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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

A movie released August 07, 2009

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Loud, Fun and Stylish...and Nope, Can't Say "Yo Joe"

  • Nov 5, 2009

Honestly, I am not an avid fan of the G.I. animated series or the comic book published by Marvel comics back in the 80’s, therefore my knowledge of the G.I. Joe universe is very limited. I am however, aware of its characters seeing as how a bunch of my friends used to collect the little action figures. “G.I. JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA” directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) was written during the writer’s strike and is geared towards a specific audience. I lowered my expectations when I saw this film on dvd, (hey, no writers on duty) and I know this movie was inspired by toys. So how does it hold up?

The M.A.R.S. industry had developed a new nanotech technology that was used to cure cancer and is now being re-tooled to be used for military purposes. This nanotech can eat through anything and is able to decimate a city with a small warhead. Arms dealer McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) had pitched the technology to N.A.T.O. and the new tech is about to be transported to a NATO base when C.O.B.R.A. a group of high-tech terrorists attack the group of grunts led by Duke (Tatum Channing, Fighting) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans). However, Cobra gets intercepted by a secret counter-terrorist unit called G.I.JOE. The set up for an encounter of high-tech weaponry between COBRA led by the Doctor (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and members Storm shadow, (Lee Byung Hyun, A Bittersweet Life), Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) and the Baroness (Sienna Miller) and the JOES led by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid) with members Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) with new members Duke and Ripcord joining the battle for supremacy with the dangerous nanotech weapon as the final prize. 

                            Sienna Miller as The Baroness in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."   

           Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

Leave it to Hollywood to try and capitalize on the success of the “Transformers” franchise. While there is nothing remotely wrong with this practice, I would have wished that they would have at least come up with a movie that would appear to have been carefully thought out. The plot in “Rise of the Cobra” is pretty routine and unimaginative; the label of the “Real American Hero” is disposed with and replaced with “when all fails, we don’t”, the plot devices and elements are so predictable and even the twist in the final act was too forced. The film is your typical good vs. evil action movie with an overload of rehearsed explosions and eye candy special effects. Stephen Sommers makes no attempts in trying to add anything intricate plot wise, he knows his intended audience, kids and teenagers who enjoy boisterous displays of senseless action and visual effects.

The action scenes in “G.I. Joe” are elaborate, loud, stylish and slick. Sommers have a lot of experience in handling caricaturist characters by hiding the flaws of the script by wall to wall action. The movie can be fun to watch, and the slick visuals do have its charm. The mayhem in the film is nicely staged with quick editing tricks, occasional slow-mo that follows the movements of the Joes as they spring into combat. The film does have a very nifty chase scene in the streets of Paris, that scene alone could have saved the movie from mediocrity, and sadly this is also the film’s best scenes, as the other action sequences of the film did not match its quality. I would have expected for the final encounter to be much more intense and decisive than for a chase that occurs in the film’s halfway point to steal the show. Also, the visual effects are good, but effects without the emotion of high stakes can feel rather superficial and too unreal. 

         A scene from the film "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

                         A scene from the film "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

The characterization in the film falls into a sad display of cinematic shameless caricatures. I know these characters are toys but I thought Hasbro was selling these for the toys themselves to tell a story. The costumes and gimmicks does appear to have been inspired by the toys, and Lee Byung Hyun and Ray Park makes for a good Storm shadow and Snake Eyes, their past brings a small amount of depth but wasn’t fully utilized; but Tatum Channing and Marlon Wayans were miscast and felt very stereotypical. Sienna Miller needed more ‘gutsy’, ruthless aura for her role; Rachel Nichols and Levitt were just so ineffective to the point of almost embarrassing themselves. The links between the Baroness and Duke were also too perfunctory and was obviously added to stimulate some romantic angle that was unneeded. Flashbacks were used to add character development and while the past between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow showed some potential; it just couldn’t be the right element to capitalize on.

With “Van Helsing” and two movies of “The Mummy” under his belt, Sommers does know how to shoot eye candy action sequences and repetitive, stylish effects. One should know what he is in for when watching a movie directed by Sommers, it may be fun, popcorn, unrisky entertainment meant for the general audiences. The G.I. Joe franchise is expected not to have any real depth or inventive characterization; and for this expectation, Sommers may be the right man for the job. The movie gives hints of a sequel, and while I knew off the bat that I wasn’t the movie’s intended audience, I can see how some people can find this movie fun. “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” doesn’t really fail when you consider its source material (which is a toy line) but it also isn’t exactly anything special.

Rental [2 Stars]

Rachel Nichols as Scarlett in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."       Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow and Sienna Miller as The Baroness in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."
Loud, Stylish and Very Fancy...Fun But Not Compelling... Loud, Stylish and Very Fancy...Fun But Not Compelling... Loud, Stylish and Very Fancy...Fun But Not Compelling... Loud, Stylish and Very Fancy...Fun But Not Compelling...

