Movie Title: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
If a contest was being had for the clangiest, noisiest, and most annoying science fiction movie with a major release budget, this one would undoubtedly win. Any broken-in moviegoer knows that “big budget” doesn’t necessarily mean “expensive feel.” It is the cheap feel and amateurish writing – with performances that baaaaarely make the cut – that put Stephen Sommers’ G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra on the exterminator’s list.
The film has less grace and charm than a snake, but about as much as a really good B-movie. That right there guarantees that you’ll find it in the bargain bin section at Wal-Mart once it’s released on DVD (which will be very, very soon). But go see it on the big screen if you want a personality-lacking fight flick that envies far superior kung fu movies of the past. Fear not, because to make up for its evident lack of quality, enough action sequences for three movies are thrown in. This way, the immature in the audience will get plenty of “tough guy” without any of that wishy-washy, annoying “character development” stuff that the sissies like.
And with the action dial cranked up as far as it will go, you get the added bonus of having sci-fi gadgets stuffed down your throat. There are gadgets…and gadget noises…and like the Chinese Water Torture, these become more grading with time. I just know that the writers swore on the lives of their children that not a single viewer in any audience the world over would walk out of a theatre and say: “You know what, there wasn’t enough technology shown off in that film.” They made good on their vows. No one has said that.
But I’ve got to hand it to him. Mr. Sommers’ creativity is to be commended for searching far and wide until he found a crack-smoking chimp to serve in place of an expensive camera operator like many traditional directors would have used. You save a lot of money having a chimp do the job of a human, although you have that unfortunate downside of having a movie where the picture shakes. The consequence of that was that I was unable to enjoy any of the action sequences. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the chimp thing was creatively commendable.
Like a good B-movie, there were no notable performances, just your standard lot of bad to barely passable. Dennis Quaid as General Hawk came as close as anyone could to reaching that mighty high likable bar. There’s nothing wrong in admitting that likable is a quality that G.I. Joe is not going to have, not this one. Let's not deny it. Honesty is the best policy.
All in all, I felt kind of lonely. It’s tough seeing a film on a tremendously big screen in a dark room where none of the characters being thrust in front of you – not even the good-looking women – are likable. And you know there’s a problem with character development when you start imagining how hard you would laugh if only someone would throw a bucket of diarrhea in the faces of the lead performers. If you’re not sure up until that point, then you know things are sucking!
I can say that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra did provide moments of nostalgia…all two of them.
Grade: D- (1 star)
Summation: 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.
Director: Stephen Sommers
Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje “Heavy Duty,” Christopher Eccleston “McCullen / Destro,” Grégory Fitoussi “Baron de Cobray,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt “The Doctor / Rex,” Leo Howard “Young Snake Eyes,” Byung-hun Lee “Storm Shadow,” Sienna Miller “Ana / Baroness,” Kevin J. O'Connor “Dr. Mindbender,” Gerald Okamura “Hard Master,” Ray Park “Snake Eyes,” Jonathan Pryce “U.S. President,” Dennis Quaid “General Hawk”
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Thriller