There must have been another series of screenings for critics, because a bevy of reviews have started showing up online in various places, and guess what? People love G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA. I know, I know…they must ALL be plants, right? They must all be in bed with the studios…there’s no possible way this many people could actually LIKE a film. It’s unpossible.
Well, so far, it’s getting some great buzz in the critics’ circles. The latest:
Everyone one of them says the same thing…great action, a brisk, well-paced plot, and awesome escapist fun. Can’t wait for next week! Full Reviews can be read after the “Read the rest of the story” link below!
From a G.I. JOE fanboy’s perspective.
First and foremost…
THE G.I. JOE MOVIE DOES NOT SUCK!
Thank Goodness. The movie is pure escapist fun and this summer’s best action film. I have been a die-hard G.I. JOE fanboy for well over 25 years. I got every single issue of the comic from Marvel, Devil’s Due, and IDW. Got some toys, totally dug the cartoon as a kid too and loved the recent G.I. JOE Resolute. I have also personally monitored the development of the film through all the drafts, even reviewed a couple here on the site and made some noise.
In a nutshell, the movie is a hybrid of both the cartoon and the comic.
My biggest concern was whether this film could make a dent with the target audience – the Harry Potter generation. Kellvin’s two sons Brandon and Austin (aged 12 and 14) and his daughter came with me to the screening. They never read a single issue of the comic, didn’t play with the toys, and knew nothing about the legend of Snake Eyes. Complete G.I. JOE virgins. Well, those kids are now fans! Like G.I. JOE captured my generation 25 years ago, the movie captures and creates a new generation of G.I. JOE fans.
During the screening I would look over to Brandon and Austin’s faces and be in awe of their sense of discovery. I was there myself so many years ago and wish I had this movie as a kid (I had to settle for MEGAFORCE). As Harry Knowles put it, this movie is made for the 12 year old boy in all of us.
There is so much about this movie that is so damn cool.
What I liked…
THE PIT – G.I. JOE headquarters. That elevator ride through the lower levels was like the panels from the Marvel comic come to life. So much cool tech and vehicles here.
Joseph Gordon Levitt – Actually he was my favorite thing of the movie, even over Snake Eyes! Without spoiling anything, here is a hint – he was channeling the late Chris Latta!
Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow – But of course. Complete badasses! They each have a high body count and the two kids in their flashback sequences were killer! I can write a dissertation on the whole Snake Eyes/Strom Shadow rivalry but in the film it works wonderfully!
The action – There are about four or five big action set pieces that are well put together and LOUD! My favorite was the first one when Duke and Ripcord have to escort the nanomite warheads and end up getting bum rushed by the very sexy Baroness. We even have a cool Blackhawk Downesque sequence involving Duke, Ripcord, and Levitt’s character.
Marlon Wayans – Yes folks he delivered. He wasn’t corny in the least.
The pacing/storytelling – In a summer full of two and a half hour movies, G.I. JOE is tightly plotted and tightly paced. Once it starts, it doesn’t let you go till the very end. It makes sense too. The good guys gotta stop the bad guys from using the macguffin device. In the cartoon, G.I. JOE always had some cool macguffin device. The Mass device, The Weather Dominator and now the Nanomite Warheads.
The tech – I totally dug the weapons, the vehicles, and the gadgets.
The uniform – Where do I get the G.I. JOE under armor shirt that Duke and Ripcord wore?
The CGI – was actually really good! Probably the reason why we didn’t see any footage earlier because from what I heard they were fine tuning this movie to the very end.
Sequel Setup – Zartan is up to something which will payoff obviously in the sequel. Nothing would make me happier than to see a trilogy of G.I. JOE films plus a Snake Eyes spinoff film. We got to see how Snake Eyes became a ninja, now we need to see how snake Eyes became a commando!
What I didn’t like? Minor stuff. The Snake Eyes mouth didn’t work for me and the suit was at times a tad rubbery. Also Cobra Commander’s squid face mask at the end of the film totally didn’t do it for me. They have to come up with a better idea for the sequel. Give him a hood or something.
But overall, it’s Stephen Sommer’s best film and work to date. Tonally, the film captures what G.I. JOE is all about and at times like it’s like the Marvel panels came to life.
I’m going to see this film at least another two times and I highly recommend that you check it out too.
I had a blast folks…
Hasta el proximo capitulo…
‘m not doing this as a regular review because readers cannot comment on our reviews for some odd reason. And heaven forbid if you guys aren’t able to tell me how much I suck.
Caution: There may be spoilers.
Tonight I saw a special screening of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I was really excited to see this movie. Just as excited as I was to see Transformers 2. But I also went in expecting a total fucking train wreck. And before any of you guys think I’m a plant, or that the studio is paying me to jack this movie up, know this – I do not pander to the studios. Remember, Paramount is releasing G.I. Joe and they’re the same guys who released Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a movie I spent 3,300 words shitting all over. So if Joe were to suck, I would tell you. I owe the studios nothing but honesty, and that’s one of the reasons why they picked me to go see this (Devin from CHUD was also there). They know I won’t bullshit them and that I’ll give honest feedback.
The MARS organization is the world’s 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. Baroness, Storm Shadow and Destro are trying to retrieve their nanobot warheads to use against the world, but the elite G.I. Joe team, joined by newcomers Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are out to stop them. That’s pretty much it. The rest is all action.
Ok, since I’m not doing this as a regular type review, I’ll just tell you what was good, what was bad and what needs work for the sequel:
How it relates to the cartoon: First off, if you liked the cartoon, this is the live action version of the cartoon. I had all the figures, the vehicles, the aircraft carrier, everything when I was a kid growing up. This movie is exactly how I imagined it would be when I was playing with these figures. Kids are going to love this flick. Why the hell couldn’t this have been made when I was 9 years old? I’m so jealous of you little bastards who get to see this through the eyes of a child. You are going to love it.
Cobra: I don’t think there’s a nice way to put this, but here goes – 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 tits.
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, Lorenzo, 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.
The 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.
Dialogue: Hey, it’s a movie based off of G.I. 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 Scarlett, didn’t work at all. Dump that shit in the sequel.
Please get rid of Marlon Wayans. He just doesn’t fit. He’s not funny, and there’s no chemistry between him and Scarlett.
Effects and Costumes: Some of the effects weren’t finished, which is going to effect my review of the movie. I know that they’re still working on them, and I hope they are, because 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.
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 Michael Bay 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. Here’s the thing about Stephen Sommers, you guys can rip on him all you want, but he directed some amazing action scenes in this movie. And you want to know what the difference is between him and Michael Bay? 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.
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 beaten with a two by four because I can’t imagine any kid not liking this. Paramount, you guys were promoting the wrong movie. While I’m not giving it the rating El Mayimbe did, 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. Maybe next time.
And for all of you bloggers who had been talking shit about a film you haven’t seen, you can kiss my ass. And you guys know who you are. 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 it’s 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 please do us fans a favor, put the fucking hood back on Cobra Commander. Thank you!
Capone is on board for G.I. JOE’s first mission and has a blast!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
I’ll admit it, I don’t get people sometimes, especially people who feel compelled to tear something down they haven’t even seen. Case in point: G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, a film that very tiny number of non-studio people on the whole planet have seen. You can now add one more person to that list. I guess what I don’t understand is why people seem so ready, giddy in fact, to see this movie be terrible and fail. Except for Harry’s rather enthusiastic review (which I will read for the first time in its entirety after I finish writing this), there has been no advance buzz on this film–positive or negative–generated by anyone who has actually seen it. Yes, the first trailer was terrible, but it’s hardly the first poorly cut trailer in the history of cinema. And I actually thought the second theatrical trailer was a much better effort and got me charged to see what the film was about.
I have zero stake in seeing this movie succeed. I don’t own stock in Paramount or Hasbro (as can be seen by my pretty scathing review of the recent TRANSFORMERS film), and I don’t know a single person personally who had a hand in making G.I. JOE. I heard all the same rumors as you did about the troubled production and post-production, about Stephen Sommers getting fired after the film tested ridiculously low (the testing portion of this story I know to be 100 percent false, by the way) and then rehired. I still don’t know if there’s any truth to the stories about Sommers, and you know what, I couldn’t give a shit. Plenty of very bad movies have been made under the best of circumstances, and loads of good movies have been made on tumultuous sets.
