Gi-Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Although the ending action sequence seemed a bit on the lengthy side, GI-Joe The Rise of Cobra was an entertaining but abstract version of the 80’s cartoon. Sienna Miller was delicious, Marlon Wayans was human, and Ray Park was dangerous. Director Steven Sommers has never impressed me with his past works (The Mummy series and Van Helsing) so when I learned that he was behind a Gi-Joe movie, I immediately assumed it would be as bad as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Surprisingly enough I was wrong in my assumption and found Gi-Joe to be a rewatchable rush of action that didn’t “try too hard” to match the original cartoon.
When the movie begins we are introduced to Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans). The stark difference between the two characterizations is realized about halfway in after the audience is given some exchanges in dialogue and history. If Duke was meant to be played as an emotionless, wooden husk of a man then Channing Tatum more than nailed the part. And although the people who remember Marlon Wayans from White Chicks and not Requiem for a Dream will find his light humor annoying in this one, he seemed to really get into character and appeared genuine to me. The Duke problem really bothered me in the scenes where emotion comes to play in his personal life, the man is supposed to be serious and troubled but Channing comes off as an uninspired actor reading lines. Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols play the two opposing femme fatales in The Baroness and Shana ‘Scarlett’ O’Hara. One is a martial arts master who is fearless in gunfights and the other is an Irish hottie with the mind of a genius and the bike riding skills of an X-Games champion. For all my complaints about the acting and some of the dreadful lines that were delivered, the action and impressive CGI made up for all of the shortcomings in the acting department.
One of the main rivalries to carry over from the cartoon is the blood feud between ninjas Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Getting shown a bit of their history and getting about 10 minutes of ninja on ninja action is enough to satisfy any fanboi, but for the casual fan you are given enough to understand why they are fighting by the end. There are few romantic situations but not enough to detract from the main plot and although I found the story as a whole to be absurd, it was played out pretty well by the direction. The main things that bothered me about Gi-Joe however dealt with the plot, Destro (Christopher Eccleston) being transformed so willingly and the convenient “happily ever after” resolution of all the love interests. Storm Shadow was turned from standard ninja archetype in the comics to a metrosexual version in the movie, complete with tailored ninja suit. I apparently was not the only person in the audience to notice the ninja’s sense of fashion and expensive haircuts. At times it seemed that the Joes relied way too heavily on Snake Eyes and the most memorable scene in the movie had the good guys hurting civilians in a high-speed chase to catch Cobra. This baffled me beyond belief, and made the Joes seem uncharacteristically ruthless.
All in all GI-Joe The Rise of Cobra is a solid action flick in which fans of the original series and newcomers alike will find entertaining. Sure their will be the people who say this “raped their childhood” whatever that means, but let us ask them to write a good movie out of a cartoon that was made solely for selling toys. There was never a good backdrop to the Gi-Joe machine and to get a half-way decent action movie out of it did well enough for me.