G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (Stephen Sommers) 2009
To get the initial question out of the way: I would rather watch G.I Joe several times before watching Transformers 2.
In another preface to this review I must say I did not watch G.I. Joe as a kid so I can not say what has changed. I cannot also claim childhood rape at what the writers did or did not do in the movie as opposed to the show. I’m coming as anonymous Q. Citizen so that is my opinion.
So to get things going I’ll just say G.I Joe is not a good movie. In fact, it kinda sucks. However, that being said I didn’t hate this movie. Maybe blame it on the fact I had a delirious mind for staying up over 24 hours from insomnia and work but I was able to sit through it with a glazed over look in my eyes and let out a retarded chuckle every couple of minutes.
I guess the reason I can say that is while G.I Joe is dumb, its not offensively dumb. I’m not seeing racist humor, or big robot balls, or humor written for the lowest common denominator. So while the writing sucks, I wasn’t pissed off watching it. The movie has to deal with a super secret terrorist organization that wants a set of nano-bots that can destroy entire cities. Another super-secret organization called G.I. Joe (now an international organization and not an American force) is established to stop it. I could go on for pages and rant for an hour on the many plot holes and problems with the story. Suffice it to say, you will get more enjoyment if you go in riffing than trying to actually understand it. It doesn’t help that apparently every character is connected through unbelievable luck and circumstance. Suddenly “I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate” doesn’t seem that ridiculous.
That’s not even my biggest beef with this movie. My biggest beef is with how sh*tty the graphics look. This is like Playstation 2 graphics. I do not believe that a movie with a 200 million dollar budget can look less sophisticated than Gears of War. There is the climax where there is a huge sub battle and it is pathetic. The rest of the movie has car chases and planes flying and they just make you shake your head at the crappy craftsmanship at work. I really can’t say enough.
The acting is overall okay. Christopher Eccleson is the MVP of the movie where he is giving it his all in chewing the scenery. Dennis Quaid is…borderline annoying with his John Wayne impression. Sienna Miller and Channing Tatum are fine. My two real complaints with the casting are as follows. Who had the bright idea to cast the British Johnathan Pryce (with a pronounced British accent in the movie) as the President of the United States? I almost expected him to say “Cheerio!” while drinking a cup of tea. The second is Marlon Wayans as the token black comic relief. Did we not learn anything from Dungeons and Dragons? I think I speak for the rest of the world when I say I don’t want any Wayans brothers in my movies. They can do whatever Scary Movies they want but stay out of my movies (exception Requiem of a Dream).
Now that being said I did enjoy some of the action scenes. The gun battle scenes, the chase in the accelerator suits, and especially the ninja battles between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were great. It goes on for a little too long but not so long that it bored me. Overall, I was able to watch it in a campy “so bad its good” sort of way. I could riff on the stupid plot while being mildly entertained by the action. If I were at all invested in the GI Joe show as a kid I could see being pissed off by this movie. They do deserve better. I know you could never make a Dark Knight adaptation of the source material because that was pure cheese as well. But you can do a lot better than Stephen Sommers making your reboot. That is probably the biggest disappointment with the movie. Even someone like McG could have done a better reboot that would have been a nice starting point for the Joe series. I also think the sooner they move away from sh*tty special effects to real flesh and blood stunt actors again the world will be a much better place.
So do I recommend it? Eh, not really. Even the friends I went with (who for them, this movie was right up their alley) said it was “meh”. You pretty much know from the trailer what kind of movie you are getting into (sadly enough). But I was mildly entertained by the camp value. So lets hope we get someone better than Stephen Sommers next time yeah?