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Home Reviews Cinema reviews G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 07 August 2009 14:23
Director: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Sienna Miller, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Certificate: 12A

G.I. Joe is a stupid title. Cobra is a stupid name. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra sounds incredibly stupid. And so is the film. Just to clarify, the "Joes" aren't people called Joe. They're a crack team of trained soldiers, with an endless supply of techno-wizard gadgets to solve every problem you could imagine. A giant armoured truck. There's a gadget for that. A heat-sinking missile. There's a gadget for that. I left my keys in the car. There's a gadget for that. It's like an exploding iPhone. My trousers are undone. Go, Joe, go!

The plot (there is one, just about) revolves around the evil double-dealing weapons manufacturer, McCullen (Eccleston). He's supposed to be Scottish - that's shorthand for evil. In fact, he's so evil he's got a nano-myte weapon which can eat through metal. Metal! Whoah! So naturally, he fires it at the Eiffel Tower, a sequence straight out of Team America that is actually accompanied by the line: "I've never forgotten what the French did to Clan McCullen!" Erm. Ok. Did you get that he's Scottish?

On the good side, meanwhile, are Duke (Tatum) and Ripcord (Wayans) - because that's a real name - who are recruited into The Joes due to Duke's romantic involvement with Ana (Miller). See, Ana went evil and got off with McCullen for some reason. She's probably a big Dr Who fan; it certainly wasn't his accent that did it. But never fear, because The Joes have a silent ninja bloke on their side, called Snake Eyes. He's like The Stig, but good with swords. Amidst all this character-driven drama, lots of thing blow up and metal gets destroyed (Whoah! Metal!) but wait a minute. Wasn't there some Cobra guy who was meant to rise?

Oh yeah, there was this guy (Gordon-Levitt). And he was all like "I'm a guy" and then, one day, while he was being all guy-like, he got, like, injured and became a bad guy. And this bad guy, who is, like, the same guy, but bad, is called Cobra. Wow. What a backstory. You can tell it's a backstory because it happens in a flashback. They like flashbacks. In fact, not a single scene happens without some kind of flashback to someone's childhood, or someone proposing to Sienna Miller, or someone getting their face burnt off. Even Snake Eyes has a rivalry with his nasty twin brother. Stuart Beattie - hang your head in shame. This screenplay is a long way from Collateral.

Luckily, it's directed by Stephen Sommers. He's one of those directors who knows how to make silly action films (see Van Helsing). It's stupid and shallow, but it is mildly entertaining. Even with its terrible script and ridiculous editing, G.I. Joe is still better than Transformers 2. Rise of the Cobra may not have any brains, but it certainly ain't boring. Nothing this loud could be classed as boring.

Eventually, the noise gets so loud that your ears start bleeding. This is what's called the big showdown. Apparently, it's a tribute to Thunderball. Well, it takes place underwater, I suppose. And while that happens? Ripcord's flying a plane through the air (Whoah! Plane!) but can't fire the rockets: apparently there are no buttons. Wait, there's a gadget for that: voice activation. Then, when shouting "fire" fails miserably, Scarlet (Nichols), the red-haired hot girl with brains, chips in with this advice: "The machine is McCullens! Maybe it only responds to Gaelic!" Did I mention he's Scottish? Maybe in the sequel they can have an Irish person, too.


Noisy, daft and dumb, G.I Joe is Hollywood's ideal action-blockbuster; it's terrible, and comes with its own line of toys. Yay America. And huzzah for Hasbro.





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