Movie: "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra"
Year: 2009
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Writing credits: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 8/10/2009

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Aug 11th, 2009, 03:02 AM
I switched my brain off. It was good. Ms Nichols is hawt and Eccleston is the Destro of my dreams. But had problems with brainwashing aspects. Also missed the individual uniforms. Oh well, it was as good a treatment as an nostalgic toy commercial could get I suppose.
Forum Virgin
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:55 AM
The blazing unstoppable idiocy of the film is unquestionable. Even my die hard Transformers\Gi Joe\Anything 80's friends agree. And they LOVED Transformers 2. Farting robots and all.

We agreed it was, for sure, fun as hell all things considered.

The Baroness\Duke crap pissed me right off though. New story or not it was useless. The starting romance was fine but how it ended and it's trip there was just a headache.
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:11 AM
I would like to go see this. I should do that soon.
Forum Virgin
Aug 11th, 2009, 07:30 AM
I might see this now based on your review...
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:22 AM
Haven't gone yet, but it sounds like as long as I cjeck my brain at the door it will be worth a look. That's good news.

And I liked Zartan's bizarrely unexplained echo :P
aint nobody
Aug 11th, 2009, 01:43 PM
didn't really care for it outside of a few things
Amicable Herculean
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:48 PM
I enjoyed it very much.
Pickled Patriarch
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:23 PM
I just can't pay money to go see a movie that features a Kid Rock song in the trailer (and, as Dr. Boogie pointed out, the always annoying Marlon Wayans). I'll see it for free when it eventually comes out on cable. My only interest in the movie is seeing Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes duke it out (Ray Park is always fun to watch), and I'm glad they didn't fuck with the look of their costumes much like they did with some of the other characters.
The Mighty One
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:04 PM
Originally Posted by Purple Man View Post
I switched my brain off. It was good.
You really shouldn't say that on this site: http://www.i-mockery.com/visionary/t...-brain-off.php

Anyway, I'll check out the movie this Friday. At the very least it's shorter than Transformers/2, so it's got them beat there. Plus, you don't argue with Ninja fights.
aint nobody
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:33 PM
saw Transformers ROTF earlier,GI Joe was less stupid and didn't drag but they're both pretty bad

have zero hope for the Thundercats movie being any good at all
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:21 PM
"You really shouldn't say that on this site: http://www.i-mockery.com/visionary/t...-brain-off.php"

LUlz - I forgot about that.
the axe and the smasher
Aug 11th, 2009, 10:04 PM
For the most part I was happy with this movie. Sure some of the changes in origins and characters relationships I could have done without, however for the most part I really enjoyed myself.
Last of the Time Lords
Aug 11th, 2009, 11:41 PM
I'll go see it this weekend. I just know I'm going to be upset by the Baroness' lack of an accent (why else would I have been in love with her when I was five?), but having CHRISTOPHER AWESOME ECCLESTON as Destro will probably make up for it.
Aug 12th, 2009, 04:25 AM
I've been having my misgivings about going to see this, mostly due to trailers I've seen featuring Marlon Waynes. The trailer I saw featuring Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes *did* make me want to go see it, hence my being torn. I suppose I'll catch it once it hits the dollar theater around here or if I can catch a matinee.

Although I say "Boo! Hiss!" to them mucking up the Scarlett/Snake-Eyes pairing but I'd rather have it not be there than seem forced.
Ultimate Buzzkill
Aug 12th, 2009, 06:00 PM

Hollywood needs to lay off all this raping of my childhood for a quick buck. What's next, Care Bears rendered in CGI with cybernetic limbs and laser beam eyes that make things explode in fiery conflagration?
The Goddamned Batman
Aug 12th, 2009, 06:04 PM
Originally Posted by Marthaeus Autolykos View Post
What's next, Care Bears rendered in CGI with cybernetic limbs and laser beam eyes that make things explode in fiery conflagration?
That would be kind of awesome, actually.
Last of the Time Lords
Aug 12th, 2009, 11:51 PM
That's the only way I would ever watch a Care Bears movie. Get on the horn with Michael Bay now. It's high time he started making up for Transformers.
Aug 13th, 2009, 12:00 AM
I just came back from seeing it and I really enjoyed it, which really surprised me. It was a thoroughly ridiculous action movie and it never pretended to be anything else. Stephen Sommers knew what we wanted (lots and lots of action) and delivered just that. Cobra's plot is flat out ridiculous and poorly thought out, but so was every single of their plots from the old cartoon, so in that sense I'd say that they nailed it.

Probably the only thing I had a problem with was Cobra Commander. He was awesome in the cartoon cause they never bothered to tell us anything about his origin (and when they finally did, it sucked a 10 foot dick). This movie should had kept a larger air of mystery about him... and the origin they went with doesn't make a whole lot of sense anyway. And his mask at the end...fucking stupid!
Amicable Herculean
Aug 13th, 2009, 12:57 PM
Not giving Shipwreck a parrot is considered rape
Aug 13th, 2009, 06:57 PM
I haven't seen it, and like pickleman I don't intend to see it until it comes out for free. The problem I have with it and pretty much every other movie remake is that they changed ANYTHING. Why do they change anything at all? Is it too much to ask to make it IDENTICAL to the cartoon, the comic book or a combination of both? I mean the original obviously made a butt-load of money so why fix something that isn't broken?

