Thursday, February 12, 2015

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

US soldiers Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) and their team are transporting some frightfully effective new nano weapons made by the company of one McCullen (Christopher Eccleston armed with the Scottish accent to end all Scottish accents) when they are ambushed by a group of masked, futuristically armed soldiers lead by Ana (Sienna Miller) the woman Duke would have married if not for Traumatic Flashback happenings, though for practical reasons, it’s best to call Ana the Baroness from now on.

Fortunately, another group of futuristically armed soldiers – hey, it’s our heroes of G.I. Joe (among them Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Ray “Snake Eyes” Park) – swoops in to the rescue at the last moment and manage to keep the Baroness and her men from getting the nanomites (I’m so sorry, I didn’t write the script, though). Duke and Ripcord are eager to join up with the group, and they’ll have important contributions to make once it turns out that McCullen himself is actually behind the attempted theft of his own merchandise, the bad guys attack the Joes secret headquarters, and a lot of things explode while also ninja stuff and mad science happens.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, Stephen Sommers, the worst, did something unpleasant to my childhood, and so on and so forth but honestly, despite my general loathing for most of the films the man has made, I had quite a good time with what was the best movie adaptation of a toy I knew before I watched the sequel, though the film of course generally doesn’t come close to the mad awesomeness of Larry Hama’s classic comics.

Given the film’s toy pedigree and Sommers’s usual modus operandi, it should come as no surprise that G.I. Joe isn’t exactly on the clever side, but then it is based on the adventures of a oh so secret group of soldiers calling themselves G.I. Joe fighting an evil terrorist organization that’ll get official embassies once it has provoked the Joes into accidentally bombing them an island to annex, so I don’t think that’s something I want to blame Sommers for. For a single movie, it’s clearly best to stick with the whole franchise as a delivery system for loud action, explosions, ninjas, bad jokes, and random weirdness, and as such, it’s pretty effective, though I don’t think any of the actual changes the film makes to franchise canon is one for the better.

Sure, the action is not very convincing for most of the time but at least it’s crazy, and unlike the sort of stuff you see in a Michael Bay film, shot in a way that’s actually meant to provide its audience with the appropriate amount of eye candy. Plus, things explode and there are ninjas, underwater bases, mini-mech suites and stuff, so my inner twelve-year-old (and he’s the guy this was made for, I’m positive) was pretty satisfied with the proceedings.

Because why not, the film’s basically infested with actors who are utterly overqualified for the material (apart from those already mentioned, there are also Lee Byung-hun, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Arnold Vosloo and Dennis Quaid doing their respective things), most of them seeming perfectly willing to pretend it’s all perfectly dramatic and exciting, some chewing scenery like champs, some doing horrible accents, everyone buying into the silliness around them with perfect dignity, as it should be.

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