G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
dir Stephen Sommers
scr Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Bob Ducsay, Stephen Sommers
with Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans, Christopher Eccleston, Dennis Quaid, Rachel Nichols, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Saïd Taghmaoui, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo, Leo Howard, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jonathan Pryce, Brendan Fraser
release US/UK 7.Aug.09
09/US Paramount 1h58
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
New recruits: Tatum and Wayans

miller sccleston quaid
See also:
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) Snake Eyes (2021)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Frankly, this is what summer movies should be like. The filmmakers have harvested the coolest elements from blockbusters over the past five or six years and thrown them all into one wildly entertaining, thoroughly over-the-top action thriller.

US soldiers Duke and Ripcord (Tatum and Wayans) are guarding a terrifying new nano-weapon when they're attacked and then defended by two outrageously high-tech assault forces. They of course eventually join the good side, the G.I. Joes, an elite team led by General Hawk (Quaid). These top commandos (including Nichols, Taghmaoui, Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Park) are hunting Duke's ex Ana (Miller), who has gone over to the dark side to help supervillain arms dealer McCullen (Eccleston) and his Vader-esque evil-doctor sidekick with their nefarious plan for world domination.

From the prologue (in 1641 France), the film is a riot of corny dialog, wild overacting and nutty plotting. But it somehow comes together into a consistent tone, with a driving pace that propels us through each increasingly nutty set piece. It's like gadget porn with pulse-shooting guns, super-strength suits and bullet-proof armour, plus swords, explosives, missiles and good old-fashioned cat fights in the sky, sea, mountains, deserts and cities. A hyper-destructive chase through Paris is hysterical in every sense of the word.

All of this is rendered with swooping camera work, constant effects and frenetic editing. In other words, this looks like the lovechild of Tony Scott and Michael Bay. But no, it's by Mummy-man Sommers, which kind of explains why it's so much fun to watch. Everything about this film is a fantasy, and most of it is borrowed from the likes of Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, James Bond and even Harry Potter. In this "near future", digital effects are a fact of everyday life.

Bizarrely, the characters actually are allowed to develop beyond their toy-figurine roots. Everyone has a back-story (flashback alert!) that weaves into the madly convoluted narrative, not to mention romantic subplots and "surprise" revelations. All of which makes this easily the summer's best guilty-pleasure blockbuster. And don't act surprised that it sets up a sequel; the hint is right there in the title.

cert 12 themes, strong violence, language 3.Aug.09

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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall