Movie Reviews
Yoe Joe! G.I. Joes' Rise of Cobra
By Hervé St-Louis
August 9, 2009 - 14:16

Writer(s): Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Ray Park, Rachel Nichols, Marlon Wayans, Christopher Eccleston, Lee Byeong-heon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Said Taghmaoui
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Produced by: Stephen Sommers
Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.
Release Date: August 7, 2009
Rating: PG13
Distributors: Paramount Pictures



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When arms manufacturer Destro steals from NATO the nanonite weaponry he developed with their funding, it’s up to G.I. Joe, an elite military force equipped with state of the art weaponry to save the day and stop Destro’s Cobra from using the weaponry on the free world. Reeling from their defeat by the Cobra forces that stole the nanomite weaponry, recruit Duke and Ripcord have to learn how to be G.I. Joe soldiers and save the day. But will it be enough to stop Cobra?

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The main reason G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra was produced is because Hasbro saw that its nascent Transformers’ blockbuster franchise was taking off and that like has been the case since the 1980s, wherever the Transformers go, G.I. Joe is sure to follow. In hindsight, Hasbro, intent on banking in on the comic book movie bandwagon should have waited a bit or hired a better production team to create this film. It’s clear from the title the plot all the way to the end, the Hasbro wants to transform G.I. Joe into a blockbuster franchise that will bring in more money and sell more toys. I don’t want to see this happen. Whereas the sponsoring of cartoon series and comic book series in the 1980s really help Hasbro sell more toys, moving in onto greater grounds means that their cheap aesthetics and contrite plots will not be forgiven by the public. If Hasbro wants to play like Marvel Entertainment and produce successful films, it’s gonna have to seek better talents.

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G.I. Joe is an empty and bad as the first Fantastic Four movie. It’s a useless film that should have been rewritten a third time. There’s no point releasing a new film franchise when half of your targeted audience doesn’t take your efforts seriously. As a comic book movie G.I. Joe is the worst of the year, and now I understand why critics were not invited to preview this film before its release date.

If you remember the cartoon series from the 1980s, you will find yourself at home with G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra when it comes to the ludicrous plot device – another stupid doomsday device the likes of which kids from the 1980s grew up with. That wasn’t my problem with the film. The camaraderie of the G.I. Joe was credible and they had good chemistry onscreen although they acting was bad and more overacted than the 1980s cartoon series.

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The first thing I hated about the film was the Baroness. Physically, actress Sienna Miller looked the part, although I always imagined the Baroness as being a bit older. The problem is the backstory they gave her with Duke. She’s still in love with him and she’s not really evil. The Baroness that used to play Cobra Commander and Destro against one another is not here.  She’s cheesecake desired by many men but without the brains to do anything with her natural attributes.

Second, I hated how Storm Shadow was handled in that film. His rivalry with Snake Eye was well described, but he was nothing but a poorman’s to his “brother.”

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Storm Shadow’s weakness is also Cobra’s. In the cartoon series, the Cobra agents were usually incompetents, safe for a few like Storm Shadow, Firefly and Destro. Here, all these soldiers just fall like flies when confronted by the Joes, whether they fight on the ground, inside their bunker or in their small submarines. They are just weaklings born to fail. There is absolutely no suspense when none of the bad guys can dish out any pain or manage to do anything good.

Destro was an idiot. The great Destro, known by many as the only decent Cobra agent was nowhere as effective in this film. He was another bumbling idiot that kept saying that he served a greater man. That greater man wasn’t Cobra Commander, by the way. That’s a tangling plot point that wasn’t resolved by the end of the movie.

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Heavy Duty, for some reason I still cannot explain, has become the big black guy on the Joe’s team, instead of Roadblock a few years ago. We all know Hasbro only cares about maintaining trademarks of characters and that’s probably why Roadblock, the one character with charm from the cartoon series has been upstaged by his less charismatic cousin.

Ripcord in the cartoon series was one of those forgettable characters that was cool only as a toy.  In the comic books, Ripcord had a larger storyline. Unfortunately, Marlon Wayans was recruited to play Ripcord. First, there is nothing of the old Ripcord in Wayans’ character.  This is a totally new creation. Second he’s the Jar Jar of this film. A stupid comedy relief sidekick to the more professional square head Duke. In the old series, Shipwreck who was also a stupid comedy relief had more skills and had a darker side that still made him appealing. Here, I just wished they would have killed Ripcord quickly instead of killing the beautiful Cover Girl.

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The gear and weapons used in this film had nothing sexy about them. As an action figure collector, I have no intention of seeking out anything that was designed for this film as they looked bland and not even remotely like something military. The vehicles and gears looked more at home with Star Ship Trooper than G.I. Joe.

Speaking of vehicle, the film relied on computer generated graphics and 3D animation to such an extent that it felt like a video game with a good rendering instead of anything realistic. I just gave up on all scenes that used extensive computer graphics as I had paid to watch a film, not a video game.

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As an old G.I.Joe fan from the 1980s with an extensive collection of toys and comic books from that era, I have to say that this film did not make me want to plunge into that world ever again.

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Rating: 2/10

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