Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.
Release Date: August 7th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout.
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
JJ Rating: A- (mainly for action sequences and entertainment value)
Good guys need to beat bad guys. Lots of explosions and some witty lines sprinkled here and there. They all share names with characters from the cartoon. A monument falls. There’s more action and then the baddies are created via opportunity. G.I. Joe: The rise of the Cobra.
A toy is created. A cartoon is created from the toys. A few comic books are made. Now a movie has happened. History dictates that there is not a lot of thought put into this to begin with, so expectations should be around the mindless action area. That would be an apt assessment of about this film.
The acting was good. The bottom of this acting pole would be Channing Tatum who played Duke. He lacks depth and facial expressions and many other skills, however I have hope for him because he improved since the last movie I saw him. The only other thing I had a problem with was that he had facial hair. It did not look good. The best actor would be Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the Doctor. (Funny seeing how Christopher Eccleston, who is McCullen in the film, played the Doctor in the British first season of “Doctor Who”.) Gordon-Levitt is talented in many ways and even though this film was just action after action after action and then a few slow talking moments, he still found a way to shine.
The story is simple concept. A weapons company creates an awesome weapon. The bad guys think that it is an awesome weapon. They steal it. The good guys hear about it and peruse to stop them from using it. Nothing devastatingly genius, but it wasn’t just bland as it could have been.
The action was good action. Yes there is CGI work, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m not into caring if I can’t really see and tell if it is and since I don’t stare at a screen in hopes to find something terrible, I was content with what I saw. I was also content with the great sword fights between Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (Lee Byeong-heon). They were mesmerizing like watching a school fight.
I enjoyed the flashbacks with Duke and Snake Eyes with Storm Shadow. I thought Snake Eyes and Strom Shadow flashbacks were well done and it helped the story become more inviting. The way the flashbacks were done added to the film without telling via words. It’s like the way Snake Eyes would tell it in his own silent manner. The action in their flashbacks dictated what had transpired and explained why they are the way they are. It was well done, better than those that were supposed to be Oscar greatness.
The costumes were awesome. I like the black body suits the G.I. Joes wore. Snake Eyes had his own gear that was very similar to the cartoon version and Strom Shadow looked dangerously devious in his whiteness that was more devilish than angelic as visuals would have one think.
There has been a lot of complaining (as I’ve seen on Yahoo user reviews) about how it’s not like the cartoon and blah, blah, blah. Ok, first of all the source material isn’t that great. They didn’t have a lot to motivate them to do a fantastic job outside of a toy for boys. It was a toy that was created to give the military a good image and inspire boys to want to join. It was a very ingenious propaganda tool. Then they turned it into a cartoon with the catch phrases such as: “GO JOE!” and “Knowing is half the battle.” They did use “Knowing is half the battle.” It was nice. It’s not like G.I. Joe was some sort of in depth book. It was just a simplistic cartoon that entertained children on Saturday mornings.
I use to watch this cartoon on and off again just like I use to watch Transformers, He-Man, Smurfs, Thundercats, Gummie Bears, Danger Mouse, Wuzzles, Jem, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and so on….and to see some come to live action does tend to give me that comfort feeling I use to have when I watched them on TV. I do think that bringing them back can be a good and bad thing depending on how they do it. But I am not (nor do I believe anyone else if they say they are) wrapped in any of them so much to believe that they had ingenious storylines. They were ingenious for many reasons, but storylines were not one of them and to think that creates a false reality and then to impose that way of thinking on a group of creators for the film is just retarded.
Paid critics (and even some non-paid ones) usually have a stick up their posterior when it comes to having fun while watching a film. I suppose one reason they become a critic is because they rarely have anything good to say to begin with and why not become even more cynical and unpleasant?
I enjoyed your film Stephen Sommers. I hope it gets enough money to make a second one reasonable and I hope it’s just as fun as this one and not a lull like Transformers II (even though it got great millions of unwarranted dollars at the Box Office). As I did for Transformers I will end with the awesome catchphrase of the cartoon that preceded this film, because it bears repeating, “GO JOE!”
*internet sarcasm for oh no…in case you are confused and bewildered.