Should you go Joe? G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, is the live action adaptation of the beloved toy, cartoon, and comic book staple from Hasbro. It’s an origin story that features the most well known characters from the franchise which includes Duke, Ripcord, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Heavy Duty, Breaker, and General Hawk. Director Stephen Sommers laces the screen with nonstop action, paired with intertwined back stories and questionable motivations. So, should you check out G.I. Joe?
In the words of General Hawk, knowing is half the battle……
The entire plot revolves around chemical warfare. James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) aka Destro, is a prosperous weapons manufacturer who has created a new technology called “nano mites.” A case filled with four missiles containing the mites are put in the care of soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) for immediate transport. Unfortunately Baroness (Sienna Miller) a leather wearing assassin figure, wants the case and will blow up a whole damn forest to get it. The majority of the film is spent with everyone chasing after the missile case to avoid the start of an all out nuclear war. You find out from various flashbacks that a lot of the good guys are closely connected to the bad guys, and in more ways than one.
- The Action: The action scenes were pretty impressive. One that sticks out in particular is the chase scene in Paris. Duke and Ripcord are running the streets of the city in their accelerator suits leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. Scarlett is close behind on a motorcycle, while Snake Eyes is riding the hood of a SUV, with cars being thrown at him!
- Ray Park/Byung-Hun Lee: Park and Lee portray Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, two surrogate brothers with a murky past. Snake Eyes doesn’t speak or show his face through the entire film, but he dominates his scenes. Storm Shadow does speak, and when he does you listen. Lee pulled off a calm, calculated coolness with his character that lets you know he’s not to be messed with.
- It’s Entertaining: Just because a movie has a lot of action doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy yourself (ahem Transformers Revenge of the Fallen). The film isn’t perfect by a long shot, but if it’s goal is to produce an adrenaline rush to the masses it does deliver.
- The Special Effects: A lot has been said about the visuals in this film, but they weren’t that great. Some scenes were brought down by the cartoonish look of the special effects. The film is CGI heavy, so the graphics department should have brought their A-game. Its not as bad as the look in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but its not that much better.
- Channing Tatum/Dennis Quaid: Whoever said Dennis Quaid was set dressing in this film was absolutely right! His talent is wasted, and his part is a lot smaller than expected. Every line he delivers sounds as if he’s reading it right off the page. It’s a trait he shared with co-star Channing Tatum, who will never be Duke in my eyes. Neither of these men embodied their character’s spirits, and almost appeared as if they were bored onscreen. In any given scene, you can visibly see Quaid thinking about what he’ll eat for dinner that night.
- The Campy Catchphrases: There’s nothing wrong with throwing in a couple of signature catch phrases to bring back nostalgia. But do we really have to hear, “Knowing is half the battle,” “Go Joe,” Real American heroes,” and “When others fail we don’t” back to back? It seemed so forced when the actors delivered those lines. Instead of it being a sly wink to the audience, it’s more like a punch in the face!
G.I. Joe is nothing more and nothing less of what I expected it to be. It’s a popcorn movie through and through. I enjoyed the action, the comedic moments, and the trip down memory lane. For that alone I would recommend this movie, but if you’re expecting it to be a serious take on the beloved series don’t bother. G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra doesn’t take itself that seriously, and neither should you.