G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA
From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE military 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.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Video game and comic book sensibilities to the fore, G.I. Joe is cool. The word is used a couple of times, but it's way cooler than that implies. Youngsters (anyone up to about 24) will whisper 'cool' with jaws dropped every 85 seconds or so, as the gizmos, gadgets, weapons and other toys of the future flash before their eyes. The effects are riveting, from the big bangs to the smaller trinkets, like miniature mechanical bugs that eat anything. That's the new weapon of the future, and it's made by MARS Corp, which sells arms to all sides; it also sells defensive gear, just to make sure the whole market is covered. Obviously, weapons manufacturers take the brunt of the odium in this film.
Director Stephen Sommers has made a film directed specifically at the youth market, churning out the wooden, melodramatic dialogue, where the baddies utter threats in gravely voices and moral choices are easy to make.
It's probably not important to know exactly what is going on in the endless battles and fight sequences, because the good guys will always win. It's also not possible, since the action is chopped and ground in a frenzy of action. Spectacular stunts follow each other in dazzling sequence, and the actors have very little time to do more than spit out lines. Still, there are some flashbacks, which establish backstories for some of the key characters, and there are some jokes sprinkled through the movie that lighten the mood.
The G.I. Joe team has an impressive enemy with a mighty goal: world domination, no less. And that's good, because anything less would seem puny in the context of this cataclysmic film.
Dennis Quaid and Jonathan Price are the veterans in the cast, and they happily slip into overdrive and the spirit of the escapade. For all its bravado, though, I think the endless violence and destruction build into a negative, nihilistic abyss, despite the triumphal climax. And the ending isn't exactly filled with hope for mankind, although I suspect it's meant to be satirical.
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G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (M)
CAST: Sienna Miller, Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Byung Hun Lee, Ray Park, Saïd Taghmaoui, Marlon Wayans, Jonathan Price,Brendan Fraser
PRODUCER: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Bob Ducsay, Stephen Sommers
DIRECTOR: Stephen Sommers
SCRIPT: Stuart Beattie & David Elliot & Paul Lovett
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mitchell Amundsen
EDITOR: Jim May, Bob Duchay,
MUSIC: Alan Silvestri
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ed Verreaux
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 6, 2009