The Cynical Optimist Vs. G.I Joe


Good God, this looks horrendous. Leave it to Stephen Sommers, the director of such cinematic treasures like “Van Helsing” and “The Mummy,” to totally trash a franchise that had potential. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is an attempt to cash in on the nostalgic ’80s crowd who turned up by the millions to see Michael Bay’s “Transformers.”

Sommers doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing if you ask me. It seems that, for every one thing they get correct with this movie, they completely obliterate three or four more things. For instance, Ray Park playing Snake Eyes is some inspired casting that really makes sense. You know what doesn’t make any sense? Channing Tatum as Duke. Who in the fuck thought this was a good idea? We all know Mark Wahlberg was born to play the part, and yet here we have some kid with a six pack and not an ounce of credibility as the leader of G.I. Joe? Blasphemy.

Cobra Commander. Supreme bad guy, right? He’s up there with Skeletor, Dr. Doom, Megatron – the nastiest of all cartoon supervillains. When I heard that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had been cast to play him, I actually got excited. First off, the guy can act – and obviously the makers of G.I. Joe were going for a little bit of that “Heath Ledger” magic by casting a surprising choice as a lead villain.

Well, according to sources, the picture of “The Doctor” is in fact Cobra Commander. Where’s the sweet ass helmet with the visor thingy? Beats me. Where the hell is the awesome blue Pac-Man ghost shroud? Not a clue. Instead we have a fucking mish-mash of a “Dr. Who” villain with the Borg from “Star Trek.”

Seriously guys, is this the best you could come up with? The 1987 “Masters of the Universe” movie had more impressive character design. And don’t even get me started on Breaker over there, looks like a third place winner in a “Universal Soldier” costume contest.

G.I. Joe had an entire roster of unique characters – all of them had their own specialities and fashion sense. It was like pro wrestling, honestly, they all had gimmicks and their own part to play. Here, they’re all dressed in black motorcyle outfits with body armor. Take a look:

Sure, Snake eyes and Storm Shadow look awesome. You know why they look awesome? Well to begin with, they’re ninjas. History has shown that you simply cannot fuck up the badass appearance and demeanor of a ninja. Secondly, they look great because they closely resemble their cartoon counterparts.

The other characters presented here – Duke and Ripcord, Baroness and Scarlett – look so incredibly generic. In fact, the design of the posters themselves seem to portray that the actors know how bad this movie will be and thus, refuse to have their full faces shown on it. I can’t blame them.

Lets try giving the characters a little personality – a little uniqueness that makes them at least stand out in a crowd. If I were to see a team shot of the G.I. Joe squad, I might think I’m just looking at a production still from “S.W.A.T 2: Back in Flak.”

If this movie is somewhat entertaining, it will be thanks in part to some decent action sequences involving ninjas. I can’t imagine the final product resembling the cartoon we all know and love in any way. I’m not saying the ’80s G.I. Joe series is Shakespeare, but at least it was unique and imaginative.

I can imagine the tagline now: “If you liked 1994’s “Street Fighter: The Movie,” then you’ll love “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.” This pile of lame rubbish makes “Masters of the Universe” look like Citizen Kane. Jesus.