Sunday, November 08, 2009

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Back in the Eighties, Livia and I owned a store that sold comic books, among other things, and we did a brisk business in G.I. JOE issues, especially back issues. I read some of them myself and occasionally saw an episode of the cartoon series based on the action figures, but I was never a big fan.

So I was vaguely familiar with some of the characters in the recent movie G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA but didn’t really know what to expect from it. This was the second movie based on toys that we’d watched in as many weeks (the other being the second TRANSFORMERS movie).

But if you’ve read this blog for very long, you know that I’m a pretty soft touch where movies are concerned. Some of them I hate to the point of turning them off unfinished, but I seldom if ever blog about those. Most of them, though, I can find something to like about them, and that’s the case here.

First the things I didn’t like, and some of them are my usual complaints: quick-cut editing in most of the action scenes and bad lighting in some of them. There were too many times I said to myself, “Wait a minute. What just happened?” There are some lines in the script making fun of the characters’ action figure origins that are maybe a little too cute. And some of the acting is either wooden or too far over-the-top. (You didn’t think it was possible that anything could be too over-the-top for me, did you?) But acting isn’t generally a big concern for me in movies like this. Being able to follow the action is.

And that said, there’s a lot of action in G.I. JOE. This is a movie that hardly ever slows down to breathe. It’s one frantic, SFX-laden set-piece after another, with the occasional flashback to fill in the histories of some of the characters, as the international military unit known as G.I. Joe tries to track down some deadly nanomite warheads that the bad guys are going to use to take over the world.

So with all that going on, it baffles me how the filmmakers managed to do it, but I actually got caught up in the story and the characters. In my usual long-winded way, it’s taken me a while to get around to saying it, but I liked G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA. Liked it quite a bit, in fact, and really enjoyed watching it. Yes, it’s a silly, cartoonish movie based on toys, but I think it’s a heck of a lot better than either of the TRANSFORMERS movies. Have I turned into a G.I. JOE fan after all these years? I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say that, but if they make the sequel that the end of this one is obviously leading up to, I’ll watch it. No doubt about that.


Mark Terry said...

Although, honestly, what's Dennis Quaid doing in this movie?

I saw it with my 11 & then-15-year-old boys and they loved it. I wouldn't go nearly that far, and as far as following the plot, um, there was a plot? But I thought the action was pretty fun and the accelerator suits were kind of cool, and the chicks were kinda hot, and otherwise, well, I guess I got my $6.50/each worth.

Anonymous said...

This film was crap, its only tangentially connected to GIJOE.. and made the first Transformers look like it deserved an Oscar.

what it took Larry Hama 155 issues and 13 years to build, it only took Steven Sommers 2 hours and 170million$ to ruin.

Characters randomly swapping personalities and ethnicities, other characters being totally changed.. Not to mention the Joes suddenly needing Halo Mjolnir Armor to combat the bad guys.. (Funny since the guy who wrote it.. was supposed to Write Halo)
The Armor is extra funny when we take into consideration the comments made by the producer.. that Blue Jumpsuits and a hood are " Unrealistic " but super armor and a glass dome are a Dime a dozen obviously.. which brings me to ...

Cobra Commander who went from being some sort of Galt-ian hero of the anti government crowd, to being nothing but yet another lame " Mad Scientist " with an axe to grind.. The only character they actually got vaguely right was Destro.. and I stress Vaguely. This has about as much to do with GIJOE as the new CONAN movie has to do with Robert E. Howard's Originals.

Evan Lewis said...

When this was on its last legs at the local theaters, my wife was still shell-shocked from the second Tranformers flick and I took pity on her. I'm now waiting for the library to get the DVD, but your review gives me hope for a reasonably good time.

James Reasoner said...


I don't doubt what you say about the changes, and I understand why you feel that way. I just don't have the background of reading the comics to judge the movie the same way.

I did think that Larry Hama should have gotten some sort of acknowledgment somewhere.