The best adaption movie of all time is Mortal Kombat and there is a reason for that. They changed virtually NOTHING about the franchise. Characters looked identical, fighting was identical, plot was identical. And it did really well considering it's non-existant budget. So I'm sorry, but I refuse to compromise even an inch. I want the Joes in their ridiculous outfits, I want trouble bubbles, I want metal face shield, cobra-la, spat wearing cobra commander, and I want a plot that would fit right in with the already established gijoe universe.

And most importantly I want a WAYNES FREE experience. Putting him in there is the equivelent of putting Anthony Anderson in transformers... completely unnecessary and ultimately distracting from the feel of the movie.

Transformers is suffering from this syndrome as well. Take the original Bay movie, replace the cube with the matrix of leadership, replace a few hundred years with a few million years, bring back the Arc and decepticon ship, use the original g1 designs (and voices/personality) rename sam and michalia to spike and carlee and change NOTHING about the plot and you've essentially got the pilot episode to transformers. So why not just make the pilot episdoe of transformers?

This has gotten me pissed off again.... I'm going to leave now and kick random objects/people for a few hours to calm down.

I just wanted you all to know.

Well now you know and knowing is half the battle.
Amicable Herculean
Aug 13th, 2009, 08:37 PM
Thanks Howard, I needed a good laugh.
Aug 13th, 2009, 09:18 PM
"Is it too much to ask to make it IDENTICAL to the cartoon, the comic book or a combination of both?"

The Goddamned Batman
Aug 13th, 2009, 11:48 PM
If you made it a combination of both the cartoon and the comic, it would be identical to neither.
Ba dum dum dum dum
Aug 14th, 2009, 10:55 AM
C'mon, if they have to live action something, they should be doing Mighty Max. Thankfully the villain would already be cast (Tim Curry, greatest villain voice ever), but I have no idea who you could actually cast as Max...

I'd almost be tempted to say Jason Statham as Norman... whoever plays Snape would be a good voice for Vergil...
The #1 My Little Pony
Aug 14th, 2009, 09:50 PM
I'm too afraid to go see it. It's bad enough that so many of my favorite things are getting re-booted, and "re-imagined" to the point where I just want to poke my eyes out with a curling iron, but now... after so long of dreaming, we finally get a G. I. Joe.... and it looks like THAT? I can't even tell who is supposed to be who because they all look generic S & M posers. D: What is Duke wearing that helment for? Why does Storm Shadow carrying a gun?? What the hell happend to Cobra Commander?? Why does the Baroness NOT have a hawt euro accent?? No.... after the train wreck Star Trek movie, I just have a "Just say NO!" motto to stupid movie decisions.

Alcibiades- the actor who plays Snape is Hans Gruber, duh. :o

oh, or Alan Rickman I guess....
Forum Virgin
Aug 17th, 2009, 12:58 AM
Why would you want a sequel, exactly? I'm sure that was a semi-common sentiment among those that enjoyed Transformers, and its sequel was one of the most offensive things to hit the screen in some time.
Supa Soviet Missil Mastar
Aug 17th, 2009, 02:08 AM
Did anyone else notice that the last part of the movie was basically Star Wars, or is it just me?
from a vending machine
Aug 17th, 2009, 04:50 PM
I liked it other than the brainwashing of the baroness that just ruined the character.
Aug 17th, 2009, 06:46 PM
i will steal this off the net as i refuse to pay for something that looks this bad.
What Video Games?
Aug 17th, 2009, 07:24 PM
I heard a rumor somewhere the movie wasn't even screened.
The Goddamned Batman
Aug 17th, 2009, 10:43 PM
It wasn't. I wasn't even allowed to watch it when I was there watching it.
Funky Dynamite
Aug 17th, 2009, 11:02 PM
They let me see it, but only on the condition that I not pass judgment on any part of it.

Not even the part with the Wayans brother.
Supa Soviet Missil Mastar
Aug 17th, 2009, 11:08 PM
Am I the only one?! Come on!


Spoilers in case I give away important Star Wars plot lines.
Forum Virgin
Aug 17th, 2009, 11:17 PM
That one scene was ironic as the actor who played Snake-eyes was Darth Maul...

But me and my friend said it best: That movie was much more fun than it ever ought to have been. It was a surprise.

Now to just wait for Inglorious Bastards.
taco loving zombie
Aug 17th, 2009, 11:59 PM
also when

am i the only one who felt snake eyes looked and acted like a retard when he wasn't in action?
Supa Soviet Missil Mastar
Aug 18th, 2009, 12:31 AM
You are correct.
The Claw of Justice
Aug 19th, 2009, 05:46 PM
I want Hasbro to make a figure of Snake Eyes wearing that hoodie he had in the Pit.

The one thing that really got me was that Cobra Commander didn't drag out his S's. That's like half of his characterization! Aside from that, the movie was pretty good.
Forum Virgin
Aug 20th, 2009, 12:33 PM
It was a actually way better than I thought it'd be. I went in with absolutely no expectations but left satisfied.

I prefer the Transformers movies though...