I saw G.I. JOE last week during my time in San Diego, and although I was given permission to post my thoughts immediately after seeing it, I decided Harry’s review would stand alone for a while and that I would post mine a little closer to its release date. But two things made me change my mind: the first was, I was beginning to suspect that the film would not be screened for critics; second, I saw an article in Wednesday’s USA Today that made me very angry. This is a non-story. There’s no actual news here, in fact. Look at how much of the article is the opinion of the writer, Anthony Breznican, disguised as fact. Read the piece carefully, and you’ll see that he is essentially speaking for the “fans” in his assessment of the film’s trailer and the anticipation level for the film. It’s a snarky piece of journalism that belongs in Us Weekly and not USA Today. The one aspect to the story that is correct is Breznican’s assessment that Paramount is keeping the film under wraps. Well, I’ve seen G.I. JOE and I’ll tell anyone that works for the studio that hiding this film is a whopper of a mistake that I hope isn’t too late to correct.
This is not going to be a glowing review of a flawless film. What this will be is a very good review of a movie that most critics will shit all over upon release because they didn’t get to see it early, and most audiences will devour with both hands. If I were the kind of critic that rated films on a 1- to 4-star scale, I’d give G.I. JOE a solid three stars. I’m not much of a fan of Big Dumb Action Movies; I don’t enjoy turning off my brain for any cinematic experience. And fortunately I didn’t have to to enjoy this movie. I was a regular viewer of the old “G.I. Joe” TV show, where this film seems to have gotten its basis, but if you’d asked me to name five characters from that show from memory before seeing the big-screen version, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. What I dug about the series had nothing to do with character development or intricate plot. I liked the missions, the colorful villains, the weapons, the technology, the special armored outfits for every occasion. I guess I was a bit of a military buff as a kid; I read a lot of Tom Clancy at the time as well. So shoot me. Either way, I don’t think I was particularly pre-disposed to like this movie. In all honesty, when I heard they were making it, I couldn’t have cared less. Director Sommers is also hit and miss in my book. I liked his earlier retellings of THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN and THE JUNGLE BOOK, and I was impressed with his sure-handedness on DEEP RISING and THE MUMMY. But everything since then has been underwhelming for me.
So what is there to like on G.I. JOE? Let’s start with the film’s most impressive asset: the cast. By hiring a group of actors who are actually pretty much across-the-board solid actors, they are able to rise above some of the dopey dialogue. Channing Tatum (A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS), Sienna Miller (FACTORY GIRL), an almost unrecognizable Joseph Gordon-Levitt (it doesn’t help that we don’t hear his actual voice for most of the film), Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Lost”), Rachel Nichols (STAR TREK), Marlon Wayans (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM), Jonathan Pryce, and Dennis Quaid all put in pretty impressive performances that kept me glued to some of the more outrageous scenarios and sequences. And weirdly enough, I think I spotted Brendan Fraser in one early scene. I’ve deliberately put down the titles of films next to some of the actors’ names, in case you have trouble recalling why I refer to them as solid actors. These aren’t necessarily the actors you’d expect to be in a movie like this; they’re actually better than who you’d expect.
My love of all things gadgetry was in no way disappointed. There is some truly cool stuff on display here from both the bad guys and the good. Beginning with a nano-technology-based missiles that can destroy anything and are being transported for safe keeping as the film opens, to massive military strongholds built under the desert and the polar ice cap, there are enough blinking lights, switches, big guns, and flying machines to keep everybody happy. The body armor in G.I. JOE looks like Robocop and Iron Man had hot monkey sex all night and gave birth to these metal suits. There are explosions, vehicle flipping around in the air, more explosions, and one chase scene after another. You will be thoroughly entertained by this movie that simply never lets up on the action. For the most part, I thought the effects were solid as well, far better than I thought they’d be given Sommers’ previous films (come on, the effects in VAN HELSING and the second MUMMY movie were god-awful).
As you might know, I’m kind of a stickler for plot, and one thing kept running through my head as I attempted to figure out the rather complex/sometimes convoluted plot of G.I. JOE: this film makes about as much sense to me as your average James Bond film, which is to say, I get most of it, and what I don’t get probably doesn’t matter anyway. As for my great love of some amount of character development, even in action movies, there actually is some in this movie. A few of the characters, including Baroness, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Duke, are given fairly interesting backstories, something I was not expecting and something I’d like more of from some of the other characters in future JOE installments (which are set up quite nicely at the end of this first in a clear franchise). I’m not going to go into the plot of G.I. Joe because there are a few surprises that I don’t want to bump against and ruin, but the film does indeed show us how COBRA was formed.
What’s not so good about G.I. JOE? Some of the so-called plot twists are particularly difficult to figure out, and so moments that are designed to be big revealed won’t exactly have you gasping for air in shock. Also, I was a little put off by Dennis Quaid’s performance. I’ve always gotten a kick out of having him around in just about any size role in any movie, but he is barely going through the motions as General Hawk, who barks out a few orders every so often but largely adds nothing to the proceedings. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate Marlon Wayans. While he does seem to take on the role of comic relief from time to time, he’s actually pretty great when it comes time for ass kicking. Your entire liking or not liking of G.I. JOE may come down to whether or not you like the nano-weaponry at the heart of the threat against the planet. I thought it was fairly scary stuff, and the destruction of Paris sequence is one of the film’s best.
Bottom line from me is that you shouldn’t be dreading G.I. JOE. I’m not going to rush out and see it again, as Harry’s headline indicates he will, but I will pay the film a serious compliment by saying I can’t wait to see where Sommers and the characters take us next. Here’s a crazy thought: actually go see the film before you decide whether or not to hop on the negativity bandwagon. There is a great deal to enjoy in this movie; if you don’t believe me, go see for yourself.
Stephen Sommers’ GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra manages to almost perfectly replicate the experience you had as a pre-teen playing with your action figures in the back yard. Like a kid banging his toys together and blowing them up with firecrackers, Sommers has made a movie that’s just a series of action set pieces strung together with a minimal amount of exposition, stopping only to catch his breath and to move the story along far enough to get to the next action set piece. And damn if it doesn’t work.
Watching GI Joe it’s impossible not to think ‘This should not work,’ but somehow it all does. Sommers really nails the tone perfectly – he’s created a kind of pop art madhouse, a movie whose lineage includes Danger: Diabolik (it’s important to note I’m not comparing quality here), Flash Gordon and maybe a visit from the straight faced aspects of the Roger Moore James Bond. The silliness inherent in the concept is embraced – GI Joe is a multinational team with a miles deep secret base in the desert, a resident ninja, a fleet of subs and planes and helicopters and suits of power armor that they only bother to use once. Sommers thankfully resists the urge to grit the film up, but he also usually resists the urge to wink too broadly at the audience; more than once GI Joe plays like a parody of itself but mostly the film understands that we’re all in on it and just proceeds from there.
There are a couple of things that Sommers gets very right, and a few that he gets very wrong. Perhaps his smartest move was hiring fairly good actors for roles that don’t really require so much acting. Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Christopher Eccleston, Jonathan Pryce, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller – these are actors who bring a certain amount of class and reality even to characters based on a toy line, and while none of them are in danger of being accused of serious thespianism in this film, they’re all having fun while keeping the film grounded in enjoyable characters.
Sommers next best move was knowing how to shoot action scenes (especially since they make up 70% of the film’s running time). Unlike this summer’s travesty Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, GI Joe clues the viewer in on the geography of action scenes, it allows us to follow the choreography and it generally lets us know what the fuck is going on. It’s a sad statement on action movies today when I get excited that a movie allows me to see who is hitting who. The action scenes in GI Joe are almost uniformly excellent, starting with the first – a real-world special ops team futilely battles against the science-fantasy forces of Cobra – and going throughout. The standout is the car chase through the streets of Paris; the amount of damage and death in this sequence is stunning; GI Joe shows a casual disregard for human life that would make Bad Boys II upset. Sommers makes the scenes distinct, and the film takes us from aerial battles to undersea battles (with the physics of space battles, and with shots and action stolen from sources like Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars) to all kinds of one on one fighting. The movie even features flashbacks to the youth of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, and has little kids beating the shit out of each other with nunchucks! That alone makes the film worth seeing, in my opinion. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the action is that Sommers keeps it up throughout; only in the film’s final minutes do you start to feel action fatigue, and that’s because you’ve spent fifteen minutes in a multi-front major battle that would wear anyone out.
I really appreciated the fact that each action scene has moments for each of the main Joes; too often in a team movie like this the hero steps up front while everybody else seemingly watches him, but Sommers and screenwriters Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett make sure that each of the Joes has something to do in any given action scene, even if it’s just Breaker shouting into a headset. This really crystallizes in the final battle, which keeps everybody busy in believable, exciting ways.
The plot, such as it is, resembles that of the original cartoon. Motivations seem to boil down to being good or being bad, and I don’t fully get the roundabout aspects of what arms dealing, super weapon creating baddie Destro is trying to accomplish. Then again, he’s essentially a Bond villain on steroids, and over-elaborate plans with multiple opportunities to be defeated are a hallmark of his ilk. The film has a number of reveals, each more obvious than the last, but eventually that becomes part of the fun. GI Joe is riddled with employees who have tight, personal bonds with the enemy, and nobody seems to mind.
But those tight, personal bonds never overwhelm the film’s resounding desire to keep shooting guns and blowing things up. Watching the Comic Con trailer for Sony’s 2012 I lamented that while a film as filled with money shots as that trailer would be amazing, the real movie will be filled with mind-numbing domestic drama. GI Joe has no patience for that sort of shit, and is content to be constantly ramping up to or quickly cooling down from money shots. And many of the money shots are really violent – heads are pierced, exploded, and chopped off. Hundreds, if not thousands, die (just barely) off screen, while dozens upon dozens of Cobra guys (or I guess proto-Cobra guys, as the terrorist group only becomes Cobra at the end) meet their maker at the hands, bullets, shuriken, blades and other explosives of our heroes. There’s not much by way of blood, but Sommers has taken the gloves off and delivered the kind of serious ass-kicking PG-13 movie we haven’t seen in a while.
Sadly he also delivers the cartoony CGI we have come to expect from him. Some shots in the print I saw tonight looked frankly unfinished, and I hope for his sake that’s the case. But even many obviously finished shots looked pretty terrible. Contextually the unreality of some of the FX shots worked for me – Sommers has made a big cartoon, and looking cartoony isn’t that big of a sin – but too many scenes were muted due to overly obvious, cheap CG effects.
And while Sommers has done some excellent casting (double props for hiring the stunningly hot Rachel Nichols to play Scarlett, by the way), he also partially dropped the ball. Marlon Wayans isn’t just irritating as comic relief Ripcord, he’s downright unbelievable in the role. Every time Wayans opened his mouth I cringed; thankfully the movie rarely spends too much time on his unfunny bon mots and just keeps pumping along to the next explosion or crash.
Is GI Joe: Rise of Cobra the kind of silly fun you’ll like? The litmus test, I think, comes when Duke and Ripcord, two new GI Joe recruits, are introduced to the team’s secret underground lair, The Pit. As they take an elevator down through the many, many levels of the facility, all sorts of ‘daily life for GI Joe’ scenes take place, ranging from guys rappelling randomly into the shot, explosions going off to a giant firing range lake (and the glass encased sub facility beneath it). This scene feels like panels from the Larry Hama GI Joe comic come to life (very literally, as this sequence also appeared in the comic), but it’s so silly and so over the top and so much about what a 9 year old might think would be in the cool underground base of a group like GI Joe that it sums up the entire movie.
If I was 10 years old, GI Joe would be one of the best movies I had ever seen. As a grown up it’s one of the better summer movies; a delightfully light, fun and action-packed kick in the ass.
8.5 out of 10