Another Childhood Favorite – ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)Before I start this review I wanted to give you my Joe credentials.  While I’m not old enough to have had the 12 inch figures I was fanatical when it came to the Hasbro figures and the original Marvel comic books.  I watched the cartoons religiously and remember like it was yesterday when I saw the animated movie for the first time – Cobra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!!!  With that out of the way, on to the review.

This will contain spoilers – if you want to know nothing about the movie before you see it skip this post and come back after you’ve seen it.

If you’re like me you heard very bad things about this flick.  I heard that it was the worst previewed movie in history, that the director had been fired halfway through, that they weren’t going to allow official movie reviews, etc.  Since most people are going to go into it with the “it sucks” mentality I’ll start off with the bad stuff.

THE BAD STUFF

  1. The CGI – it’s fucking terrible.  There are quite a few times where it’s was so bad that it took me out of the movie.  Planes don’t fly accurately, characters do shit that wouldn’t be remotely possible (even when you suspend disbelief) and there are some scenes where you can almost see the green screen technicians standing in the background.
  2. The outfits – not so great.  I can’t really put my finger on it but the Joes just don’t look “authentic”.  They’ve got a Starship Troopers look to them… if that makes any sense.  The military folks in The Transformers look much more realistic.
  3. Cobra – so the movie is called “The Rise Of Cobra” and you don’t get much of that until the last minute of the movie.  Should have/could have done more.

THE CHARACTERS

  • Snake Eyes – Ray Park is a bad ass and he looks great with one exception – he’s got a mouth.  Terrible.  Looks nothing like the original character and there’s not even a “movie” reason for the change.  Not good.
  • Baroness – SMOKIN.  Sienna Miller is incredible in this role and looks amazing.  I’ve always thought of Baroness as a bit “matronly” and there was none of that here.  I didn’t dig her back story but I can deal with it.
  • Duke – really looked the part but I’ve always thought of Duke as an “older” Joe.  Every time Channing Tatum was on screen I couldn’t help think of WWE superstar John Cena.
  • Destro – you don’t see him plated until the end which is fine.  The actor is a little too thin for my liking but definitely plays the cerebral Destro to perfection.
  • Ripcord – I really thought Marlon Wayans would get on my nerves.  He didn’t.  Well done Marlon.
  • Scarlett – PERFECT casting.  Rachel Nichols captures her character and plays her to a T.  Oh… and she’s HOT!
  • Storm Shadow – I preferred the comic version where you didn’t know really who he was and rarely saw him out of ninja gear but I’ve got no problem with this treatment.
  • Hawk – Dennis Quaid was a perfect choice for Hawk.  Not a big role in this flick but needed an actor that could pull it off.
  • Heavy Duty – bad choice of an actor.  Based on his appearances in Lost and Oz I just couldn’t see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in this role.
  • Breaker – I’ve got a certain affinity toward this character as he was my first ever figure.  I’m not a huge fan of changing him from American to Moroccan but I was happy with the way he was portrayed.
  • Cobra Commander – what… the… fuck.  The back story is wrong, the outfit is terrible and for a flick called “The Rise of Cobra” he’s got no screen time.  You simply cannot have Cobra Commander without the faceplate or the hood.  Awful.
  • Zartan – happy to see him in the film and REALLY looking forward to what they do with his character in the sequel.  Nothing like the comic/figure but that was to be expected.

THE GOOD STUFF

  1. Action – make no mistake – this is an action movie.  It’s not a retelling of the comic and it’s certainly not the “made for TV nobody gets shot when there’s a milion bullets flying” stuff that you got with the cartoon.  The Paris sequence is great and the attack on the Pit was a treat to watch.
  2. Nostalgia – I’ve been waiting for this flick for nearly 30 years.  To finally see the Joes on the big screen was awesome.  I was naturally comparing it to the cartoon/comics but I can honestly say that I was completely entertained the entire way.
  3. The origins – I’ve said a couple of times that I don’t like the back story that they’ve given the characters.  This is partially due to MY history with the characters so I can overlook that.  That said, this doesn’t feel like an “origin movie” which it clearly is.  The story moves along quite well and the back stories are told through a series of flash backs in a way that doesn’t detract from the plot.
  4. The setup – based on the limited previews that I saw I thought I’d hate the storyline for this flick (what the hell is a nano-mite anyways?)  I was pleasantly surprised that I really found myself caring about the plot.  The ending was tight and totally left some great jumping off points for a sequel.

RECOMMENDATION

In a previous post I bitched about how my childhood was being raped.  Honestly I’m really happy to finally see this flick on the big screen.  I can understand why there have been a slew of negative reviews but if you’re a child of the 80’s like me I’m guessing you’re going to enjoy watching this.  Go into expecting the same characters and plots that you got in the 80’s and you’ll be disappointed.  Go into expecting a fun popcorn action movie and you’ll be happy.  Recommended movie for fans of the G.I. Joe universe.  I was able to overlook the bad stuff and walked out of the theater entertained and looking forward to more G.I. Joe and Cobra.

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5 Comments

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  2. I am old enough to have had the 12″ action figures and have never seen the show. My kids have no idea who GI Joe is. We will all see it this weekend.

  3. Mike – looking forward to what you and your kids think. Have you/they seen either of the Transformers flicks?

  4. I enjoyed it as well, but the one thing I couldn’t figure out, of course, besides being a plot for the movie, why did they ship the nano-mites in a ground convoy at the beginning. If it’s the end all be all weapon that they don’t want to get lost, why not take it in a plane or heli to a plane? Seriously, it’s a suitcase that can be carried, you don’t need a convoy for that, and a simple heli ride to an airbase would have gotten it done faster…

    There were some big holes in the plot, but I agree, it was a good action flick…

    • That always bothered me too Michael. I’ll just chalk it up to “story vehicle”. That said, that opening scene was pretty cool. Told you right away that it was going to be a “serious” movie (IE, people getting killed, etc.)

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