Goin' to the Movies

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Reviewin’ For You: ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’

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So, I finally broke down and saw one of my cherished childhood memories brought to live-action this weekend (as evidenced by the ticket you see above). What I came away with was a mixed bag of a decent action story with tons of CGI sprinkled with a little bit of flair and personality aimed at a younger audience or the kid inside all of us.

Follow me after the break for the full breakdown.Stephen Sommers (The Mummy 1 & 2) directs the G.I. Joe franchise’s first foray onto the silver screen and brings with him pieces of the action, adventure, and humor that made the first two Mummy films so successful. I say pieces because while many of the Sommers’ staples are here, including cameos by Brendan Fraser, Arnold Vosloo, and Kevin J. O’Connor, they don’t capture the same result.

That isn’t to say that “Joe” isn’t enjoyable. For me, it was. However, the film does require you to suspend your disbelief and if you can’t take the film for what it is, an homage to the action-figure franchise and a cautionary tale of sorts, you will likely leave disappointed.

Sommers ups the ante from the child-like nature of the franchise with a generous amount of cursing and violence, though no outright gore . While this doesn’t detract from the film overall, it is an observation to be made if you are trying to bring in the kids. Perhaps Sommers is smart enough to realize that those same kids who grew up on G.I. Joe cartoons are significantly older now and the film certainly earns its PG-13 rating.

Although the acting can feel stiff at times, the banter between the characters helps balance out the performances. Marlon Wayans (Ripcord) in particular provides enough comic relief to keep the film from being weighed down.

Sommers has been open about his various references to the James Bond series and he even uses huge set pieces for numerous action sequences, with the finale featuring an underwater fortress. Additionally, Sommers has claimed he utilized weapons technology that will almost all be real in 10-20 years.

The CGI and various special effects on the film are well-done in general and while the film almost constantly is in use of some special effect, it never becomes bothersome as the story moves along at a nice clip, changing locales from the North Pole, France, Egypt, and the US, among others.

There is back story for many of the main characters, including Duke (Channing Tatum), Snake-Eyes (Ray Park), and Baroness (Sienna Miller) that helps out those uninitiated with the franchise or that need a refresher. This is an origins story for many of the most popular characters and the rise of Cobra that lays the ground work for more films.

Speaking of sequels, Sommers has been vocal about his desire to make more G.I. Joe films and most of the principal cast are signed on for more films. With a total budget, including marketing, estimated at $325 million between Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment, the current worldwide box office gross of $250, 503,284 has provided enough financial support for Paramount to begin work prepping a second film. Remember, that $250 million total is without the DVD sales, which generally make up a large percentage of the revenue for films.

Overall, I would say that the film is a C+. It’s not a film you have to see, but if you have two hours to kill and want something entertaining and light, it fits the bill. Just remember to enjoy the ride for what it’s worth and not take it too seriously. After all, knowing that is half the battle.

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August 31, 2009 - Posted by | Reviewin' For You | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] the second Joe might actually surpass the first. Okay, that wasn’t too high of a goal, as I gave it a mixed review. Additionally, “Deadpool,” known for the main character’s sarcastic humor (his […]

    Pingback by For Love of Screenwriters: “Zombieland” Team Makes Rounds « Goin' to the Movies | January 12, 2010 | Reply


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