Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher
Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Byung Hun Lee, Sienna Miller,
Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Said Taghmaoui, Channing Tatum,
Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid
RunTime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG (Violence)
Official Website: http://www.gijoemovie.com/
Opening Day: 6 August 2009
Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the
worldwide blockbuster "Transformers," join forces
with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure
"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." From the Egyptian
desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE
team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment
to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat
of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from
plunging the world into chaos.
Although G.I. Joe never reaches the heights of other toy lines such as Transformers or Mask in Singapore, most of us who grew up watching cartoons on Channel 5 and not Kids Central will remember the short-lived cartoon series and Hasbro’s constant bombarding of the toy commercials.
The concept was originally based on the 1964 12" action figures and slowly evolved into a complex mythology by 1982 for the relaunch of the toy line all thanks to extensive marketing through animated TV series and Marvel Comics. Of course, G.I. Joe was more widely embraced by the Americans for they basically represent the four major branches of the US Armed Forces.
In this Stephen Sommers’ live-action adaptation, with the recruitment of two rookies, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), the elite team called G.I. Joe is activated to fight against an arms industrialist, MARS which is bent on unleashing havoc to the world. Who else do you rely on saving the world? None other than the real American heroes. But not to worry though, the political subtext in this flimsy script that require the assistance of three writers including Stuart Beattie (Collateral), David Elliot (Four Brothers) and Paul Lovett (Four Brothers) to put together is as good as the time you spent playing with the toy figures in mum’s kitchen with your own self-made KABOOM sound effects.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy G.I. Joe. In fact, G.I. Joe has lots more to offer than what the measly trailer has revealed. The cast assembled include heavyweights such as Dennis Quaid, Indie Queen and King Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Korean superstar Lee Byung Hun, Jonathan Pryce and upcoming young star, Channing Tatum and white chick Marlon Wayans. This is not a prestige stage play we are talking about and having a number of respectable actors playing characters such as Duke, Ripcord, Baroness, Snake Eye, Storm Shadow is definitely a consolation. At least we can expect a certain level of decent acting to be present. Included in the cast for good measure are Mummy alumni, Brendan Fraser (in a blink-and-miss cameo) and Arnold Vosloo.
Then again, Sommers is not one who pay particular attention to his cast, like our younger selves who are more engrossed in blowing up mum’s kitchen and appliances with the G.I. Joe figures, the pacing is remarkably fast with one major action sequence following the other. Sommers evenly distribute the action by aerial, sea and a prolonged sequence that literally blows up the streets of Paris and landmark. And in the grand tradition of the toy line, there are sophisticated weaponry including power suits, gadgets and other crazy combat vehicles that will set off your adrenalin. This is Sommers at his very best, the action sequences are ridiculously enjoyable and less repetitive than most action stuff commonly seen on the screen.
One obvious letdown is the cheesy special effects which are a plentiful in the movie. No doubt, G.I. Joe will be heavily compared with another Hasbro property, the Bayhem’s Transformers series which boasts believable metallic bodies and background while most of the money shots here are too detached from reality and surprisingly cartoony. If you are a fan of Sommers’ past film credits including The Mummy series and the horrid Van Helsing then I suppose you wouldn’t mind the whole unflattering CG factor here.
While the Transformers series has Megan Fox as eye candy, Sommers has his two leading ladies Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols parading in tight leather suits to appeal to the hormones raging males. Marlon Wayans (in a less irritating mode) not surprisingly provide the laughs here. As the title implies, the story is about how the evil COBRA rises, Sommers to his credit did manages a little backstory and flashbacks amidst all the noises but I suppose he has more fun concocting a never-before-seen brutal fight between two young kids than a half-baked romance between Duke and Baroness.
However unlike Bay’s showy or some might argue tasteless attempt in Transformers (horny doggies, closeups, slow-mos etc), Sommers’ G.I. Joe will be more pleasing to the nitpickers. The issue of CG aside, G.I. Joe fits the bill of a summer blockbuster aptly. Loaded with plenty of explosions, sophisticated technology, sword fighting to entertain the masses, G.I. Joe is a wet dream comes true for most boys and ahem men despite the fact that lot of us in real-life hates to don the green uniform and carry a real rifle. Paramount has yet again scored a potentially money-milking franchise.
(The mission is a go! G.I. Joe is a crowd-pleasing action flick worthy of your last $10 bucks)
Review by Linus Tee