G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

I think I’ve been treating myself too much lately. I’ve been watching too many good films. The danger of doing this is that after a while, you fool yourself into thinking that most films are decent or at least serve some kind of artistic purpose. Praise Satan then, for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to metaphorically cock-slap me round the face and remind me to stop being so fucking naïve.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of shit on T.V. Most of the cartoons I watched were basically 20 minute adverts for overpriced toys. From what I gather (thankfully the G.I. Joe phenomenon bypassed the U.K.) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was an ’80s cartoon based on a toyline about an elite force of solidiers who all had codenames like “Blowtorch”, “Ace” and “Rimjob”. 30 years later, we now have feature-length adverts for plastic toss. It’s nice to know society has moved so far in two decades (!) So, if you’re still with me, this film is the movie adaptation of the cartoon which was based on the comic which drew inspiration from the toyline. Sounds like an Oscar winning formula to me!

“Technically, G.I. Joe does not exist, but if it did, it’d be comprised of the top men and women from the top military units in the world, the alpha dogs. When all else fails, we don’t.”

In the not-too-distant future, U.S. Army grunts Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are tasked with couriering “nanomite”-filled warheads, when they’re ambushed by mysterious baddies armed with supercool hi-tech weaponry — one of them Duke’s ex, Ana (Sienna Miller) — and saved by mysterious goodies with more supercool hi-tech weaponry. Turns out these goodies are G.I. Joe- an elite super-badass team who are each sold seperately. The plot is absolutely farcical. It’s unbelievably stupid and nothing long-suffering audiences haven’t seen a hojillion times before. If I think about it any more, my brain genuinely starts to hurt. The ridiculous thing is, despite the offensively simple plot, director Stephen Sommers manages to over-complicate things with needless flashbacks, resulting in a turgid mess of a film. To be fair to the actors, no one person sticks out as bad. Everyone manages to play their hackneyed roles straight-faced, churning out the godawful script with professionalism.

As I’ve said time and time again, I really don’t mind brainless boomfests. Fellow Hasbro stablemate Transformers wasn’t ever going to win any awards for acting or its script, but at least it was fun. G.I. Joe isn’t fun. I kept expecting it to become fun, but the action sequences left me cold. Part of the reason for this was that they are heavily reliant on CGI. There is no weight to anything. The visual effects are genuinely impressive, but the overall impression it leaves is a cutscene in a shit video game.

“Knowing is half the battle.”

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra doesn’t just embrace cliché, it makes sweet, sweet love to it and asks it to go steady. Every single supposed twist is signposted so clearly early on, I could have stopped watching 20 minutes in and been able to accurately predict what was going to happen. The inevitable counter-argument to this is the ol’ “kids’ movie” point. Yes, it is for kids, but there are much better films out there that are this kind of thing but better- the aforementioned Transformers for one. All this film wants to do is sell toys. That is it. It doesn’t entertain, it just peddles its horrible wares. Whilst watching the film, I was painfully aware that every vehicle and every character dicking about on screen had an action figure counterpart. At least television adverts are fairly short and less depressing. Avoid.

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