2 More Early "GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra" Reviews
Two bloggers over at AICN have sent in their early reviews of the movie, and guess what? They aren't all that bad!
Well, it seems that this movie may not be quite the train wreck everyone (except Leee!) thought it might be. At least according to this first blogger, "Mr Blonde". Neither review is by any means glowing, but far from scathing at the same time. Some spoilers ahead...
Just got back from a screening of G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and figured I'd send in a a review. There might be some spoilers, in case you care.
I've been familiar with G.I. Joe since I was a kid. I remember the cartoon, the silly PSAs and, of course, the toys. However, I was never a die hard fan or anything like that. After seeing the trailers, and realizing it looked pretty much nothing like the G.I.Joe I remember, I wasn't expecting much. So, with that said, here's the short version: It wasn't great, but it wasn't the train wreck I expected. Also, it was more enjoyable than Transformers 2.
Ok, here's the longer version. The first thing to know, is the movie is pretty cheesy for most of the running time. Cheesy, but fun. The best comparison I can give you for the tone of this thing is the original Street Fighter (only with a bigger scope, 800 times the budget and %100 less Jean Claude Van Damme). It's cheesy, light hearted fun. The action is cartoony most of the time but borders on badass at others (this mostly refers to anytime Snake Eyes is on screen). The effects were all over the place as well. Some stuff looked pretty good (the accelerator suit chase) other times it was typical Stephen Sommers cartoon cgi. We were told the effects near the end of the film weren't complete. I really hope that's true because some of the stuff during the underwater attack at the end looked like someone took a crap, colored it blue and threw it on screen.
Like I said above, it was more enjoyable than Transformers 2. One of the biggest reasons is the pacing. It was damn good. It didn't come to halt mid way through the movie or blow it's action-scene load too early. Each of the major set pieces was always bigger than the one before it, ratcheting things up nicely. It breaks up the action with flash backs to either Duke/Baroness or Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow. Most of these drag a bit, but are usually kept short and things get moving again quickly. Speaking of action, I could actually tell what was happing for the most part. The underwater battle at the end gets a bit confusing at times, but generally, Sommers sets up the geography of things well so you know what's happening. Also, the story actually makes sense (in the same manner that any "world domination" plot makes sense). It's not exactly deep, but at least it's coherent. They're definitely setting this up as a franchise given how it all ends. The last 10 minutes or so has a couple set ups for later installments, such as Cobra Commander making Destro his bitch and a (somewhat obvious) twist stolen right out of the first X-Men movie. The other main difference between this and Transformers is that this was devoid of low-brow humor. Sure, there were a couple slap stick moments involving Morlon Wayans (who was less annoying that I thought he'd be), but mostly it was cheesy humor that came from the characters. No "robot humping Megan Fox" here.
Believe it or not, there's actually some pretty cool stuff tech wise. The guns used by the MARS troopers, the Joe's base which they call "The Pit", just about every vehicle in the film are all fun and imaginitive. I particularly dug the jet pack thing Storm Shadow steels from the Joe's base. The best part of the movie, though, is definitely Snake Eyes. He has no lines and is just a complete badass. My only problem with him, is this: Why the hell does his suit have a mouth? He doesn't talk, and the mouth wouldn't move if he did. So why the hell is it there? It was actually kind of distracting. The rest of characters are nothing to write home about. They're never really boring, but they're never great either. Dennis Quaid seemed to be having a bit of fun as General Hawk though. He gets the infamous "Knowing is half the battle" line. The villains are all pretty much what you'd expect. Baroness is hot, Storm Shadow kicks ass, etc... Speaking to looks, Cobra Commander looks just as stupid as you think he will. He's much more menacing in the movie than I remember him being in the cartoon. His voice is lower and less raspy. I'm fairly certain it's not even Joseph Gordon-Levitt's voice (unless they modified it a lot). When he becomes Cobra Commander he comes off more like Darth Vader (poor comparison, he's no where near that cool) than the whiny coward I remember from the show. Destro is actually the main villain throughout the movie, but doesn't get his silver head untill the very end. It's CGI but actually didn't look too bad, though I'm hoping the effect was unfinished. It could use a little more work.
Obviously the movie is flawed. It has it's share of "wtf?" moments, like when Duke, Baronnes and Storm Shadow get out of a plane, on a polar ice cap, wearing Jeans and light jackets. Apparently it's not quite as cold up there as I thought. Must be global warming. Or like when 4 nanomite warheads apparently need to weaponized, a process that involves zapping them with lasers for about 30 seconds. Maybe i'm just not that knowledgable, but I though warheads were the weapon? No weaponizing necessary. Who knows.The movie is filled will stuff like this. But, silly science aside, the real weak link in the movie is easily Channing Tatum. He just doesn't seem like a military badass. They way he delivers lines, he sounds more like a whiny teen sometimes. Yes, i'm aware of how retarded it is to criticize the acting in a G.I. Joe movie, but he's the center piece of the movie and he just can't carry it. Part of the problem is his relationship with Baroness in the movie. Apparently 4 years ago they were engaged. Then Duke and her brother Rex (who later turns out to be Cobra Commander) go off to war and Rex "dies" and Duke and Baroness just stop talking, or something. I really don't know. She is later infected with nanomites by her believed to be dead brother which means he can control her like a robot. But eventually over the course of the movie, they make up and she miraculously overpowers the nanomite programming (wtf?) and helps Duke and the Joes. As dumb as that sounds, it's made worse by the fact that Tatum and Sienna Miller simply have no chemistry whatsoever.
So, like I said, it's a fun but flawed movie. It's pretty much what you would expect a summer action movie to be. The biggest question, I guess, is this: "Is it a G.I. Joe movie?" Honestly, I'd have to say "No." It's not quite the G.I. Joe I remember, but it is a big, cheesy, fun and silly action movie that kept me entertained for about 2 hours."
Here's the second review...
"Hey Harry, just got back from a pre-screening of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra and definitely have mixed feelings regarding the movie.
Like most people my age, I am 33, I grew up with GI Joe in one form or another. I was an only child so I was fortunate enough to have a slew of GI Joe toys, along with a number of the comics. The cartoon was something I enjoyed but I always considered the comic the more canonical of the bunch. Larry Hama's background in the military somewhat grounded the comic in reality, and I say grounded loosely, so I always viewed the cartoon with a grain of salt.
That being said, I don't have the view that Stephen Sommers has "raped my childhood" but I can say that the children in the screening were having a blast, and without a doubt were pushing their parents to buy whatever action figure for the character they most identified with. I realize that the marketing behind the movies now are all about merchandising (thank you Space Balls) and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra should do well. The movie reflected the high tech gadgetry of the cartoon but was surprisingly violent as there are many on screen deaths.
But enough of the history lesson, how is the movie you may ask? Well, it seems as though the screenwriters took bits and pieces from the file cards of the old action figures and copied and pasted them in the screenplay. Have you ever heard of Zartan? Did you know he is a master of disguises? Did you know GI Joe is a real American hero? Well you will know and as they say in the movie, knowing is half the battle.
Screenplay aside, this is a movie built around the action scenes and this movie delivers that. However, halfway through the action scene in Paris I was expecting the soundtrack to start blaring, "America, Fuck Yeah!" Team America style as the wanton destruction displayed elicited several chuckles from the audience. The end battle reflected the final battles found in Star Wars A New Hope and Return of the Jedi so much I half expected Lando Calrissien to blow up the reactor core to Destro's hideout.
Regarding the characters, the actor who portrayed Duke was wooden beyond all belief, Snake Eyeâ€™s mask had indentions from his lips, the Baroness had no accent, Destro's was so thick you could barely understand him, and everyone else seemed interchangeable. Dennis Quaid phoned it in as General Hawk while Branden Fraser makes a-- blink and you'll miss him --cameo.
The movie didn't make a lasting impression on me and while they set up a sequel, I have a hard time mustering any enthusiasm for it. However, I have a feeling that the movie is loud, violent, and pop-corny enough (is that even a word?) for the general populace to enjoy."
Well, there you go. Provided these guys are not plants(although i seriously doubt it) it looks like "Joe" may not suck quite as much after all!
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