G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

In the center of the image are the titles and credits. Above them, in front of a brown background with orange flames and "Evil never looked so good" in red letters, a man in a hooded white suit holding a sword, a woman wearing sunglasses and a leather suit holding two guns, a masked man in battle fatigues holding a rifle, and a scarred man wearing a mask that covers his face below the eye. Below, against a blue background and blue flames, with "When all else fails, they don't" in blue letters, a man in a black bodysuit with a visor in his face holding a sword, and two men and women in leather suits holding guns.Cobra rising

An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.

Before going into my review, I feel I have to say that I did not follow any of the G.I. Joe franchise as a child, due to the fact I lived in Britain, where we got Action Man instead, so I only know the bare basics of G.I. Joe thanks to pop-culture references used (My thanks go to Family Guy and Robot Chicken) I'm saying this to let you know that I'll be judging the film by it's merits alone, not as an adaptation of a beloved action figure franchise.

At no point in the running time does the acting rise above being merely alright, but much of the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Channing Tatum is an alright lead, not strong but not weak, whilst Marlon Wayans's weaknesses are shown as he attempts comedy, in an attempt which makes us almost forget about how great he actually was in Requiem For A Dream. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is barely recognizable in his role as the Cobra Commander, and despite not being able to see his mouth move, you can constantly see him chew the scenery throughout the movie. Christopher Eccleston manages to be hamming it up throughout his entire screentime, whilst delivering one of the biggest problems about this film, the dodgy accent.

I like that the film tries to be diverse by having characters who aren't just American, but instead also having those of Scottish, British and French descent. The problem here is the film tries to prove it's diverse through giving the characters dodgy accents rather than actually having actors with the natural accents, or at least the ability to pull off the accents like they're real. The story is very thin, basically being G.I. Joes trying to stop Cobra from using the nanomites to destroy the world. the dialogue is the epitome of the word generic. A character even says the "you and what army?" line, which is pretty much the most generic line there is in the human vocabulary.

There are attempts to develop many of the characters and their backstories all throughout, but they all manage to feel rushed and unsatisfactory, while the relationships between the characters, be they biological, romantic or past history, all manage to feel very forced, especially due to the little chemistry the characters have with each other.. A lot of the character dialogue tries to be humorous, but this leaves us feeling like the characters are snarky as hell than actually funny, but the fact that the humor wasn't actually funny doesn't help. The last act of the film seems more focused upon setting things up for the sequel that's officially coming, which is a weakness in that it doesn't see to wrapping up the actual storyline of this film, but it also manages to be a strength as it's intention is to make people want to see the sequel, and it made me want to one day catch the sequel on telly.

The one character with no cliched dialogue,
and he's awesome for it

G.I. Joe really feels like the type of film Michael Bay would do, only without the objectification of women that Bay is known for, especially on his Transformers films. There's loads of explosions, casual swearing unnecessarily dropped into dialogue and pretty bad attempts at comedy through the generic dialogue and the physical comedy that gets old fast. With that said, G.I. Joe manages to have some good CGI and also some good action, but neither are as good as the Transformers film, because this film doesn't have anything which really matches giant robots beating the hell out of each other, but the CG and action are still good.

Despite the bad acting, thin plot, awful accents, cliched dialogue and bad attempts at fleshing out the characters, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a fairly enjoyable action flick which boasts great CGI, good action scenes and likable characters. You're more likely to enjoy this one if you enjoyed Michael Bay's Transformers flicks. If you hate those films with a passion, though, this isn't the film for you.


Chad Hill said…
Great review. Not a huge fan of this one though, despite liking two of the three transformers films. I agree on the awful script and attempts at comedy, it all falls flat for me.
Myerla said…
I saw this in the cinema a few years back. Back in the days where my interest was not so great. I remember enjoying it, especially the 'The French are rather upset' scene concerning the Eiffel Tower
James Rodrigues said…
@The Chad Reviews Fair enough, I can understand why people don't like this film. I guess i'm just pretty easy to entertain

@Myerla yeah, that scene was okay.
Anonymous said…
Yes, this was an enjoyable action movie but not much more. I've seen it at the cinema and only ca remember the action sequence where they jump through the tram. Forgettable fun.