Sunday, August 16, 2009

G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra review

And so I watched G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra this week. I didn't actually plan on watching this, since I wasn't too excited from the trailers, and that I wasn't a big fan of the cartoon series. However, I did watch a fair share of the cartoon as a kid, and still remember a lot of the memorable characters in the series, such as Duke, Snake Eyes, Beach Head, Cobra Commander, etc. G.I. Joe was a integral part of any kid born in the 80s, and stands along side other classics such as Transformers and Mask. I'll give my views on the movie here, but it's full of spoilers so avoid if you want to catch the movie.The show promised to be action packed, with fantastic visuals, ninja fights, huge ass explosions, and high speed chase scenes. I wasn't expecting too much of a plot, since afterall it's based on a cartoon series and an existing toyline. I was right.
The plot was wafer thin, and raises more questions than answers the more you think about it. As an origin movie, it sets up the stage for the movie franchise by attempting to explain how to terror organisation "Cobra" plans to take over the world. No additional information was provided on Cobra, except that they are funded by a mysterious Scottish man who manages to build up entire underwater fortresses under ice caps. And of course, he has this genius evil scientist whom conveniently backstabs and takes over him without any resistance from the rest of the organisation. Throw in a love affair between the main protaganist and the leading lady and you nearly have a family reunion near the end of the movie. Well, as I said the plot isn't really the movie's strong point, but no one expected much in this area in the first place.
I thought Channing Tatum did well as Duke, although his character had some really lame lines. Some were cringe worthy, but he managed to pull it off as a special ops unit officer. On the other hand, I was skeptical about Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. When I see him, I see White Girls. Could have picked some one better, but he did work out for the role and looked good too.
Sienna Miller was hot as The Baroness. Her tiny gun packed a punch and she kicked ass with it. Makes you wonder why people still use swords when tiny guns can do so much damange. Again, her character was plagued with bad lines, and there was too much foreshadowing especially with her brother Rex. Looking hot made the dialogue more bearable, and it was pretty comical watching her climb out of her overturned vehicle and wearing her sunglasses. And yeah, "nice shoes". Rachel Nichols as Scarlett wasn't really as memorable, since she got her ass kicked in most of her screen time. She didn't even have the chance for revenge.
And yes, who can forget the ninjas! I loved ninja movies as a kid, even those horrible American ones. Head shot shurikens for the win! Anyway, Storm Shadow, played by Lee Byung-hun was easily my favourite character in the movie. He had the most personality, and also the best moves and also costume. Snake Eyes, played by Ray Park on the other hand, seemed bland and boring. Perhaps it was due to his mask and his vow of silence. He had a good role in the chase scene, but should have done more rather than hide in the shadows and call for backup. On the topic of the ninjas, I must relate back to the plot once again. I had the feeling that these 2 ninjas were trying to out do one another in a bid to become the number 1 emo ninja in the world. While I absolutely loved the scene where Storm Shadow starred at Snake Eyes in the face and said "Hello Brother" (my fave scene, hands down), it gave me promise and raised my expectations on an epic back story, and sadly the audience was let down horribly. I expected a history of bad blood between these 2 men, one filled with clan feuds, sworn enemies, entwined with bounded fate and destiny. Hell no. Instead we have 2 emo kids fighting, and when one lost he killed his master from the back and the other never spoke again. Damnit this is the biggest let down in the movie. They could have done so much more since these 2 characters would easily be the biggest stars and sell the most toys.

Last 2 characters I wanna talk about are Mc Cullen, AKA Destro. Fans of the cartoon would recognise this prominent character immediately, and we knew that some how he would get that iron mask on his face sooner or later. Still, more background would be good, perhaps to explain how he managed to get his resources. Rex, whom eventually became Cobra Commander, was a surprise since I was kinda expecting a new character to take up the mantle of the Supreme Commander. I have no big issues for him, but I really wanted him to retain his look in the cartoon series. Why not have the classic helmet and faceless mask? I read online that the mask was redesigned from the comics because the producers found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan. KKK? That was ages ago, and I'm sure they were referring to the mask and not the helmet! I loved Cobra Commander's design in the cartoon, and so I kinda hated his new look. Bring back his helmet if there is a sequel!Another rant I have is that, I was waiting for the war cry to happen throughout the movie. You know, the one that goes "Yo Joe!" Well, it finally came, but it was lacklustre at best. Heavy Duty was the one who finally said it, but it was when they were escaping from the enemy underwater base. It's supposed to be a war cry, not a victory cheer! :(

As an ending note, while the conclusion of the movie screams sequel, I like to remind people that many movies leave room for sequels which never arrive. While I'm sure this movie is bound to start a game and toy line, the sequel hasn't been announced, unlike Ironman 2 which was announced even before the movie reached its first week. End of the day, I liked this movie, more so than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. G.I. Joe promised action, and it delievered. Don't get too focused on the loose plot and obvious mistakes regarding physics, and I'm sure most movie goers will enjoy this movie. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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