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

Film review: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), directed by Stephen Sommers

We’re in the “not too distant future”. (Which kind of begs the question “why doesn’t anyone ever say it’s the too distant future?”) The movie focuses on a couple of soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), who are escorting a case of four nanobot warheads along with a bunch of other soldiers. They get ambushed by what seems to be two different groups trying to get the warheads, and the only two survivors find out that one of those groups are actually friendly. They’re a secret military organisation called G.I. Joe, with their super-secret base hidden underground in the Sahara desert.

The two soldiers want to join the team and get put through their paces until they eventually get to see some real action, and try to save Paris from being eaten by those pesky little all-we-can-eat nanobots, which I think they just went ahead and stole from Keanu Reeves. Incidentally, leading the team of baddies is Duke’s former fiancé, Sienna Miller, who has a grudge because Duke let her baby brother (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, formerly known as “hey, it’s that kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun“) die.

Apparently, this movie isn’t as over-the-top as it could’ve been if one is to go by the old cartoons, according to Mr T. How over the top must those cartoons have been?! I mean, sure, it wasn’t half bad, but it wasn’t half good either. It was funny in parts, had a coherent plot that was easy to follow, decent actors … but 95% were special effects! There were nanobots munching on French tourist attractions, futuristic airplanes, super-suits, force-cannons – and a crapload of explosions. And then some more explosions. And things that get blown up. And go KABLAMM! And did I mention there were explosions? And it’s not even a Michael Bay film!

It’s a seriously destructive film – they wreck just about everything. If there’s a pane of glass that can be destroyed they smash it, little shards flying everywhere. It looks spectacular, to be sure, but after a while it just got incredibly samey.

The characters, then: feisty redhead genius … a white-clad ninja (a baddie) with a black-clad (goodie) counterpart … goofy guy as comic relief (black, as per the rules set out in Scary Movie) … baddie bosses with a mask fetish (one of them should’ve gone the whole hog and got himself a helmet like Darth Vader to go with the gas mask) … and so on. What is this, Cartoon Ensemble 101?

Dennis Quaid was a G.I. Joe general. I like Dennis Quaid. There’s just something about him that’s quite enticing. Sienna Miller’s hair was impressive (she looks more natural as a blonde, as does Rachel Nichols) – she had an exceptional hair day all through the film! Christopher Eccleston played McCullen, MARS weapons manufacturer boss up to no good, and did so in a Scottish accent. I did like the look of the original 1600s McCullen (Irishman David Murray), but we didn’t get to see much of him, unfortunately.

Arnold Vosloo, a man who you might not necessarily know by name but probably know who it is when you see him, was also in it. As a baddie. Quelle surprise. I mean, that’s so far from the roles he normally plays … No typecasting there at all. Zilch, zip, nada. Noooo siree bob … To be fair, though, he’s good at playing a baddie.

All in all, I’d say it’s entertaining but explosive. Put a helmet on and enjoy the ride. You won’t have to think too much. Perhaps a movie more appealing to a slightly different target audience than 27-year-old women who prefer costume dramas and romantic comedies.

1.5 out of 5 hidden lairs.

Traxy

An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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