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March 30, 2011
Believe this or not man but I actually liked this flick, I have no idea why but I thought it was stupid fun.
November 05, 2009
I haven't seen this yet, but everything I keep hearing about it makes me think it'd be one of those rare moments I'd probably go negative.  I imagine I will see it at some point because I like movies and I enjoy picking at the bad ones, but I sure as hell won't pay for it!
November 08, 2009
You will have a ball ripping this apart, but not as fun as TRANSFORMERS 2. This was clean and may have been made as a kid-friendly flick.
More G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra reviews
review by . November 06, 2009
Lately Hollywood has been trying to Monopolize on the success that Hasbro has created over the years. First in 2007 Michael Bay directed the adequate adaption of the ultra mega popular toy line and cartoon animated franchise Transformers, While his attempt was good it didn't quite make the cut as great as it could have been. Then in 2009 he made the horrible and audacious Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen which was shortly followed by Stephen Sommers G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra which in turn was …
review by . August 18, 2009
Short attention span summary (SASS):       1. GI Joe goes global, hi-tech and impossibly awesome    2. Bad guys include the standard megalomaniac with Gaelic accent, mad scientist, hot chick, martial arts expert and a horde of nano-mites, capable of never-before-seen destruction unless someone hits the kill-switch    3. Good guys include General with a heart of gold, hunky lead, comic relief sidekick, hot chick number 2, martial arts expert number 2, computer …
review by . August 08, 2009
Written by a child at heart. This ain't your Dad's GI Joe.
The GI Joe francise has been around in one form or another since the 60's.  The most popular was it's 80's run which ran alongside the Marvel Comic book featuring more or less the same characters.  With nostalgia kicking in big time lately with old toy and comic francises being brought back and on the big screen it made sense that GI Joe would be there.      The story has Conrad Hauser and Wallace Weems are best friends in the armed forces on a mission to …
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was great I thought it keep me watching it so much.
review by . August 13, 2009
So I walked out of this movie after about 45 minutes. G.I. Joe just isn't my kind of movie, but that's not the movies problem. It's my problem. I had no business being there in the first place. For one, I was always ambivalent about the cartoon. I watched it only because it came on after the Transformers. Most of the time I didn't finish the episodes. Not much has changed considering that I saw G.I. Joe only because I had my schedule mixed up with what I really wanted to see: …
review by . August 08, 2009
   I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this film was.  I liked it a lot more than any of the Transformer movies and the movie never seemed to get boring.  It begins with a Scottish arms dealer caught in 1600's France being forced to wear a steel mask (which is literally burnt into his head).  We then flash forward to what is labelled "the near distant future." and the arm's dealer's later descendent is now a heavy dealer to the US military (and to other …
Quick Tip by . May 11, 2010
Surprisingly entertaining considering the bad casting, lame story, choice of characters....Lets hope a sequel is better.
review by . April 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I can't say I had high expectations for any movie based on GI Joe action figures. I used to love playing the figures as a kid, but it just simply isn't movie material. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is probably the best they could do given the concept, but the result isn't very satisfying. It's an action movie galore, but not much else. The script gets a bit corny and cliche, with predictable lines and plot developments - like the hot GI Joe Scarlett also being the scientific nerd. I was also surprised …
Quick Tip by . January 24, 2010
If you love guns, shooting and a hell lot of action? Watch it! If you love a great storyline, then don't watch it..
review by . December 20, 2009
It seems this is the decade for resurrecting old cartoons as movie franchises. Starting with x-Men, then Spiderman, then Transformers, and now G.I. Joe, each one has been jazzed up sex appeal, great special effects, big budgets, and a host of movie stars young and old. Unfortunately, all of this does not replace a good script and authentic details, both of which are lacking in this movie.     First, the general premise of the movie is nonsensical. To begin, we have an evil scientist …
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About this movie


G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
is a 2009 American live action film adaptation of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy franchise. The film is directed by Stephen Sommers, produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and written by Stuart Beattie based on a 1998 screenplay by John Paul Kay. G.I. Joe features an ensemble cast based on the various characters of the franchise. Filming took place in Downey, California and Prague's Barrandov Studios. The film was released on August 5, 2009.

The Rise of Cobrais not your grandfather's G.I. Joe. It's more like C.G.I. Joe with explosive special-effects action sequences that provide the film with a surplus of "Boom Boom Pow" (to quote the Black Eyed Peas song that drives the end credits). This blast from the summer past is very much like the metal-munching nano-mite missiles a (literally) mad Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt cashing in some of his indie cred) and McCullen, a Scottish weapons dealer (Christopher Eccleston), threaten to unleash upon the world. It never stops. Ever. The original G.I. Joe action figure was an all-American hero. These Joes are--all together now--"the best of the best," an elite multi-national squad. Two soldiers, Duke (a buff Channing Tatum), an "on the ground, in the fight" kind of guy, and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), his wisecracking best friend, are rescued by the Joes after they are ambushed while transporting the missiles. These are no ordinary Joes. Snake-Eyes (Ray Park) is a ...
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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: August 07, 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: Nov. 3, 2009
Runtime: 118 Mins.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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