The Cynical Optimist 12/8/09


The Cynical Optimist Vs. G.I Joe

Back in January, I posted a column entitled, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe!” with my initial thoughts on the G.I. Joe live-action film adaptation. Here’s a little snippet:

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 tag line 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.


”G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is a cartoonish, over-the-top action flick fueled by silly writing, outdated visual effects, and laughable performances. It is reminiscent of ’80s camp fests such as ”Masters of the Universe”, ”Flash Gordon” and ”Howard the Duck”.

Stephen Sommers’ latest film, to its credit, isn’t the worst film of 2009. There have been far more disappointing pictures, like the disastrous Wolverine and the severely underwhelming ”Terminator: Salvation”. ”G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” may even be more entertaining than Michael Bay’s ”Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, though the special effects are outdated even by ’90s standards.

Luckily, ”G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” crosses the threshold of being so incredibly bad that it’s actually entertaining. It was like watching a live-action episode of the ’80s cartoon – complete with camp and over-the-top absurdity. The “special” effects looked like something out of a Nintendo 64 video game, and the dialogue and performances would give local theatre a run for its money.

There are some decent action sequences, most of them including ninjas as I had hypothesized in January. Ray Park as Snake Eyes is easily the most bad ass, enjoyable character in the whole flick. He’s the only Joe I cared about, though I certainly didn’t mind looking at the lovely Scarlett (Rachel Nichols).

Marlon Wayans was Marlon Wayans, which is to say he was every bit as annoying as Jar Jar Binks and the racially supercharged twins from ”Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”. Channing Tatum was completely boring and uninteresting as Duke. That role should have went to someone like Mark Wahlberg who could have pulled it off properly. My dead grandmother has more personality than Tatum, how in the Hell is he supposed to lead the Joes into battle?

And then there’s the villains. Sienna Miller does an adequate job as The Baroness but the screenwriters were sure to disembowel the character so no one would care about her. Why did Rose McGowan play this part? She could have been much more sultry and tempting than Sienna Miller.

The inevitable ”G.I. Joe” film trilogy has started off on a very bad, poorly executed foot. Hopefully the second film, complete with Cobra Commander and Destro, will actually be a more faithful, nostalgic adventure into the land of eight-year-old boys and the backyard battles that kept them busy for hours.

Want to see a more accurate, entertaining G.I. Joe film? Check this out: