Friday, August 14, 2009
Film Review: "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (***)
"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (PG-13)
Written by Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Levett. Directed by Stephen Sommers.
Starring Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordan-Levitt, and Jonathan Price.
Released by Paramount Pictures.
Feature Running Time: 1 hr. 58 mins.
Rated PG-13 (for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout).
"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" is not a great film by any means. But it proves why people go to the movies. It is almost storyless, and the plot it does contain is nothing short of absurd. The acting isn't very strong, even from one of the brightest young talents working today, Joseph Gordan-Levitt. But you have to admire the film for what it is - a no-brain, silly, campy, action-packed summer blockbuster. It's nothing more, nothing less.
The film, which moves along at warp speed I may add, is one of the most entertaining films you could ever ask for. Or it's one of the most boring films you could ever ask for, if you get bored by constant explosions and bullets being fired. Sure, there is going to be a large group of folks that hate the film. And that's okay. Not everyone wants to see explosions, sword-fights, and futuristic weaponry fetishes. But for anyone that does want to see any of those things on the big screen, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" will be a bit of a nostalgic journey.
I must say I was a little disappointed with the disposable acting in the film. Joseph Gordan-Levitt, one of my favorite actors, gave possibly the worst performance in the film. I can't quite go into his performance here, because it would give away the twist in the film, even though you will already realize the twist quickly. Marlon Wayons gives the film's best performance as Ripcord, the funny, charismatic soldier best friend of the film's main hero, Duke, played by the solid Channing Tatum. When Tatum and Wayans are on screen together, the film has its finest moments of both humor and chemistry between actors.
Dennis Quaid plays General Hawk, who basically stands around barking out orders at the soldiers of the group called G.I. Joe. It's funny. I never watched a single episode of the original "G.I. Joe" cartoon series, nor did I ever have a G.I. Joe action figure, so going into the film, I just expected Channing Tatum's character to be G.I. Joe. Don't make fun of me for saying that. I just didn't know.
Anyways, what I have given away about the characters and the story is enough. There aren't a whole lot of things going on in the film besides action scenes. Sure, there's a group of villains, led by the sexy Baroness, played by Sienna Miller. But the film is pretty much just about the good guys - G.I. Joe squad, and the bad guys - I don't know what to call them, fighting each other over an object which will sound absolutely ridiculous if I try to explain it.
"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" will not place in my top ten list at the end of the year. In fact, I almost gave the film a half a star less, which would basically mean a thumbs down for me. But I couldn't. And if you like having fun at the movies, you'll know why when you see the film. I gave "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" three stars, so why shouldn't I give the same to "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra". Both films have minimal plots, but are also fun and silly in a good way. I'm not warranting a recommendation for a theatrical viewing of "G.I. Joe". I think it'll be just fine for a DVD rental. But I am recommending it.