Movie: "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Writing credits: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett
Plot: An elite international military organization takes on arms dealer James McCullen, while a terrorist organization named Cobra consolidates its power behind the scenes.
Review: Against all my better judgment, I went to see G.I.JOE: The Rise of Cobra on opening weekend, and after seeing the trailers and ricockulously bad character design of Cobra Commander, I was prepared for a sucktastic (but hopefully funny) film. After being assaulted by the steaming, maggot infested pile of shit that was Transformers two years prior, I was braced for the worst, and I must admit that I left the movie feeling hurt, scared, and a little confused. Because I actually kind of liked it.
Yes, that's right. I kind of liked the G.I.JOE movie. And that's not all, everyone in the small group I could wrangle to see it liked it too. Some of them are harsher critics than I am, and we all went in expecting, no, wanting to hate it.
Let's get one thing clear right off the bat. This is a stupid, stupid movie. There's so much stupid in this movie that it can do serious permanent damage to your IQ if you're not careful. The science is stupid, the technology is stupid, many of the situations the characters find themselves are stupid...but, it's also kind of fun (a quality that Transformers was utterly lacking).
I know that some of you are going to wonder why I keep comparing the two franchises--I mean, "apples and oranges", right? Not really. These two franchises are close cousins that will always be closely associated in my mind, partly because they came out around the same time, partly because the shows ran back to back on weekday afternoons, and partly because they've had numerous crossovers between them. They also consisted of large ensemble casts of colorful characters usually based around a single interesting gimmick. They're also the first two major toylines to receive big budget movies (the old Masters of the Universe wasn't exactly rolling in dough). So the comparisons are inevitable, and when you stack them next to each other, one thing is abundantly clear: G.I.JOE: The Rise of Cobra is the vastly superior of the two live-action films. I loved both of the cartoons, comics and toy lines equally as a kid too, so I'm not biased either way.
The movie dips us into the action right off the bat, and I liked that the G.I.JOE team was already firmly established. We didn't waste forty minutes on the unnecessary exercise of explaining the origins of the team--instead we are introduced to the established group through the eyes of new recruits Duke and Ripcord. This movie is all about the emergence of Cobra, which I felt they handled fairly well, all things considered.
There are some inevitable changes to some of the characters that may bother some of you quite a bit. Without getting too spoilery, Baroness and Duke (and by association another character but I will not mention who it is here) have a connected past that some people aren't going to like, but what bothered me a lot more than that was her utter lack of an accent. Visually however she was dead on. Cobra Commander's origin is different from the cartoon and the comic both, but when the cartoon origin involves Cobra-La, that's not really a bad thing. Destro is pretty much exactly the same (apart from how he gets his mask, but more on that later). Ripcord went from white to black, but they actually bothered to give him a personality this time. Duke isn't quite as boring as he used to be. Zartan is there, but doesn't wear that ridiculous hood/hairdo/do-rag/towel on his head and speak with a bizarrely unexplained echo. Scarlett has a romance with Ripcord instead of Snake-Eyes (it would have been too weird in the movie anyway). And most importantly of all, yes, Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow were both handled pretty well. Visually they looked great, the fights were well choreographed, and though some of you may have an issue with Storm Shadow using a handgun (in one scene), I will remind you that in the Marvel comics the guy fought alongside Snake-Eyes in Vietnam, and was seen firing his rifle all over the place. So it's not like he refuses to use guns, they're just not his style (which was also the case in the film--he only used the gun once, when it was the best option for the job), so they weren't untrue to his character there.
A lot of the other things in the trailer that concerned me were mercifully not widely present in the movie. Those retarded "accelerator suits", for example, are only in one scene. It was a decently entertaining action scene, but the suits made it completely absurd and were utterly unnecessary to the movie. Cobra Commander's awful, terrible, wretched excuse for a mask was literally in the film for about five seconds, at the very end (and hopefully with enough negative fan feedback, it won't be in the sequel). His voice was much better before he put it on, by the way. Destro's "nanite" mask is one of the dumber ideas in the movie, again, only present at the very end (and they did at least pay homage to the proper origins of the Destro mask prior to that), and though it just looks silly, it is very true to the cartoon to give him a metal face that moves. Oh, and those of you upset about how they left things with the Baroness--don't worry, I'm sure things will be back to status quo in the sequel.
The dialog was cheesy in a lot of places, but the tongue-in-cheek lines referring to the old 1960s Joe toy line made me chuckle, the "knowing is half the battle" made me laugh out loud, and the winking reference to Breaker and his omnipresent bubble gum made me smile.
I guess you could make the same argument here for how they "raped" a lot of the characters that I made against Transformers, but I didn't really get the sense that they made random changes just for the hell of it--everything they altered served the story, and actually made sense. Though initially I was worried that the characters looked too similar, being dressed in identical black suits, in the chaotic combat scenes I had no difficulty telling who was who, or in fact, what was going on (one of my biggest complaints with Transformers). Sure, I miss the colorful, unique outfits on the old cartoon, but do I really expect them to faithfully reproduce some of those ridiculous get-ups in the live-action movie? Of course not, but maybe next time they can meet us halfway and give them each a bit of individual flair. In the end, I think it just comes down to me like Stephen Sommers as a filmmaker more than Michael Bay. His Mummy movies were also cheesy, with some bad CGI and goofy dialog, but they were undeniably fun (well, the first one anyway)--a trait that Michael Bay doesn't seem to be able to capture so easily.
I'm actually looking forward to the sequel, now that the core players of both teams have been firmly established. Here's hoping that next time we see some Dreadnoks, Tomax and Xamot, Flint and Lady Jaye, and most importantly of all, my favorite character: Shipwreck.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
|Spoilers!||They had a titanic battle underneath Hoth between A wing shaped submarines that were trying to stop the death star/underwater base from shooting it's big laser. Dude even says as they are heading towards the enemy "Get into attack position!" = "Lock S Foils into attack position". !!! There is also plenty of good guy submarines that get shot and crash into the giant underwater base while screaming.
Then, when Duke and Baroness are escaping they get attacked by enemy subs, so Baroness hops into the rotating laser gun built in the back and shoots them down. Duke says "Great shot!" = "Great shot kid that was one in a million". Also, when the place explodes their ship manages to shoot out from the explosion at the very last minute a la Millenium Falcon after it destroys the Death Star II.
When Storm Shadow was fighting Snake Eyes he just HAS to pop his two swords together to create a DOUBLE SWORD like Darth freaking Maul. SERIOUSLY!
Cobra Commander even has a 'gaze at my true face' moment like Darth Vader.
Follow us on:
Want Your Ad Here?
Send us an email!