Starring: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston, Sienna Miller, Ray Park, Byung-hun Lee, Joseph Gordon Levitt
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writers: Stuart Beattie, Michael Gordon, Stephen Sommers
Our childhoods are the new big things for movies.Â Â Transformers andÂ Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were box office hits, comic book movies are still an insanely profitable business, and projects likeÂ He-Man And The Masters of the Universe have been in development hell for years.Â The latest comes from Stephen Sommers, who knows a few things about summer blockbusters; he did do the recentÂ The Mummy franchise, after all.Â Yes, itâ€™s time to take a look atÂ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and what can I say? Well, I guess I could say that knowing is half the battle, and itâ€™s probably best that you know right off hand that this movie is mindless and boring, with a number of plot inconsistencies and reasoning that will leave the audience baffled.Â Â Spoilers after the jump.
See what I did there, sneaking in a little nod to the cartoon?Â Get used to it; the movie spends the first half hour reminding you that there was a cartoon, with slogans and nods.Â Then it spends the rest of the time changing up the cartoon needlessly.
Now, before we go any further, let me make this clear: Iâ€™m fine with changes from source material.Â I understand that some things that work in other mediums will not work cinematically.Â This has worked very well with franchises likeÂ X-Men (well, for 2 movies at least) andÂ Batman; but these changes need to make sense.Â They shouldnâ€™t detract from the reasons we love these characters, from the emotional bonds weâ€™ve shared with them for years.Â And most importantly, they shouldÂ make sense.Â If you do have to change something, you absolutely should have to.Â It should be because there is no other way around it but to change it.
That said, what the hell made them thinkÂ G.I. Joe is a love story?Â Why was Duke once engaged to The Baroness, who is needlessly revealed to be not really evil but instead mind controlled by The Doctor (who later becomes Cobra Commander)?Â Why do the two still pine over each other after years of separation, after Duke couldnâ€™t save her brother? (Her brotherâ€™s Cobra Commander, there, I just saved you $9)Â Why are Scarlett and Ripcord a couple by movieâ€™s end?Â More importantly, why arenâ€™t Scarlett and Snake Eyes a couple, as the characters are classically depicted?
The casting for the main characters is all over the place.Â Channing Tatumâ€™s Duke comes off way too â€œbrodudeâ€, Marlon Wayans is playing the same character heâ€™s played in every movie, and Rachel Nichols is passable as Scarlett.Â I was passable because while she may not have done much besides flirt with Marlon Wayans and speak a little Celtic, sheâ€™s really hot, so she gets a pass.Â Snake Eyes has a horrible costume, but character wise heâ€™s pretty good, since itâ€™s Ray Park as a silent martial artist and heâ€™s pretty well got that nailed at this point.Â As far as the heroes go, thatâ€™s really it.Â Yes, youâ€™ve got Heavy Duty, Breaker and General Hawk, but theyâ€™re mostly in the background after their one moment.Â Youâ€™ve also got a 2 minute cameo by Brenden Frasier, as a character that is intended to be a descendant of his character fromÂ The Mummy, not that youâ€™ll care, since heâ€™s barely on screen and somewhat annoying.
The villains are a little more spot-on.Â Sienna Millerâ€™s Baroness had a nonsensical mind control back story,Â Joeseph Gordon-Levitt is disappointing behind horrible designs and poor timing as The Scientist/Cobra Commander.Â Storm Shadow is pretty cool, but seems to exist only to remind the villains that Snake Eyes is utterly badass.Â And thereâ€™s Zartan, who is only in about half the movie.Â Christopher Eccleston is great as Destro, but heâ€™s woefully underused.Â Oh, sorry, I called him Destro.Â Heâ€™s not really Destro until the last 5 seconds of the movie, until then heâ€™s McCullen.
Which brings us to the movieâ€™s biggest letdown: the story.Â The movie isnâ€™t an origin film for G.I. Joe, itâ€™s an origin film for Cobra.Â The needlessly elaborate plot is that McCullen is an arms dealer, who sells to both sides of any warring faction, as his family has for years.Â Heâ€™s developedÂ NERF footballsÂ missiles with nanomites which can eat through any metal, becauseâ€¦well, I guess metal is not something he appreciates.Â His ultimate goal is to hold the world hostage and straighten things out using chaos.Â Heâ€™s got in his employ an army of nanomite infused soldiers (assuming you call 20 an army), as well as Storm Shadow, The Baroness, and The Doctor.Â The Doctorâ€™s goal is to finish his research and take over McCullenâ€™s army to form the terrorist organization Cobra.Â The Joes donâ€™t realize much by themselves and only stumble upon McCullenâ€™s base because Duke gets kidnapped.
Well, at least the actions is pretty good, right?Â No!Â Thereâ€™s no point to it!Â The first major sequence has the Joes trying to stop Cobrâ€“sorry, McCullenâ€™s agents from trying to destroy the Eiffel Tower.Â Since youâ€™ve already seen the trailer, I think you can guess how this one ends.Â So as Baroness and Storm Shadow are fleeing in broad daylight in an SUV, the Joes follow in a van.Â Out of Duke and Ripcord in Accelerator Suits that allow them to run faster than a car, Snake Eyes and Scarlett, who is the first person that you would send after a speeding car?Â If you selected Snake Eyes, by God, you exist on G.I. Joe logic.Â Duke, Ripcord and Scarlett finally join in on the chase, but Scarlett is taken out pretty fast, while Duke and Ripcord tear through moving cars and buildings,Â effectively killing or maiming a large portion of Parisâ€™ citizens.Â Then theyâ€™re shocked when theyâ€™re asked to never again return to France.Â Yo Joe indeed.Â The movie ends with the Joe using snow camoflauge to infiltrate an artic base, which is pretty effective camouflage except for the giant white and grey snowmobiles they use on the approach (Stealth!), a Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow fight that is alright but way too short, Ripcord getting arrested again, Destro being given a nanomite infused mask with horrible CG lips, The Doctor declaring himself Cobra Commander, and Duke and the newly saved Baroness leading the army that arrests the two.Â Yeah, you read that right.Â Cobra risesÂ just in time for itâ€™s leaders to be arrested.
The films seems to hang on a love story, a buddy story, but primarily tries to be a needlessly complex origin story for Cobra.Â And why even try that?Â Terrorist organizations do not need origins!Â Why is Cobra trying to blow things up?Â Who gives a shit!Â Itâ€™s Cobra!Â They just want to blow things up, and G.I. Joe is there to stop them!Â Remember the point I made that the changes should make sense?Â Is there just not a good plot out there that involves Cobra Commander leading an army and G.I. Joe must foil that plot?
Thereâ€™s plenty more I could go on about.Â Snake Eyesâ€™ horrible, molded costume (something similar to Storm Shadowâ€™s would have been much more fitting and looked way better), the dodgy CGI, the overuse of false technology (a camouflage suit exists to be used solely for one fight) which Iâ€™m sure was meant to be a nod towards GI Joeâ€™s extensive use of toys as plot devices but instead serves to tip the audience off as to what happens next; the movie is just a trainwreck.Â Iâ€™m sure a sequel is already needlessly greenlit, so hereâ€™s hoping that it does better in the next installment.
Now you know thatÂ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra gets aÂ D, only saved from itâ€™s F by Snake Eyes being an awesome ninja and Scarlett running on a treadmill, so hopefully youâ€™ll fight your half of the battle and not spend money on this horrible movie.