G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a film that I suspect will split viewers into two different groups. Some will find it enjoyably campy and others unbearably stupid. I fall into the latter category. Despite the occasional thrill and some awful dialogue that you can't help but laugh at, The Rise of Cobra is an empty void of nonsensical stupidity, a vapid waste of time guaranteed to delight the 13 year old boys it is targeted at who have no sense of what constitutes a good film.
G.I. Joe is an exercise in total nonsense featuring an irrelevant story where the less said about it, the better. It has something to do with a company called Mars who builds nanotech warheads capable of eating through metal, from the smallest car to the largest buildings and the Joes have to stop it from falling into the wrong hands. In other words, it's like every other action movie, except dumber.
Nevertheless, the movie starts out on a high note, with a spectacular action scene that, although over the top and completely ridiculous, was a lot of fun. It proved that outrageous action can work in the right context and this tonge-in-cheek drollery seemed to know exactly what it was doing. It was directed stylishly and it warranted a cautious optimism, promising better things to come. They never did.
The only other worthwhile scene is an action packed chase through the streets of Paris where the characters cause wanton amounts of destruction, though the most exciting parts of it are shown in the trailer. The rest of the film, including the numerous other action scenes, is a by the numbers affair with limited originality, only with the clichés ramped up to 11. One scene depicts General Hawk, played by Dennis Quaid, as he explains to his troops that he must operate independently of the government, breaking his orders to stand down, and telling them all that they are welcome to leave or stay and fight for a good cause. Of course, they all stay and fight as the music swells up and the general slowly reveals a cocked smirk expressing his happiness and gratitude. It just brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?
I usually prefer a good story with my action movies, but no matter what nonsense the writers were going to come up with for this, it's still a movie based on toys and over the top action scenes reminiscent of the opening should have been its focus. Unfortunately, it spends far too much time in flashbacks showcasing the back stories of a handful of characters. It must have flashed back five or six times detailing important events in their lives, explaining why they have chosen to be good or evil, but I didn't care about what was happening in the present timeline, much less in the past.
I feel like a broken record because every couple of movies or so, it seems I have to use the phrase "terrible dialogue" to describe why one doesn't work. G.I. Joe is no different. It's filled to the brim with idiotic euphemisms like, "You get knocked down, you get back up," and exchanges between characters where one says, "You can't save me Duke!" to which he replies, "I'm not giving up on you!" The dialogue plays out like it was ripped from a bad after school special.
Naturally, the performances are terrible and the dozens of attempts at humor, usually through Marlon Wayans, the comic relief (a term I use very loosely here), all fall flat. None of these problems are huge enough to destroy the movie on their own, but when grouped together, they work cooperatively to make G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra yet another disappointing summer blockbuster that fails to live up to its promises. Now you know this movie sucks and knowing is half the battle. Zing!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra receives 1.5/5