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Movie Review: G.i. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 6 years and 3 months ago

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Written August 7, 09

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“BOOM!,” “BANG,” “RATATATATA…,” holy crap, I remember it wasn’t too long ago while reading G.I. Joe comics those were the words I’d be reading while visually plastering an all out war between the Joes and Cobra. If not via comics, I also had the magic of good versus evil either on T.V. or based on toys. This was back in ‘85 when I was 10. Man 25 years have flown by so quick it makes me sick. Between my brothers and a cousin of mine we practically had the entire comic and action figure collection including all the cool planes, bunkers AND the USS Flag. Boy do I miss my child-hood. *sigh* But anyway, this piece has nothing to do with my child-hood, so here we go.

Firstly, this review will most definitely stand out a bit differently than others in the sense of I think I’m going to lay down more of a summary and then what I feel worked and didn’t work.

G.I. Joe wasn’t the best film I’ve ever seen, but can say that has been up-to-date one of the best adaptations ever. A lot of that credit goes to director Stephen Sommers who really knows how to captivate one’s attention span and deliver a well rounded creative and organized production. Best known for “The Mummy,” “The Mummy Returns,” & “Van Helsing,” Sommers’ approach (unlike MichaelBay’s with Transformers) was very well researched, respected & seriously approached due to many re-writes and the actual life lived within a fictional form of era. As a fan of G.I. Joe yes there are a few plot-holes, changes within characterization & flawed graphics that seem a bit cartoonish (is that a word?), but much love and respect to the man as he made sure what was once read or viewed on T.V. would be delivered in form of a film. It’s pretty obvious based on what I’ve written (or better yet, typed) it’s obvious I liked the film. It didn’t suck & room for a sequel or maybe even trilogy is being set up. So here comes the breakdown. There might be some spoilers so if you’re sensitive to it, I suggest you stop reading now, know it’s a great action packed popcorn film & check it out. If you don’t give a shit, keep going.

The break it down regarding plot, MARS’ organization is the worlds’ leading supplier of weapons technology. They’re playing NATO by taking funding from them to support their secret underground organization that we later learn is Cobra. Baroniess, Storm Shadow and Destro are trying to retrieve their ‘Nanobot” warheads to use against the world, but the elite GI Joe team jined by newcomers Duke (Channing Tatum and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are out to stop them. That’s pretty much it. the res is all non-stop action.

What worked...

Cobra: I don’t think there’s a nice way to put this, but here goes – this organization pretty much turned out to be Al-Qaeda X 100… everyone in Cobra is a fucking asshole. There is such a blatant disregard for human life in this film. There must have been thousands of innocent people who died as a result of Cobra’s actions.

The Baroness is a cold blooded bitch. There was some relationship stuff between Baroness and Duke, but it gave them some background history at least, and it ends where all of it can be thrown out the window for the sequel. And Sienna Miller is HOT as The Baroness. You guys are going to love her performance and her bod. Jesus this woman must have sold her nutritional soul for this film. She looked HOOOOOT!!!!

Storm Shadow is completely ruthless. Yes, they dubbed over his voice, but you can't even tell. He IS the superior ninja in this film when compared to Snake Eyes, which surprised me. Storm Shadow is very, very proactive while Snake Eyes sometimes seems to be more of a reactive presence. Storm Shadow kills anything that is in his way and Byung-hun Lee was fantastic.

Dr. Mindbender is in the movie briefly.

Cobra Commander is shown at the end. But sans hood.
Paramount, put the fucking hood on this guy's head in the sequel. No argument, nothing. Just do it. Who are you offending, the KKK? We want the hood so give it to us. Other than that, he was ruthless.

Zartan plays a major role that leads to the sequel.

McCullen/Destro is the main man pulling the strings throughout most of the picture.

Neo-Vipers are kind of like unstoppable soldiers with bullet proof armor. They're very tough to take out and they kill without thought. Unlike the cartoon, they can actually aim.

There are numerous shots of guys heads being blown off, ninja stars impaling people, building and cars destroying everything, all because of Cobra. I LOVED how they made them so cold blooded with one goal in mind, take over the world and make everyone suffer. It's everything the cartoon Cobra was trying to do in each episode.

G.I. Joe: Wow. Even the Joes were impressive. They had a mission to stop the bad guys and that's what they tried to do. Scarlett, played by Rachel Nichols, was the scene stealer. Who knew G.I. Joe had such sex appeal?  I could have watched an entire movie that just featured her. Channing Tatum was great as Duke and Dennis Quaid seemed to be enjoying his role as Hawk. The Joes kicked a lot of ass, but they also got their ass handed to them a lot. Ray Park at times, looked uncomfortable in the suit, especially when running. But he was great as well. Hawk is no match for Storm Shadow though...

