An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer. 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.
/ Czech Republic
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
. Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
, Christopher Eccleston
, Grégory Fitoussi
, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
, Leo Howard
, Karolina Kurkova
, Byung-Hun Lee
, Sienna Miller
, David Murray
, Rachel Nichols
, Kevin J. O'Connor
, Gerald Okamura
, Ray Park
. Music by: Alan Silvestri
Whether his movies make insane amounts of money or not, I do not think I am alone when I ask how any scripts or story treatments by Stephen Sommers have been approved. Sure The Mummy was a very fun action movie with Brendan Fraser before he descended into parodying his everyman role in every film he has been in since. But since that romp, Sommers has consistently turned out subpar and atrocious work. The Mummy Returns was not a great movie by any stretch, and Van Helsing had very little redeeming it outside of Hugh Jackman's performance. So why else would I even believe to think G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra would be any different?
For everyone who claims it was a fun escapist film, or a decent popcorn movie, I ask this question: did we see alternate cuts of this movie? Because I have seen escapist fare, and enjoy just as many popcorn flicks as the next film-goer. But Rise of Cobra is neither. It manages to be so appallingly bad that I can only hope everyone involved is attempting to scrub it from their resumes and memories.
Following one of the most inane flashback sequences ever committed to the medium, the film jumps right into the dastardly plot of one James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), an arms dealer playing both sides and criminally intent on nuclear domination. Meanwhile, the worldwide secret task force named G.I. Joe is attempting to stop him, with the help of new recruits and former U.S. army rangers Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans).
If you were to turn on a blender and throw in a zany and diverse batch of supporting characters, a gorgeous assassin codenamed Baroness (Sienna Miller), ninjas, deadly nanotechnology that eats through anything it comes into contact with, an intense amount of CGI, people attending conferences and meetings by hologram, a partially written screenplay, a team leader played by Dennis Quaid, a fighter jet that only takes commands in Gaelic, and an uncanny resemblance to Team America: World Police, you would have Rise of Cobra. The movie simply has no idea from the start what kind of action movie it wants to be. It is dead serious about every single piece of technology used in the film (as bizarre and fantastically silly as they not so slowly become), and uses Wayans as the only real comic relief (outside what Tatum calls "acting"). This easily could have been a very tongue-in-cheek movie based off a wildly popular 1980s television and comic book series, but the film's creators seemed to have far too much reverence to the material.
I was never a fan of the original material, so I cannot hold anything against the creators for what changes have been made to plot lines and stories for each character. But I think I can blame them for some of the baffling and inexplicable twists the film takes in order to pad out the running time or extend someone's character in ways they never should have been. Flashbacks are thrown in at any given time, no matter the scene, to help flesh out characters and make certain elements make sense. While it is appreciated, it does not happen for each instance, and in almost all the times they do, they are usually tossed in at the worst possible moments. For what little amount of time I was actually involved in the storyline, a flashback sequence would take me right out of it. I know the script was hastily thrown together in the first place, but these scenes just feel lazy and forced. The majority of them could easily have been better described with a piece of dialogue.
While the script was an uninhibited and unbalanced mix of ideas stuck together by what I imagine is a writer's equivalent to super glue, the CGI was even worse and gives X-Men Origins: Wolverine a run for worst effects of the year. Outside of a rather specific fight scene in the final act, almost all of the fight sequences, the entirety of the foot chase through Paris (yes, you read that right) and the underwater battles that close the film, are all computer generated. There is so little effort even attempting to mask these effects that you can still notice the lingering jagged green screen around each character. So little is real in the film that when I noticed the CG'ed robot fish, I almost had to turn off the film. Rise of Cobra makes the effects-heavy Star Wars prequel trilogy look like the original trilogy before George Lucas jazzed them up. I know the effects can only help realize the world of Rise of Cobra, but it just feels like every last dollar not spent on the script or dialogue coaches was spent on making this film look more and more fake.
Acting wise, the film is a total failure to launch. Tatum, who is given the unfortunate task of carrying the film, gives wooden actors like Hayden Christensen a bad name. He has been acting for the better part of the decade, and he has still not learned how to deliver dialogue or even look like anything but a gorgeous model. He lacks charisma, and his extended relationships with Wayans and Miller are often times painful to look at. The majority of the supporting cast really does not do a whole lot in their roles, and I genuinely felt disgusted watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has been branching out into brilliant roles in the likes of Brick and (500) Days of Summer, stuck in such a terribly written one-dimensional role.
As the title not so subtly suggests, Rise of Cobra sets up for a sequel in its ending moments. I can only hope it will improve on everything here. There are some interesting ideas, a few amusing moments from Wayans, and an awesome fight scene, but not much else at all.
Review by DonFishies from the Internet Movie Database.