For over 25 years, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe brand has been a major seller in toy aisle across the United States. Over that course of time, numerous comic books and animated features have been produced for the toy line. In that time, though, there had never been a true live action movie. In 2009, that was changed with the production of Paramount’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. So how does this movie fare? Does it live up to the years of wait?
The movie opens with the main character, Conrad Hauser (Channing Tatum) and his partner, Wallace Weems (Marlon Wayans) being tasked with the delivery of an top secret weapon for the military. Before the two are able to complete their task, they are ambushed by the mysterious “Cobra” organization. This leads to the equally mysterious “G.I. Joes” entering the battle to fend off the Cobras. Conrad and Wallace, so enthralled by the Joes and their advanced weapons, find themselves eager to join the Joes. The pair receives the code names “Duke” and “Ripcord” respectively, and find themselves engaged in one battle after the next in order to recover the stolen weapons.
While that synopsis might sound somewhat interesting, the truth is that the movie wound up being far from interesting. Many of the spectacular battle scenes of the movie were somehow entirely boring. The writing of the script sounded as though it was being written by a cliché generating computer. The CGI special effects are poorly done and detract from the movie. All of these problems stem from a central issue that is evident in the movie; none of the charm from the past 25 years of G.I. Joe products and media is retained. The original toy line and media portrayed things in a goofy and sometimes outlandish nature, but there was almost always a nugget of military realism. The original characters had a charm to them, each with their own personality and specialty. The Rise of Cobra on the other hand, has many of the Joe team members wearing the same uniforms for the entire movie. The Joes themselves do not have any of the friendly team dynamic they once had, instead always picking at each other in an attempt to make the movie seem falsely witty. In fact, the only character that was enjoyable to watch was Marlon Wayans character Ripcord. Unfortunately, Wayans does not really have all that many appearances in the film. The rest of the characters range from being unlikeable jerks to being two dimensional static characters, resulting in why much of the movie is so utterly boring.
The overall plot of the movie involves the Cobra organization trying to use the stolen nanomite technology to commit acts of terrorism and take over the world. If this sounds like the plot of a typical episode from the ’80’s cartoon, that’s because it pretty much is. Unfortunately, the silly “use super science to take over the world” plot is played in an entirely serious manner. This means that the movie itself is unintentionally goofy, and becomes rather boring once the viewer realizes this.
In short, this movie is nothing more than a hastily produced movie that does not take into account what made the franchise so popular to begin with. Both the writing and the acting come off as wooden, and the movie winds up being a drab, uninteresting retailing of any number of episodes from the cartoon. This is an easily avoidable movie, and is one of the few movies that will make you feel as though you have lost a couple of valuable hours of your life from watching it.