The action: Absolute chaos. The action is non stop. I had no idea that the movie was filled with so many action and stunt sequences. The first one, where Duke and Ripcord are escorting a convoy only to be attacked by a mysterious gunship, was so much fun to watch. The explosions are everywhere in this, the hand to hand fight scenes are up close and rough, and people die like crazy in this picture. Arrows to the head, ninja stabs through the chest, laser blasts to the face, you name it, they do it.

Paris sequence with the accelerator suits was going to bug me. I knew it going in. But it didn't. Why? Because it was total fucking anarchy. It was insane and you are never given a minute to rest. There is so much rampant destruction with cars flying everywhere, explosions, chases, Snake Eyes fighting Storm Shadow, that it gets nuts. But you can follow the action, and that's what's important.

The Pit invasion battle was also crazy. Hand to hand fights, gun fights, stunts, explosions. Baroness and Scarlett fight, Duke fights Neo-Vipers, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow fight, it was crazy. I loved it.

But that's not even all of the action. There's still an entire sequence with Ripcord chasing down the launched missiles, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes duking it out again, Duke and Cobra, I mean, it never, ever lets up. There are a lot of scenes of young Storm Shadow and young Snake Eyes just beating the piss out of each other as kids. Kids fucking each other up with nun-chucks? Sign me up!!

The sequel: A lot of events are put into motion that easily flow into a sequel. Character arcs make it so Cobra can return with a vengence. New Joes can be introduced to help fight the newly formed Cobra organization.

What didn’t work…

Dialogue: Hey, it’s a movie based off of GI Joe, so some of the dialogue is going to be corny. Yes, they fit in “knowing is half the battle” and “Kung-fu grip.” I couldn’t understand a thing “Heavy Duty” was saying because of the actor’s thick British accent, also, some of the relationship arcs, like the one between Ripcord and Scarlet didn’t work at all. Dump that shit in the sequel.

Please get rid of Marlon Wayans. He’s earned my respect as an actor thanks to “Requiem for a dream,” but truth be told, he doesn’t fit. The humor was off and there’s absolutely no chemistry between him and Scarlet.

Effects and Costumes: Some of the effects weren't finished I believe, which is going to effect my feelings on the movie. I hope theyr’e working on them for the DVD release, bcause some shots, like the first time we see the jet descend into The Pit, looked awful. I had seen better special effects in video games. From the 90's. I hope they're able to clean up a lot of these shots.

Destro's mask at the end also needed work. It looked too clumsy with his pearly whites visible through the mouth part of the mask.

Why does Snake-Eyes have a mouth if he doesn't speak? It just looks so odd and does not work. That has to be fixed for the sequel, because the mouth part on his mask looks really stupid. I also would have liked a more intense, longer battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow at the end. It was good, but was too one sided and surely wound up with an end result that was really unexpected considering my personal knowledge between their relationship.

Cobra Commander is wearing a fishbowl on his head? Ok. Look, I know you guys want to go in new and exciting technological directions with some of these guys, but don't fuck up someone like Cobra Commander by sticking a God damned aquarium on him. PUT THE HOOD OR REGULAR COBRA HELMET ON HIM IN THE SEQUEL!! He's Cobra Commander, he's not the leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Nobody will be confused. Despite what your other filmmaker
MichaelBay thinks, the audience isn't stupid.

Bottom line, this is the G.I. Joe movie we've been waiting to see. This isn't The Bourne Identity, this isn't The Hurt Locker, this is G.I. Joe. It's over the top, it's got crazy action, but it works and kudos to Mr. Sommers for it. So much kudos that I’ll once again state the obvious… here's the thing about Stephen Sommers, unlike
MichaelBay? You can FOLLOW THE ACTION. I was never confused as to what was going on, or as to who was fighting who. He's actually the perfect director for this kind of movie, and of course a lot of things can be fixed for the sequel. Yes, there are some plotholes and questions, but they're minor. The story stays simple and true to canon - Joes vs. Cobra. There's no confusing "what the hell just happened?" moments like in Transformers. And I keep bringing up Transformers because that's all people seem to want to compare it to. And I also think because of their connections with Hasbro as well as Paramount.

In the battle of cartoons turned movies, G.I. Joe is the superior film to Transformers in every way. It is, hands down, the most action packed movie of  the summer. Any kid who hates this movie should be taken out back and roughly wedgied because I can't imagine any kid not liking this.
Paramount spent too much time promoting the wrong movie. While I'm not giving it an ‘A’ rating, I really did have a lot of fun while watching it.

Sorry guys, there's no PSA after the credits. I know, I was bummed as well, but maybe next time.

In conclusion, is this movie perfect? Hell no. There are a lot of cheesy parts to it. But it knows what it is, and it sticks to it. Like Land of the Lost, it never, ever, tries to be something it's not. It realizes its G.I. Joe, and it stays consistent with that presentation throughout the entire picture. Stephen Sommers, you did a good job with the material that was presented to you and I can't wait for the sequel.

But I really do hope for the sake of us fans that they put the fucking hood back on Cobra Commander. Thank you!



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