Non-Gaming: GI Joe: Rise of Cobra Movie Review

gi-joe-the-rise-of-cobra

Yesterday, me and the missus had a date night to check out GI Joe: Rise of Cobra. I went into the affair not expecting much (I tend to leave the theater a much happier movie-goer when I go into the film expecting it to be terrible; that way, I’m always surprised), and came away, if anything, feeling entertained.

As a child of the 80’s, I grew up on the GI Joe cartoons, and I understand that  a lot of hardcore Joe fans would be quite miffed at some of the changes made to the series and characters in the film. To them I say, do you actually remember the GI Joe cartoon? And I mean truly remember it, not view it through the rosecolored prism of nostalgia.

The GI Joe cartoon, was pretty damn ridiculous. Characters, gadgets, and set pieces were so far fetched and beyond the realm of believability, that the only reason we took them seriously is because we were 8 years old. With that said, I loved that damn cartoon, and I still do today.

Fortunately (and maybe unfortunately, for some), the GI Joe movie is as equally absurd as it’s source material, with the same far fetched gadgets, characters, and set pieces of the show, made even moreso by the fact that it doesn’t have the excuse of being animated to fall back on.

The movie is a live action cartoon. When your villains escape a government facility after stealing an incredibly dangerous new military weapon via jetpack for Pete’s sake, you know you are in the realm of animated cartoon fodder. That’s not saying the films set pieces aren’t entertaining, they are very much so, with a finale that felt like director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) was really reveling in the fact that his source material was, indeed, a cartoon (and a toy line to boot), replete with main villain, “The Scientist,” screeching at his underlings, “Kill all the Joes!”

The plot of the film is straightforward; weapons dealer McCullen (Christopher Eccleson) has created a new weapon called nano-mites, a swarm of microscopic machines that can do any number of things from enhancing a human’s physical attributes, to eating away at an armored tank. Naturally, McCullen uses the US governments thirst for more military might to have NATO fund the project, and once it’s complete, McCullen betrays the US, and steals some nano-mite equipped warheads back for his own nefarious purposes.

Of course, the US doesn’t take this lying down, and sends their best, and most covert unit, the GI Joes, headed by hardass General Hawk (played perfectly by Dennis Quaid) to bring the warheads back, and stop McCullen. Thus enter new GI Joe recruits Duke (Channing Tatum), and best bud Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), who were originally tasked to deliver the warheads to the government, before being intercepted by the evil Baroness (Sienna Miller), who has past ties with Duke himself, and then rescued by the Joes.

What follows is action sequence after action sequence, and brief snippets into the pasts of Duke, Baroness, Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Stormshadow(Byung-hun Lee), the latter two being childhood rivals trained in the most deadly of martial arts, who have a score to settle in some of the cooler (and non-CGI) action setpieces of the film.

The rest of the Joes include Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Breaker (Said Taghmaoui), and Heavy Duty (Adewele Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who are all played well, and do cool stuff, but ultimately lack any real character development, as most of the film focuses on Duke, Baroness, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow.

As the first in what is no doubt a new film franchise, there is the typical setting up of the world and characters that generally  make these movies fun, and GI Joe is indeed fun, but some of the more romantic pieces feel a bit out of place, especially considering which characters they revolve around.

All of that hardly matters, honestly, as the film whizzes by as fast as the cuts in the action sequences, and before you know it, the credits are rolling, and you can’t wait for the sequel, if anything to see more of the Joe’s cartoony antics brought to life, and what the newly formed Cobra is planning next (come on, the movie is called The Rise of Cobra, obviously, by the end, the Joe’s most dangerous foe is given birth).

I don’t quite buy Channing Tatum as Duke, as he simply doesn’t fit the part, but his performance is perfectly fine. As any other Joe, I wouldn’t have an issue, but as the big kahuna and future leader of the Joes, Duke, he just doesn’t seem right for the role. Marlon Wayans as Ripcord is actually rather subdued in this movie, not going overboard with his “wacky” antics, though my wife still finds him highly annoying. His character is probably the worst in the movie, not due to the way  he’s performed, but the way his character was written. Basically, any cliche action movie lines were relegated to Ripcord.

Sienna Miller as Baroness does an admirable job, and she certainly fills out the Baroness’ leather catsuit nicely. Equally delicious is Rachel Nichol’s as Scarlett, who rounds out the eye candy quotient for the good guys (there’s always gotta be a good girl hottie and a bad girl hottie in these flicks), and puts in a very good performance that is strong and sexy. Byung-hun Lee’s Stormshadow is deadly, and a badass, but isn’t given much to do but spout the evil equivalent of the cliches that Ripcord was given. The rest of the cast put in equally cartoony, yet entertaining performances, and it suits the tone of the film well.

In the end, I found GI Joe: Rise of Cobra to be a very entertaining, silly, and action packed late summer movie, and I enjoyed it. It’s not for everybody, but I found it more accessible than the lengthy Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (which could have taken a cue from GI Joe and shaved off a good 30 minutes of screen time), with some fun characters and insane amount of action and gratuitous use of unnecessary tech gadgets and vehicles.

VERDICT: WATCH – It’s fun, fast paced, and action packed, much like the cartoon in which it’s based. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you. I recommend it for it’s sheer camp and fun-factor alone. It’s the epitome of a mindless popcorn flick.

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2 Responses to “Non-Gaming: GI Joe: Rise of Cobra Movie Review”

  1. I don’t buy Channing Tatum as Duke either, though he was good in the movie. He just wasn’t Duke. And that shiznit with him and the Baroness. PULEEHZ! She would chew him up and spit him right back out again and move on to the next guy.

    I HEART the “Scientist”. He made my day, but I think the best parts of the movie were the scenes with young Snake Eyes and Young Storm Shadow. Young Storm Shadow is the most bad ass little kid on the planet!

    Ripchord (sp?) irritated the heck out of me. If the just would have toned it down a bit, I wouldn’t have wanted to gouge my ears out every time he was on screen. Mr. Wayans, DO NOT WANT! That is all.

    Can you tell I’ve had a ton of caffeine this morning? ;P

  2. lol. yeah i can tell. you drink too much coffee.

    young Snake Eyes and StormShadow were awesome.

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