Friday, August 7, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review

Just as a warning there minor spoilers for the movie in the review though I'll try to limit it at best I can.

Before I start this review for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra I am going to admit I have never really
been a fan of the toy franchise, cartoon, or have any experience reading the comic book. The only GI Joe toy I had as a kid was a Snake Eyes toy. Personally as a kid I played with those old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the 80s and 90s cartoon, Power Rangers, and with some Marvel and DC superheroes toys. So going into this movie as completely new into the franchise with the only thing I know is that Snake Eyes is a badass.

Going into this movie I thought it would be a typical action movie that is nothing more than a
waste of 2 hours. And really my expectations for this movie could have been lower.

From the few trailers and commercials I saw of this movie I went in thinking it would be similar to
Transformers 1 and 2 teasers. I went in thinking Paramount Pictures, the distributor of the movie, just showed us all the action scenes in the trailers and not really have a good clear story behind it ala Transformers 2, though I did not hate Transformers 2 as I liked it for what it was.

But to my surprise I actually came out liking this movie a lot. Just like most first movies of a franchise now a days G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is yet another origin story movie of not the
team but of the central characters of the movie namely Duke, Ripcord, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, The Baroness, and the Cobra Commander. Outside of those characters all the other characters origins are only briefly mentioned during the course of the movie.

From what I can tell the director and writers of the movie did a good job picking these characters as the ones to tell their origins about. All the characters had interesting backstories and for the most part the actors did a very good job giving these characters a lot of charisma and show why the characters are well liked by fans. Though at times there was the occasional cheesy dialogue that most action movies have anyways.

Out of the characters origin story that were the best told and detailed was the one showing us the connection between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and why they are rivals. And this whole movie could have be devoted to those two characters backstories and various fights and I would have been happy. The fight choreography for the whenever these two fought, whether in the childhood flashbacks or in the present, was very well done and the highlight of the film.

I honestly came out of the movie theater wishing we got to see more of Snake Eyes in the film than we did. The writers really did a great job with the character and showing why the character is such a badass.

Outside of those two characters probably my favorite character in the film was The Baroness. I've be lying if I didn't say that it was in no small part because of the actress portraying her, Sienna Miller, wasn't smoking hot. Sienna Miller did a great job giving The Baroness both the character plenty of sex appeal and badassness. I did find it interesting to see that The Baroness wasn't actually evil but being controlled by her brother, but more on him in a bit, and the relationship between her and Duke.

As for Duke and Ripcord, who could be considered the stars of the movie, were well handled for the most part as rookies within the Joes. I don't really have much to say about the characters
other than they both played the role of the heroes of the movie, along with Snake Eyes, well. The actors did a good job giving the movie comedy, specifically Ripcord (Marlon Waynes), and they had a great scene with the accelerator suits.

Were this movie really falters is with the members of Cobra, outside of The Baroness, never
really interest me, specifically the guys who play Cobra Commander and Destro. Something about the performance of the two actors just didn't click for me. The performance felt like it was enough to push the story forward to build up this movie franchise but they never do more than that to make either performance memorable. And didn't really like the connection between Cobra Commander and The Baroness as it felt a bit forced in order to give more drama for the two characters and Duke. But I guess for the origin movie that is fine, I just wish Cobra Commander would have worn mask from the toy and comic line than the metal mask that they gave him.

Also while Duke, Ripcord, and Snake Eyes were well developed
the rest of the Joes weren't really well developed. The Joes from the Alpha Team, Hawk, Scarlett, Heavy Duty, and Breaker, were just their as supporting characters and never really given much to do other than watch Duke, Ripcord, and Snake Eyes save the day. And with how strongly The Baroness was developed throughout the movie I couldn't help but feel that Scarlett could have been develop much more than she was.

Now as for the plot itself it was probably the most comic book feeling type story that these toy/comic book based movies have been. At no point do the writers try and convince you that this is something that could take place in the real world. The whole plot felt like something
straight of a comic book.

While that may sound like a bad thing it's not. I actually think it is a good move by the writers, director, and producer to make this movie franchise feel like it is a comic book as almost every comic book movie being produced is aiming to make the story and characters feel like they can exist in our world. And I think they set up the movie as a good launching point for a movie franchise especially with how the movie ends.

Personally, the movie's plot is actually refreshing as everyone involved just lets their imagination run wild and try to think of some things that wouldn't be possible in the real world and make them happen in the movie.

The Joes secret base is under a desert in Egypt, the villains have big secret underwater base in the North Pole, accelerator suits, camouflage suits that make you invincible and have a 360 sight, holo deck-type training, and other stuff that would not exist in our world. And that is really what has been missing from other comic book movies like Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, The Fantastic Four, and others were they try and give a scientific explanation for everything to make you think this stuff could actually happen. It is not a bad thing for those movies and I have actually liked what they've done with Batman Spider-Man, and Iron Man but having that sense that this stuff can only happen in your imagination is a nice way for G.I. Joe to set itself apart from other comic book movies.

As for the CGI work done in this movie I will say that there were specific spots like when we first go to the desert location were the Joes are located and other scenes that weren't very well done. Some of them, specifically the first desert scene, felt like it was work done for an old PS2 game. Overall though the CGI did a good job with all the action scenes and the accelerator suit scene in Paris was fun to watch.

Were this movie does shine though is all the action we get in the movie. There very few slow moments in the movie as there was almost always some sort of action going down or someone getting beat down. And really that is what I came into this movie looking for. The movie plot was secondary. The fight and stunt coordinators did a very good job giving this movie plenty of great action scenes. I especially liked the fights between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow that we get throughout the movie with their fights in the past and present.

Now would I put this up there with my favorite movies of the year? Not really, but for what it was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is an entertaining 2 hour action movie. G.I. Joe is one of those movies were you just got to go in thinking it as a good action movie and nothing else. As long as you go into this movie expecting that, similar to how you have to think of Transformers 2, you will like. But if you are expecting greatness from the movie you will be highly disappointed. Just go into the movie theater thinking about having some fun watching some good action and let your imagination run wild and you will most likely like the movie.

Final Verdict
Good summer/popcorn action blockbuster movie that is fun to watch that is worth watching. As long as you do not have high expectations about getting a great story and just have fun with it. And really that is what watching movies is all about. Just go in and enjoy the ride.

Movie Rating – 7.5 out of 10


BJay said...

I agree with your assessment of the movie. I knew going in that it was just going to be a fun ride and that's what I got, a fun ride. The Baroness was hot!

I did hate the cobra commander mask and voice after he puts the mask on. That's probably my only complaint for the movie.

Kevin said...

@BJay: That was my biggest complaint of the movie. The look they gave Cobra Commander just didn't feel right and his mask was horrible.