Sep 3, 2010

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review

image from Amazon

In a not too distant, surprisingly non-dystopian future where we've cured cancer with nanotechnology (molecule sized... robots or something that interact with blood cells), President of the Scottish M.A.R.S. company, James McCullen turns the beautiful medical technology into a weapon by creating nanobot-warheads for America. McCullen gets caught selling to both sides however, also providing Cobra Commander with the weapons. Simple, straight-laced, following-orders to deliver from point-A to point-B, army foot soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) survive their convoy team being utterly destroyed by Cobra who try to steal Warheads. They then join the elite intercepting team who save their lives but still lose the warheads, GI Joe. Now the race is on to get those warheads back before people the world over are forced to have their back against the wall against a powerful terrorist organization.

The colors and special effects are pretty and dazzling at times. Nothing you haven't seen before, but at least utilized well. The acting and dialog teeter-totters from cool, to bearable, to laughable for the wrong reasons. Honestly when the movie was hitting theaters there was a buzz around like it was the worst movie ever made and people who worked on it knew this ahead of time, so I went in expecting something to tear apart and crack jokes about but I was pleasantly surprised. For the most part I believed in the characters. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a throwback to sinister, evil, madmen doctors from years past, Channing Tatum was a heart's-bigger-than-head brave leader, Lee Byung-Hun (Storm Shadow) was a completely believable twisted Asian martial artist/ninja that made me hope to see more of him in American films. Sienna Miller as The Baroness and Rachel Nichols as Scarlett looked gorgeous but probably had the worst acting. But at least their characters were pretty cool. And hott.

My Highlights:
I really enjoyed the whole Paris chase scene as everyone rushes to the Eiffel Tower, even if it incorporated the much ridiculed Iron Man-esque super cyborg suits that give people monkey-like agility. It may be because I never watched the original GI Joe cartoons or read the GI Joe comics, but seeing as how in the last 20+ years we've only gotten more and more obsessed with advancing technology, especially in our military, I could buy it. Other highlights include every Storm Shadow vs. Snake-Eyes fight, and the entire conclusion of the film. It made me hungry for a sequel!

Overall Rating:
It wasn't exactly The Expendables, but it was leaps and bounds better than what I went in expecting. It's got some great action, some great characters, some great looking babes and you only have to sit through the occasional scene of crappy acting or dialog. I loved it enough to rate it 3 1/2 *'s out of 5, or 7 out of 10.

When You Should See It:
If you're looking to rent a cheesy, non-thinker of a popcorn action flick, you could do worse than this film. Go for the rent. I also imagine it'll be on cable TV or at least pay TV soon because it wasn't long before it reached Netflix Instant Watch, which is how I watched it. I have a pretty extensive queue on Instant Watch but I have no regrets having watched this over other films on there.

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