When all else fails...they don’t! They are G.I. Joe, a top-secret elite strike force featuring the best operatives from around the globe. After a high-tech, secret weapon is stolen by the mysterious and evil Cobra organization, the G.I. Joes must race against time to stop Cobra from using the weapon and plunging the world into chaos. Starring Channing Tatum, Byung-Hun Lee, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller and Dennis Quaid, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is the ultimate action-thrill ride!
Like Michael Bay, Stephen Sommers' movies have been regular fixtures during the summer blockbuster season. After all, "The Mummy", "The Mummy Returns" and "Van Helsing" were never more than mindless entertaining flicks- the perfect kind of entertainment for audiences in summer- not that they were intended to be anything more than that.
Sommers is at the helm of this big-screen realization of the "GI Joe" franchise and that fact alone should pretty much warn you where this film is headed. Here’s what "GI Joe" is about- a group of elite soldiers have to stop a rogue team of anarchists known as "Cobra" from holding the world hostage with 'nanomites', a kind of weapon that eats stuff, e.g. The Eiffel Tower. Because of that, they travel to France, to Egypt and finally all the way to the Arctic.
Along the way, they blow things up, apologise, get kicked out, go somewhere else and continue to blow more things up. Sure, it doesn’t really make much sense. Neither does the action- as the Joes defy logic by running as fast as a speeding vehicle in mechanized robotic suits, or chase a Moscow-bound missile on the enemy’s airplane. But hey, you can probably say the same about "Transformers" or its sequel.
"GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra" is crafted in the same nonsensical mold, but like those films of Bay-hem, it is quite the enjoyable diversion. From the very opening, Sommers stages one action sequence after another, using explosion after explosion to keep your eyes and your mind from wandering. Indeed, it doesn’t really matter that Stuart Beattie (writer of "Australia" and "Collateral") is behind the story- this is a film that uses its action to drive itself forward, not any kind of story or character development.
But hey like we said, Sommers knows his way around an action movie and it shows. The film is well-paced enough to keep you engaged, despite its lack of any originality or uniqueness. It throws in some occasional good-natured humour so you’d know not to take it too seriously. And what’s more, it has a cast of probably the most pleasing and attractive young stars in Hollywood.
There’s Channing Tatum, whose acting is probably not the reason he was cast. There’s Marlon Wayans, who fits the funnyman archetype perfectly. There’s Rachel Nichols, the Megan Fox of the movie. And there’s Christopher Eccleston, the Brit acclaimed actor who probably needed a paycheck. Well aware of what kind of movie they are in, the actors put in enough for you to enjoy their presence.
Perhaps the best compliment to pay "GI Joe" is that it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It does enough to make sure that you’d feel the 118-minutes you spent with it wasn’t completely wasted- at least it took your mind off work or whatever was bothering you. It is pure summer pulp- nothing more and nothing less.
Commentary with director Stephen Sommers and producer Bob Ducsay: Sommers doesn’t make for a particularly interesting commentator, and neither does his long-time producer Ducsay. The two don’t sound very excited to make this movie, nor provide their inputs on this commentary.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is wonderfully befitting of the cast, accentuating the film’s action sequences with deep and loud bass tones. Visual transfer is excellent, and the picture is smooth and crisp throughout.
Review by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 18 December 2009