Monday, August 24, 2009

Yo Joe! You Are Barely So-So

The full list of films for this year’s tiff. are now available. Individual tickets will be available for purchase online on September 4, 2009 at 7 am.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Okay let me get this out of the way right off the bat; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was not the kick in the groin I was expecting it to be. In fact, I was actually entertained in certain segments. Having said that, should you pay to see this movie? No. If you happen to come across a free movie pass, such as I did for sitting through Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince in a theatre with a broken air condition machine, then you may want to take a chance on G.I. Joe. Still, I can think of at least 20 other films released this year that you should see before G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

While on a mission transport nanotechnology-based warheads, a platoon of soldiers lead by Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are ambushed by a mysterious terrorist group with highly advanced weaponry. Lead by Baroness (Sienna Miller), a woman who is linked to Duke’s past, and Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) the terrorist takeout most of Duke’s platoon. Just when it looks like Duke and Ripcord’s days are numbered a special ops team, known as G.I. Joe, swoops in and saves the duo last minute.

Looking to avenge his fallen soldiers, and knowing that the Baroness will stop at nothing to get the warheads, Duke requests that he and Ripcord be allowed to join G.I. Joe. Lead by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), G.I. Joe is comprised of the top military specialist from around the world. While the team is expansive the top operatives are clearly Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Yet can the addition of Duke and Ripcord, help G.I. Joe defeat an enemy that they know little about? Why is this villainous group so determined on getting the warheads? Also what role does MARS chairman James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), whose company is responsible for making the warheads, play in all of this?

The Rise of Cobra continues the recent Hollywood trend of sullying many of my fond childhood memories. Yet, unlike the Transformers movie franchise, G.I. Joe at least attempts to maintain many of the elements that made the original 80’s cartoon fun to begin with. The cast does a good job bringing many of G.I. Joe’s beloved characters to life. Most notable performance surprisingly being Sienne Miller’s Baroness. Miller not only nailed Baroness perfectly, but actually seemed best suited for the over-the-top nature of the movie. It would be foolish to go into G.I. Joe expecting any real substance in relation to plot, as the television show was never that deep to begin with. Similar to the cartoon, Cobra is by far the most interesting aspect of the movie. The Joes, on the other hand, somehow manage to be even blander here than they were in the 80’s. This is partly due to both the script and some of director Stephen Sommers’ choices.

The dialogue in this movie is awful. Granted G.I. Joe has never been in the ranks of Anton Chekov but it is still tough watching skilled actors, such as Eccleston, Taghmaoui and Akinnuoye-Agbaje, spew some truly tacky lines. Instead of masking this flaw, Sommers inadvertently displays it even further through his unwise use of flashbacks throughout the film. Many of the flashbacks are inserted at the oddest moments. For example, after the events in Paris, Baroness and Duke are on a plane talking about guilt and regrets. While the conversation is suppose to be a sly way of shedding further light into their relationship, Sommers’ decides to insert a random Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes flashback. The scene does little to enhance neither the plot nor the characters. Frankly they could have cut the flashbacks completely and conveyed the same point in a few simple lines. Surprisingly this is not even the most glaring flaw about the movie.

The most shocking thing about G.I. Joe: The Rise Cobra is how awful the special effects are in many scenes. Moments such as planes flying over desserts, buildings being destroyed, random Cobra and Joe vehicles, etc., look like they were created using one of those free internet downloadable flash programs. Now I understand that special effects are complicated things that usually take up lots of time and money. Yet, for a big budget film such as G.I. Joe, there is no excuse for such pedestrian effects. Especially after what District 9 was able to achieve with a mere fraction of the Joe’s cost. If it was a case of the crew not having enough time to finish the effects properly, then the film should have been held back for another year.

Despite a decent cast and a few genuinely entertaining moments there is very little to warrant seeing G.I. Joe in theatres. Even the nostalgic factor can only last for so long. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a rental at best and even that is being rather generous.

For more Big Thoughts From A Small Mind's 2009 Reviews


  1. The movie is kinda hilarious though.
    I hated myself for enjoying it as much as I did afterwards.

  2. The Baroness was smoking hot and Miller delivered her lines with a 'tongue in cheek' attitude. I like Christopher Eccleston the actor and I think he was having some fun with his role. The Paris action sequence was wacky fun.

    Other than that, yeah, this was not very good.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.