G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

When All Else Fails, They Don’t

Firstly, I’ve always enjoyed Stephen Sommers’ popcorn films; from his underrated tongue-in-cheek 1998 horror film Deep Rising, to his over-blown tribute to the classic Universal monster pictures of the 50s in 2004’s Van Helsing. Thus, when I heard that Sommers would be directing the first live-action adaptation of one of my favorite childhood cartoons I was instantly attracted to the project.

After the phenomenal worldwide success of 2007’s Transformers, it was clear to producers that films based on toy franchises can be successful in the box office. Hence, G.I. Joe was pulled off the shelf and immediately put into production with Brian Goldner from Hasbro approaching Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the man behind Transformers, to produce a G.I. Joe film.

Sienna Miller showing off her stuff!
Sienna Miller showing off her stuff!

Weeks before the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the Internet flooded with negative stories about the film. It was rumored that director Stephen Sommers was fired and thrown out of the editing room directly after the film’s first test screening due to the poor audience response. Elsewhere, actress Sienna Miller panned the film in interviews claiming, “You know, G.I. Joe, it’s not going to be the best acting work we’ve ever done.” When the initial trailers came out, forums flooded with negative comments stating that the effects looked cheap and that the film would be a vomit-inducing mess. Consequently, I was put off, even after my initial excitement.

Onto the film itself … G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra starts off when a deadly biochemical weapon is stolen from a squad during a transport mission, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are introduced to the G.I. Joe, an elite military group of special operatives. Joining the unit in a super-secret underground base known as The Pit, under the command of General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), the two soldiers team up with Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Breaker (Said Taghmaoui), and a handful of others in order to stop a maniacal arms dealer hell-bent on world domination.

Dodgeball, the next generation!
Dodgeball, the next generation!

After watching the film I instantly realized that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra isn’t as much of a train-wreak as some people want you to believe it is. Ok, this is a big, loud, dumb popcorn flick, which sports some wooden acting, particularly from Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid, overblown cartoon-ish action sequences and a whimsical screenplay, but ultimately, it stays true to the franchise, particularly the 80s cartoon series that I used to enjoy. And while it may be overly silly and exaggerated, it’s what you want and maybe expect from a G.I. Joe film. Ultimately, this isn’t The Dark Knight but unlike McG’s Terminator Salvation, it never claimed to be.

Sadly, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is a film that you’d probably forget as soon as you leave the theater, but it’s fun while it lasts and I’m pretty eager to see the follow up if Sommers returns.

2.5 / 5 – Alright

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is released through Paramount Pictures Australia