G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra review

Andrew Huff ('10)/Eastside Humor Editor and Andrew Huff ('10)/Eastside Humor Editor

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra … (insert laughter here).

I’m glad I didn’t buy snacks; I would have thrown them up laughing at this ridiculous excuse for a summer “action” flick. Was G.I. Joe really supposed to squeeze right into the genre of blockbuster superhero films that spawn multiple sequels, garner mass audiences and critical adoration?

The thought makes me want to burst out laughing again.

With seasoned actors filling the mechanized shoes of poorly-written characters (really, the actors devoid the TV-show-based heroes and villains of any, I mean, any substance), why did G.I. Joe flail and ultimately fail? Simply put: the movie lacked substance. The film’s morsel of quality writing, crumb-let of skilled acting and overindulgence of childish special effects leaves audiences feeling meager.

Director Stephen Sommers, who also directed the first two films of the Mummy franchise in addition to Catch Me if You Can, certainly could have done better.

Essentially, Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans play two army soldiers, Duke and Ripcord, respectively, who are “recruited” for a special, ultra-ultra-secret undercover unit called G.I. Joe, a last resort collective of the best soldiers from around the world. Tatum remains monotonous and with the same acerbic expression on his face for most of the movie, while Wayans brings too much humor to his stereotypical role as the black character sued for comic relief.

 Dennis Quaid plays General Hawk, the leader of G.I. Joe, whose acting in the small role is utterly laugh-inducing as he attempts to play a serious commander, but ends up mocking himself. The team also features another typecast character: the genius-girl-who-is-too-busy-studying-to-have-a-relationship, Scarlett. Alongside her work a Moroccan tech-guy and an African-American Brit, who really just plays a brutish chauffer with a dangly earring. The aforementioned good guys (and one girl) battle against the bad guys (and one girl) for a new piece of nanotechnology that (Gasp! What a shocker!) could destroy the world. True, the movie is based off of a show and for the sake of authenticity should stick to the gender ratio of its characters, but Sommers could have taken a risk and added more female characters. It has worked before. Remember Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise? Well, Rachel Dawes is a character he made up, and her presence did not detract from Batman Begins or the number-two movie of all time, The Dark Knight.

Sienna Miller plays the “evil” baroness rather disappointedly, yet her character adds a glimmer of maniacal spunk to the bland film. Nonetheless, the film features a cheesy wardrobe that defies logic and the genre of superheroes: characters in films such as these are expected to wear outfits that inspire awe, intrigue viewers and actually make sense (Iron Man’s hot-rod-red suit, Batman’s all-black ensemble, captain America’s patriotic outfit, etc.). Obviously-faux-metal suits, two bulky “accelerator suits” that just happen to go to the brand new recruits and not the seasoned veterans, in addition to Sienna Miller wearing a low-cut top in the North Pole, make the film even more laughable.

Setting-wise, am I really supposed to believe that an Atlantis-looking hub of villainy exists under the arctic circle without any explanation whatsoever as to how it got there other than, “It’s the perfect location for a base,” coming from the so-called genius Scarlett? Clearly this movie tried and failed to be Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, whose continuity errors and nonsensical plot were forgiven because of quality special effects.

Not long into the movie, the cobra from the second half of the title debuts on screen alongside a shady, mutilated scientist who manufactured the four green-hued rockets containing the much-sought-after nanotechnology that eats anything metal. In a humorous line meant to be serious, another obviously shady fellow tells us that the microscopic technology “won’t stop…ever” once released.

Perhaps the biggest pitfall of this movie is that if any audience member has read the casting information, or knows who plays each role, then the supposed “big reveal” is spoiled. This ease with which one can decipher the childish crux of a plot displays a conspicuous laziness on the movie’s behalf. Even the “cliffhanger” of a final scene lays very obvious framework and leaves the last moments of the film feeling empty and unfulfilling.

However, there is one scene that actually entertains, if only for a brief moment or two: a combat scene in the rues of Paris involving Duke (Tatum) and Ripcord (Wayans) versus a Baroness-fired pair of rockets. But, just as quickly as the scene begins to enthrall, it ends. The scene is one of many that features superfluous glass shattering, seemingly a staple of the movie.

Perhaps the film was too long at just under two hours. Maybe some, or a bevy, of recasting was needed. A new director, even? Whatever the case, G.I. Joe – to put it bluntly – was not good. I mean, I don’t see how it could have been good. Action scenes were a bore. Romantic scenes were laughable. Big reveals could be predicted way before they occurred onscreen.

What a prolonged yawn.

But despite all of these shortcomings and copious absurdities, I just might see a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Courtesy of www.l.yimg.com
Courtesy of www.l.yimg.com

 

 

 

1 ½ stars out of 4