Day 11 of the JGL-a-thon sees me with nothing to watch. I went through all the ones on Watch Instantly that I wanted to touch on, and I'm still waiting on one more to be sent to me from Netfllix. For the record, I am saving (500) Days of Summer for the very end. So, today, I'm doing my first, and hopefully last, repost, spruced up to fit my current format. This review was written a year ago, and my writing was nowhere near up to the level it is now, so... don't judge me too hard. Also, some things might not make sense, but, again, this was written a year ago.
Well, I'm back from New York. I had a good time. I won't discuss it here. That's for another time. So, anyway, I'm back, so, it's back to business. I got lot's of movies to see. First off the assembly line is G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This one is a bit of a conundrum for me. G.I. Joe is awfully written, poorly acted, badly produced, with atrocious direction and worse special effects. But, I don't really care. Here is a movie that is so ridiculous, so stupid, so balls to the wall, eye rolling childish, yet, at the same time, so friggin' awesome, that I can't really give it the Michael Bay treatment. So, fine. G.I. Joe, you are not awful, but don't let it go to your heads.
Say Hello To The Team!
Rise of Cobra is an origin story, kind of. It sees soldiers Duke and Ripcord as they are initiated into G.I. Joe, which is a team of super badass commandos from all over the world. Soon, they are sent globe trotting as they attempt to foil a sinister plot from a weapons manufacturer, Destro, and his crew of genetically enhanced super soldiers (are there any other kind of super soldier) from destroying multiple cities around the world. Along the way, an old love is rekindled, redemption is found, and the real mastermind behind all the mayhem is revealed.
Does any of this sound familiar? It's the same basic plot behind, well, a lot of action movies these days. The plot in this movie is fairly stupid, but it serves it purpose, which is to get the characters from one location to the other so that they can blow that location up. It's alright, I guess.
In terms of acting, Rise of Cobra is one hell of a stinker. Channing Tatum plays main character Duke. He's... not bad, if unremarkable. I find it really funny that he stars in an anti-war film (Stop-Loss) and then does this. I don't know. Seems ironic.
Marlon Wayans, of all people, plays Ripcord. The really sad thing about his performance is that he almost reminds me of the Marlon Wayans who can act, the Marlon Wayans from Requiem for a Dream, or The Ladykillers. He is pretty bad, but given the caliber of his more recent performances, this one's not as scummy.
Other Joe members include Rachel Nichols, who is awful, as Scarlett, Adewalde Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who is awful, as Heavy Duty, Said Taghmaoui, who is awful, as Breaker, and Ray Park, who is awesome, as Snake Eyes. I'm not even gonna talk about Dennis Quaid as General Hawk. He's barely in the movie.
On the bad guys side, we have Sienna Miller as the sexy Baroness. She's pretty bad. Sure, she's practically melting the film, she's so hot, but that's all that she has going for her. Her complete change of character in the end is so laughable.
Christopher Eccleston plays arms dealer McCullen, soon to be known as Destro. He is chews up so much scenery that I was afraid the walls would start falling apart. He's not bad. I mean, Christopher Eccleston is usually pretty good, but this is far from his work on Doctor Who, or in 28 Days Later.
The last guy worth talking about is the saddest addition to this cast. That's right, my favorite actor working today, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a doctor who will come to be know as Cobra Commander. It's not that he sucks; he's actually good. It's just that I've come to expect higher standards from him. He's currently in (500) Days of Summer right now, which I still have to see. I never expected him to sell out like this. Oh well.
Stephen Sommers, the guy behind The Mummy, and Van Helsing, is the real problem here. If any movie is going to break his already fading career, it will be this one. The direction is this movie is some of the worst I've seen this year. Sommers has no idea what to do with his actors. All of them, except Park, look completely lost in the action scenes, and all of them, except Park (who doesn't speak) and Levitt, look completely lost in the speaking sections as well.
It would be fine, if the special effects looked decent, then maybe we could ignore the awful acting, but this is not the case. Everything in this movie, from the ridiculous accelerator suits, to the obligatory underwater lair of the villain, look so cheap and fake! You would think, with a profitable franchise and a big studio backing it, that the production would have spent some time making the special effects look, you know, decent, but they, for some reason, thought that they would spend it on... something else. Just look at the first shot of the trailer, where you see a fleet of submarines gliding towards an underwater base, and just try and tell me that it looks real. JUST TRY!
Now, I've been bitching about this movie for a while, and all the negative things I said were well deserved. But here's the crazy thing. I walked out of G.I. Joe with huge grin on my face. This is one fun movie! Unlike Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, where you actually noticed the terrible acting and direction, something about Rise of Cobra makes you forget about all those bad things when the action picks up. Picture this. A team of super soldiers invades a base by riding massive drills into it. They then proceed to blow it to hell with guns that basically replicate a the throw move from Mass Effect. (If you didn't get that reference, then you don't play good video games.) Pretty soon, people are shooting at each other. A guy gets a grenade shoved down his throat. Two ninjas have an epic sword fight. Two hot babes bitch slap each other. And then, the bad guys exit the premises in friggin' jet packs. Come on! That's friggin' awesome! All the action scenes are like that. Literally, every single one, and there are a lot. There is enough explosions in here to rival Terminator: Salvation and Transformers. Plus, Ray Park as Snake Eyes does some of the coolest shit on screen this year, and doesn't utter a single word while doing it. So badass!
So, yeah. From a technical standpoint, G.I. Joe is the worst movie of the year. From a pure entertainment standpoint, well, it's not even close to the best, but it sure isn't the worst. There are a lot of better movies playing right now that you should spend you money on, but, if you just want some goofy fun before school starts again, look no further. Yo... yeah, I'm not doing that.