After the travesty that was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I was highly sceptical of this attempt at bringing yet another Hasbro franchise to the big screen, but I actually found G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra to be less offensive. Don’t get me wrong; it’s just as big, loud and dumb as its cousin, but what’s different is that it takes itself just seriously enough to be respectable.
Directed by Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing), it’s an action movie in the purest sense of the word with one energetic sequence after another leaving you almost no time to catch your breath. In the session where I watched it, there were a bunch of idiots who insisted on talking loudly throughout the whole movie. Normally this would’ve really pissed me off, but there were only two mercifully short scenes that were quiet enough for them to even be a bother at all, that’s how loud and intense this movie was.
The biggest let down was the script. One example is the scene where the antagonist, McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), gives the orders to “launch the missiles”. His minions duly respond that they’re launching the missiles, followed by a shot of the missiles launching. As the Joes arrive at the enemy base, we see another shot of the missiles soaring into the sky, and the script has one of them remark upon this, in case you didn’t get it the last few times.
The characters are pretty incidental to the plot, featuring standard comic book fare such as black ninja vs. white ninja, good chick vs. bad chick, the renegade vs. the incorruptible, etc. I never watched the cartoon series as a kid, so I can’t really comment on whether they are true to the original.
The CGI was fairly impressive, particularly the chase scene through Paris, and while many would have marvelled at the fantastically improbable sci-fi gear such as the Accelerator Suits, what amazed me the most was that Sienna Miller’s stick-thin legs didn’t snap from doing all sorts running around in those impossibly high heels that she was always wearing. Suffice to say, there was plenty of eye candy as befits the genre.
So don’t let the “movies as art” crowd and the negative reviews sway you. G.I. Joe is a decent flick if you leave your cynicism at the door.
Update: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a novel version available…