G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)- Dir. Stephen Sommers- 118 min- USA
WRITER’S NOTE: Sorry, I watched this a while and well…life just caught up with me. Good thing the internet provides me with whatever movies I want! This is pretty much irrelevant at this point, but whatever, gotta finish what I started!
So I usually don’t like watching bad movies. Why would I want to waste my money? Which is why I probably won’t be doing many bad reviews. But when I get the chance, I’ll suffer through the wackness in order to unload a heavy dose of internal frustration.
With that said, I got the chance to watch G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra at the theaters for free. I was willing to spend money on this one out of childhood loyalty, but the folks who I was going to watch it with couldn’t anymore and the initial reviews were pretty bad. Not Transformers 2 bad, but still bad.
Hype for G.I. Joe started with its 30 second spot during this past Super Bowl:
I have to admit, I was transported back to my childhood when I saw that clip of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I was very excited. But I had to quickly temper my excitement and bring it back down to Earth: somehow, they were going to screw this up. We live in the era of the Michael Bay-type of blockbuster movie. Basically movies that suck, but have a lot of explosions. G.I. Joe is the perfect candidate to follow this trend. Hell, I’m surprised Michael Bay didn’t direct this (maybe the special effects would have been better).
To get straight to the point: it wasn’t good. Definitely not worth spending the $6 for the first matinee screening at a Century theater. More worth it to find it online and watch it for free. But on my scale of wackness, it wasn’t as bad as Transformers 2.
The good: Low expectations help beat disappointment! Had pretty low ones coming into this. Um…they kept some of the trademark catch phrases. Yeah ok, I’m stretching here. Oh! Sienna Miller looked good as the Baroness:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought an interesting element to Cobra Commander. Glad he didn’t try and copy the cartoon voice. Explosions always look cool on a big screen. Snake Eyes…well, he always was kick ass. Ray Park did him justice (him not talking helped a lot). Nanomites are kinda interesting…
What?! I think they are…
Lastly, sometimes you just have to appreciate movies that you know aren’t good, but for some reason find a spot in your heart. You know, like a guilty-pleasure movie. I didn’t hate this movie so much as I kinda felt bad it sucked. Yeah, some movies play that sympathy card with me.
The bad: Where do I start?
Acting: not so good. Channing Tatum isn’t much of an actor and made Duke seem like nothing but a bland muscle head. Christopher Eccleston who played Destro had an overblown Scottish accent. Everybody else: eh. I didn’t get much out of their performances. If you felt differently, please let me know what I missed.
Special effects: I thought they were going to be a lot better. If there’s anything to say about this summer’s blockbuster season is that the special effects bar got a lot higher. G.I. Joe didn’t give us anything new, thus got overshadowed by the other films. Some of the landscape shots looked cheesy.
Storyline/ plot: My biggest beef with this movie. Look, I understand having these films stand on their own and shouldn’t cut and paste from previous stories. Deviating from established truths should be done ONLY to make the story better. But the sharp deviation from the established canon, like with the Transformers franchise, shows an utter lack of respect towards the fans who’ve been supporting the G.I. Joe franchise for decades. What it says to us: we don’t care about you nor do we need you to support us (guess that was pretty apparent by their lack of presence at Comic-Con). The background story for almost every character was lame and made no common sense. Duke and the Baroness were actually engaged?! Cobra Commander and the Baroness are related?! Destro is some old ass, crusty looking dude?! Scarlett and Ripcord hook up?! STORM SHADOW DIES!!!??!?!! I’m sorry, but as a longtime fan, I cannot accept this. I’m all about continuity.
Plot holes: There were a lot. The one I loved the most was how they figured out how it was Destro who reactivated the tracking device to the nanomite missiles. Even though they had no reason to not believe him, nothing in the story that set up the Joes thinking Destro would betray them, they somehow figured out he gave them a code to activate the tracking device. Come on, I’m not stupid. I like my scenes set up, not thrown at me.
The Duke and Baroness Match Up: I think the big thing that bothered me about this is what both characters represent. Duke represents the ‘All-American’, blond-haired, Captain of the Football Team, patriotic, military guy. Those were the kinds of guys who would pick on us nerds! I hate them! The Baroness represented something else. Not just because she was on the ‘bad side’, but as a woman who made the conscious decision to do what she did. She also wore glasses which challenged the idea that glasses were ugly. Dis-empowering her decision by saying that it was all a scheme by her brother and nanomites is pretty offensive and takes a lot away from the character. Then having the all-American boy save her is a storyline you’d see pre-1960s and reinforces traditional norms and ideas. It’s insulting and offensive.
I could go on more, but let’s keep it at that. Overall, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen all summer. Plus, you should come in with very low standards. Even then, it’s not very good. But you have to appreciate it was it is. The most obvious set up for a sequel I’ve seen in a longtime. Why have a first movie in the first place?
I’d rather: watch my real guilty-pleasure movie, Armageddon, five straight times. Then if I need my G.I. Joe fix, I’d watch the cartoon.