself in the mind-set of a ten-year-old boy watching this on a Saturday morning with a big bowl of frosted flakes in front of you.
But don’t expect anything more.