Friday, August 14, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

If you're fan a fan of G.I. Joe- either the series or the comics, you'll hate this movie. Neither characters nor plot stay true to the original universe. If you're not a fan of G.I. Joe- there's really no reason for you to see this movie. It's a sorry excuse for a Summer blockbuster (though blockbuster it is indeed). After rising to action prominence with The Mummy and its sequel, Stephen Sommers piloted this movie- his first one after the abysmal Van Helsing. Clearly G.I. Joe will not help that reputation.

The movie is sort of an origin story both for the Cobra (essentially G.I. Joe's legion of Doom) and Duke (Channing Tatum) perhaps the most well known G.I. Joe. The M.A.R.S corporation has created a nanotech weapon, capable of propagating itself and eating through all metal on an unstoppable rampage. Clearly not a good idea. But he manages to sell some of the weapons to NATO, so Duke and his intrepid partner, Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are charged with transporting them. Of course, they're intercepted by the Cobra, led by The Baroness (Sienna Miller)- Duke's old fiancee. Ripcord, Duke, and the weapons are rescued by the Joes, and after an obligatory montage, the duo join the elite force- none too soon. Because, of course, the Cobra are back.

Now this movie is naturally nothing more than a barrage of visual effects, with a loosely constructed plot to showcase them in the best possible way. The problem with this is that the movie doesn't do a very good job of setting up this effects heavy universe- so when the phenomenal action sequences do appear, they seem out of place. I mean seriously, accelerator suits? I imagine th story session that came up with this idea went something like "hey, let's do a car chase, except on foot!" Don't get me wrong, it looks cool, but they used it so sparingly that it doesn't make much sense. Really this movie is no more absurd than Transformers. But the reason Transformers worked is that they set up the world to be like this- whereas G.I. Joe just through these elements into a world that's pretty much supposed to be ours.

There are a lot of characters in this movie, both good guys and bad guys. And it seems they wanted to explore the back stories to all of them (of course none of them meshing with the comic or cartoon). The result is a cursory introduction, including poorly constructed relationships, mind control devices, and end of movie twists in place for the sole purpose of allowing for a sequel.

G.I. Joe does deliver on the effects, and for $170 million it certainly should. Unfortunately there's really no point to them. This poorly constructed movie I'm sure has left many disappointed.


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