It’s no surprise after the box office success of the Transformers series that Hasbro would be itching to bring it’s other big toy line to the big screen. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has arrived. While it isn’t great it does have the element of surprise and fun that the first Transformers film was successful at. This is the first time we get to see these toys on the big screen and Sommers packs enough action in that we are able to have a fun time with the film.
Stephen Sommers, who hasn’t made anything worthwhile since The Mummy, brings his stylistic campiness to the film and it works in his favor. The story revolves around key Joe characters Duke (Channing Tatum) and his partner Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) protecting a very dangerous weapon created by an evil mastermind and it just screams campiness. It is easy to deal with though because partnered with the campiness we get a few well-done action sequences.
Even during the moments when the film goes into unnecessary back story for some of the characters it is still a bit of a rush. Unfortunately, you can spot every plot twist coming a mile away – understandable but still unacceptable. It is nice that the trailer didn’t give away as much as I thought it did though. The story is about as deep as you would expect from a G.I. Joe movie and Sommers.
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It’s a shame that certain characters weren’t developed further. Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) for example, had a difficult childhood because of her father but this is never explored deeper than the initial conversation. We do however get a very deep back story for the classic Joe character Snake Eyes (Raymond Park). Snake Eyes – who is probably the best part of the film – was portrayed perfectly. His action sequences are mind blowing and are one of the main reasons why the film doesn’t fall flat on it’s face.
The actors in the film are very aware of the campy factor and work with it instead of against it. Christopher Eccleston who played the film’s main villain Destro is fully aware that his dialog is cheesy as all hell but embraces it and by doing so actually makes it somewhat believable. Another great example of the actor embracing the cheesiness of the film is Dennis Quaid, playing team leader General Hawk. Although his character is absent for the entire second act of the film he still manages to show the audience a good time with some quick one liners and a decent – though extremely short – fight sequence. I wish Quaid had more screen time but the story was meant to focus on Duke and Ripcord.
Perhaps the most upsetting part of the film is the ending. I won’t go into detail about it, but I will say that it is lackluster at best. The film goes from an action level of 9 to 0 in less than a frame. Everything is quickly wrapped up in a neat little bow but you are left with a lot of questions. It really felt like the writers ran out of ideas or the studio didn’t want the film to go over 2 hours.
As expected the CG isn’t great by any means. It certainly isn’t “state of the art” as producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated it was. It’s a mixed bag of horrible and decent. At times it does work and allows the film to make the impossible possible. As seen in the invincibility suit for example. The best CG moments are the ones where it isn’t dominant. In other scenes, like the Paris sequence that is seen in all the ads, the CG takes you out of the moment. It is almost laughable at certain points how poor it is.
Sommers created a campy world with fairly decent action and back story but not much else. The film is a fun little ride with enough eye candy to make Megan Fox blush. It is worth a matinee showing for sure. I do want a sequel because the ending just leaves me feeling incomplete but I fear that it will suffer the same fate that Transformers 2 did. When the second G.I. Joe comes around don’t be surprised if you get very lackluster film that is nothing more than a rehash of this one. This film is a 10-year-old’s wet dream and works within those fine lines.
6 out of 10
What did you think of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra?