Last night I had the chance to go to a midnight screening of G.I. JOE: Rise of Cobra. I am a big G.I Joe fan since I was a child. I had all the toys, watched the show whenever it was on, and had all the comics. When I heard they were making a live action movie based on G.I. Joe I had my reserves.
First of it was going to be directed by Stephen Sommers. Not one of my favorite directors in the world, but the guy does know action. I haven't really enjoyed his last flavor of movies, those being "The Mummy", "The Mummy Returns" and "Van Helsing". But I thought I would give him the benefit of the doubt, especially with the source material that we were dealing with. Rise of Cobra was written by Stuart Beattie, who helped penn 'Australia" and "30 Days of Nights. He was joined by David Elliot("Four Brother") and Paul Lovett("Four Brothers"). I thought they handled the story well. They hit the right notes when needed, especially in the comedy sections. I thought the light heartedness that was in the movie worked well and didn't seem forced or lame. The movie itself had a darker tone than I was expecting and worked very well in setting up the franchise that is expected to follow.
To those who don't know G.I Joe is the code name for a miliatry group that "doesn't exist". They come out to resolve issues when everything else fails. They are lead by General Hawk(Dennis Quaid). Quaid does a good job as Hawk, He doesn't get a a lot of screen time, but he also doesn't part take in the battles. He's the guy that give the Joes thier directives and makes sure the missions go without any hitches.
The setup for the movie is that of an origin story, hence subtitle Rise of Cobra. We get to see how Cobra was formed and how the evil military group rise to power. The movie starts back in the year 1641 and shows the head of the McCullen family taken prisoner by the French. His punishment for crimes against the State is not death, but he must wear an iron mask. This mask has first been heated over open flames before being seared to his face. The people that get this punishment become known as Destros. We then move ahead to the not so distance furture. We have McCullen(Christopher Eccleston), who is a descendant of the man we saw in the opening. He has his company MARS and is in talks with NATO to get funding for nanobyte weapons. These weapons can have many nanbytes, tiny robotic organisms that can eat through anything. McCullen explains that there is a kill switch to stop the nanobytes once the target objective has been neutralized.
Enter in Duke(Channing Tatum) and Ripcord(Marlon Wayans). I have to say I rather liked Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. He has a good part of the comedy in the movie, but it actually works. Tatum does a good job bringing Duke to the big screen. Duke and Ripcord are given orders to protect the case of warheads that have the nanobyte technology. Needless to say they are stopped by a rogue military group lead by The Baroness(Sienna Miller). A huge battle takes place. Duke and Ripcord are rescued by the Joes Heavy Duty(Adewale Akinnyoye-Argaje), Scarlett(Rachel Nichols), Breaker(Said Taghmaoui) and Snake Eyes(Ray Park)
Duke and Ripcord are given provisional status with the Joes to help them catch The Baroness. We find out through backstories that Duke and The Baroness whose name is Ana had a life together. This is one thing that I liked about the movie is that we see back stories for the characters and it helps not only time them into the story but gives us a connection with them.
The movie flies along at a hectic pace. Sommers has given us tonnes of action and explosions and really cool high tech weaponry. The inner geek in us I think will smile when we see the battle betweek Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I was very happy to see the back story of how Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes became mortal enemies. We even see the makings of Cobra Commander.
I was surprised to see a high body count in G.I. Joe . Death and destruction were aplenty in the many battle scenes that graced the screen. Like I said earlier, I found the movie to have a darker tone than I was expecting, but still maintaining the fun and feel of the series.
I don't really have any gripes about the movie. That being said, the movie isn't perfect or the be all end all to action movies. What G.I Joe does is give us a great fun and exciting summer blockbuster movie. It hit's all the notes, explosions, fights, action, thrills, you name it G.I Joe delivers it. I guess my only down turn of the movie is that it ends. I was wanting the next adventure to start. When it's all over it gets you thinking of what is in store next for the Joes and where Cobra is going to go from here.
The movie exceed my expectations and I truly enjoyed this movie more than Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen. I really felt Sommers did the G.I. Joe universe justice with Rise of Cobra. Now if he can only keep it up for the sequel.