I used to love GI Joe when I was a kid, but if you read my blog you’d already know that since I reviewed the 80’s animated movie a few months ago. I had actually hesitated from watching this film, since by all honesty, it looked awful. The trailers were terrible, and the cast was not very inspired, to say the least. I’m not a big fan of Stephen Summers, and I was afraid that it would be the kind of film that glorified the military, not to mention when I saw what Cobra Commander would look like, I was completely flabbergasted. But after much talking and no watching, I decided to give this one a watch. Surely, it couldn’t be as bad as most of the stuff I watch, could it? Well, yes and no. As far as being faithful, it’s pretty much in the spirit of the cartoon and action figure series it was inspired from. Every ship looked like an 80’s toy submarine and the characters look like walking action figures. The story deals with the arrival of Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) into the GI Joe unit, as they are trying to protect the world from nanotechnology-based warheads that can destroy everything they touch unless controlled not to. They are recruited to the GI Joe unit, who are hard at work trying to stop the evil arms dealer James McCullen (aka Destro, played by Christopher Eccleston) and his band of soldiers (The Professor, The Baroness, Storm Shadow, Zartan) to take the warheads and take over the world. Very simple plot, but very well done. The cast is half and half, with Channing Tatum being as charismatic or interesting as a bowl of chicken soup, while Marlon Wayans does his comedic schtick fine. Thankfully the rest of the Joes, played by Rachel Nichols (Scarlett), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Heavy-Duty, Said Taghmaoui as Breaker and Ray Park as Snake Eyes, are pretty cool in their roles. Nichols looks helluva hot, while Ray Park is badass. The bad guys are pretty cool as well, with The Baroness, played by Sienna Miller, becoming a new object for my masturbation fantasies, even if her sudden change of character at the end almost made me vomit. Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow gives some real menace to his role. The best performance in the whole movie, however, comes from Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role of The Professor, which is later revealed to be none other than Cobra Commander. He’s sly, he’s evil and has a very snake-like quality similar to that of the character in the TV series. I just wish he was wearing a costume similar to the original!
Stephen Sommers is a pretty bad director, but in here he is able to pull off at least one thing that makes him entertaining, and that is action. It’s all shot with great intensity and there is a lot of destruction to be had, particularly the sequences in France, and the final battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow being as good as Park’s work on the Phantom Menace (the only good thing about that damn movie). But sadly, Sommers has absolutely no talent to directing actors or working with a script. He is similar to Michael Bay, only at least Sommers is more attached to geekier sensibilities, and even with it’s faults you can tell the man really loves the material he’s working with. Still, good intentions are not enough. The experience of watching GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra is similar to playing a Metal Gear Solid game: the action is great, but you want to skip over the cut scenes.