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

G.I. Joe

Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller

Recruiting only the world’s most elite soldiers, a team known only as G.I. Joe utilizes the latest in military technology to effectively combat terrorism and the like. With global destruction looming heavily on the horizon, General Hawk and his renowned team of “Joes” are called into action to prevent and possibly eliminate the existing threat. The source? A corrupt international arms dealer and his questionable collaboration with Cobra: a mysterious organization hellbent on turning the world into a cesspool of death and disaster.

I truly hope that someday soon, something clicks in the heads of those who believe live-action movies based on an extensive line of toys will amount to something spectacular. Using the most recent Transformers debacle as a very appropriate example, the production of such garbage has effectively tarnished my overall opinion of the beloved cartoon series and the toys it was based on, and oh happy day, Hollywood’s done it again with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra! This in mind, I present to you a film that possesses such a gratuitous amount of general silliness, even die hard fans of Hasbro’s beloved franchise will have a hard time stomaching it.

Where to begin? Well for starters, the writing and direction are equally to blame for how bad the film turned out in the long run, seeing as how the powers that be found it appropriate to integrate a ridiculous, convoluted romance subplot involving two of the main characters. As if this wasn’t enough, Sommers and the gang felt the need to piss everything characteristic of the classic cartoon series and comics away in favor of equipping our favorite Joes with bionic suits. Yes, that’s right, bionic suits that when donned, effectively “accelerate” the overall performance of the soldiers in question, contradicting the purpose the original Joes were supposed to serve in the first place.

Several incomprehensible plot elements later, we’re introduced to some seriously inconsistent, lackluster CGI and sub par performances. Failed attempts at flashiness aside, how in the world can Channing Tatum be considered an actor when everything he says or yells is inexplicably monotone and coincides with the one facial expression he’s capable of showing us? Needless to say, his portrayal of Duke is abysmal, and not even Wayans’ wisecracking yet ultimately stereotypical Ripcord can counteract this thanks once again to the more than questionable script. What really managed to irk me in this regard was that both Gordon-Levitt and Quaid thought this was good career move, despite the latter’s less than favorable reputation in some cases and a hefty paycheck for all involved. Oh well.

When it comes down to it, the only redeeming quality G.I. Joe has is that of the sometimes passable action sequences. Yes, the CGI is still trash, but you can’t deny the appeal of two highly-skilled ninjas having it out right in front of you. The excess of explosions is arguably hit-or-miss, and aside from that, this film is nothing short of a travesty. So, with all that being said, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra will either please fans of the franchise or thoroughly disgust them via some terrible acting and equally despicable writing and direction. Although it’s hard to deny the lure of yet another flashy summer blockbuster, please try your best to stay away from this one folks and save your hard-earned money.

Rating: 3/10

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