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

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

Directed by: Stephen Sommers

Premise: A film adaptation of the 1980s cartoon and action figure toy line. An elite squad of super soldiers combats terrorists linked to an international arms dealer.

What Works: The best moments in G.I. Joe occur when the film has campy fun with its ridiculousness. Of all the actors, Sienna Miller is most able to do this with her character, The Baroness, and she is a lot of fun to watch as an ass-kicking femme fatale.

What Doesn’t: G.I. Joe is rife with problems but the underlying flaw of the film is the failure to create a coherent story world where the superhero characters and outlandish situations can play out. Very little in the story makes any sense, even for what it is, and the film is an ugly mix of real world settings and fantasy technology. Compelling characters might have bridged these two elements but aside from Sienna Miller, no one is interesting to watch. Dennis Quaid is wasted as General Hawk and Channing Tatum does not have any charisma, acting ability, or action-adventure credentials to bring to his role as Duke. Although Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is still in many ways worse, that film at least took some pleasure in the mythology and the novelty of its characters; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra does not seem at all interested in the franchise and just borrows the names of the characters and applies them like nametags to actors who walk through bland action sequences.

Bottom Line: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is not very good, not even meeting the low expectations granted to a picture based on a toy line. Fans who grew up watching the cartoon will not recognize it in this film and for everyone else the picture is a collage of uninspired sci-fi and action clichés.

Episode: #251 (August 16, 2009)