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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Featured Reviewer: BRUCE KIRKLAND -- Sun Media

G.I. Joe - Battle
G.I. Joe - Battle Poster
22 in. x 34 in.
Buy at

Framed   Mounted

Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ... Heavy Duty

Christopher Eccleston ... McCullen / Destro

Grégory Fitoussi ... Baron de Cobray

Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... The Doctor / Rex

Leo Howard ... Young Snake Eyes

Karolina Kurkova ... Courtney A. Kreiger / Cover Girl

Byung-hun Lee ... Storm Shadow

Sienna Miller ... Ana / Baroness

David Murray ... James McCullen - 1641

Rachel Nichols ... Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara

Kevin J. O'Connor ... Dr. Mindbender

Gerald Okamura ... Hard Master

Ray Park ... Snake Eyes

Jonathan Pryce ... U.S. President

Dennis Quaid ... General Hawk

Synopsis: Warning! This synopsis contains spoilers

The film opens in France, in 1641. The Scotsman Klan McCullen has been accused of selling weaponry to both the Scots and French. Rather than being executed for treason, the jury brands his face with a white-hot mask in order to humiliate him. In the near future, weapons expert James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) has created a nanotechnology-based weapon capable of destroying an entire city. His company MARS sells four warheads to NATO, and the U.S. Army is tasked with delivering the warheads. Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are delivering the warheads when they are ambushed by the Baroness (Sienna Miller), who Duke recognized to be his ex-fiancee Ana Lewis. Duke and Ripcord are rescued by Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). They take the warheads to The Pit, G.I. Joe's command center in North Africa, and upon arriving rendezvous with General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), the head of the G.I. Joe Team. Hawk takes command of the war-heads and excuses Duke and Ripcord, only to be convinced to have them join his group after Duke reveals that he knows the Baroness.

McCullen is revealed to be using the same nanotechnology to build an army of soldiers with the aid of the Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), planning on using the warheads to bring panic and bring about a new world order. Using a tracking device, McCullen locates the G.I. Joe base and sends Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and the Baroness to retrieve the warheads with assistance from Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), inflicting casualties on several G.I. Joe soldiers. After a fight, Storm Shadow and the Baroness retrieve the warheads and take them to Baron DeCobray, the Baroness's husband, for him to weaponize and use them to destroy the Eiffel Tower to serve as a showing of the warhead's destructive power. Making their way to Paris, the Joes pursue them through the streets but are unsuccessful in stopping them from launching the missile. Duke manages to hit the kill switch, but in doing so he is captured and taken to McCullen's base under the Arctic.

G.I. Joe locates the secret base and fly there as McCullen loads three missiles with nano-mite warheads. After Snake Eyes takes out one, Ripcord pursues the remaining missiles in a prototype Night Raven jet while Scarlett and her group infiltrate the base. While Scarlett and Snake Eyes attempt to shut down the Arctic base, with Heavy Duty leading an attack on Cobra's forces, Duke learns that the Doctor is Rex Lewis, Ana's brother believed to have been killed on a mission led by Duke four years ago. He was trapped in a bunker with Doctor Mindbender (Kevin O'Connor), disfigured in the blast which everyone presumed had killed him. The Baroness tries to free Duke but the Doctor reveals he has implanted her with nano-mites which has put her under his control for the past four years, admitting his amazement that she is resisting the programming. Attempting to kill Duke, McCullen ends up being facially burned as he flees with Rex to an escape vessel. Duke and the Baroness pursue him while the Joes fall back when Rex activated the base's self destruct sequence.

Rex then heals McCullen's burned face with nano-mites, encasing it in silver as he christens McCullen "Destro" and assumes the identity of Cobra Commander before they are captured by G.I. Joe soon after. On board the supercarrier USS Flagg, Baroness is placed in protective custody until they can remove the nano-mites from her body. Meanwhile, Zartan, having been earlier operated on by Rex, infiltrates the White House during the missile crisis and assumes the identity of the President of the United States.

Review: by BRUCE KIRKLAND -- Sun Media

Busy little boys with big bad toys: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is all testosterone, mad science and military might.

In the midst of real world conflict that looks ugly on TV, G.I. Joe glorifies an exciting fantasy version of good vs. evil. It is wish fulfillment. The good guys are ready to kick bad guy butt in what is called "the not too distant future."

The movie is all spectacle. If you already love the Transformers series and you want your summer movies to be brainless adrenalin rushes, then G.I. Joe is more of the same, only different.

The same, because both came from Hasbro action toys and each franchise is designed to sell more merchandise.

Different, because Channing Tatum's hero character in G.I. Joe is so bland, in comparison to Shia LaBeouf's quirky performance in Transformers.

The same, because things blow up real good in both movies. Why bother with character development when you can destroy something, like a car, a truck, a train, a reputation, an iconic landmark or a whole city?

Different, because G.I Joe is all about humanity, while Transformers uses Earth as a playground for alien conflict.

The same, because the storylines are simple minded, the jokes are cheesy and the people are caricatures.

Different, because G.I. Joe has delusions of 007 grandeur, while Transformers steals more from the Terminator series.

As toys, the G.I. Joe line was launched in 1964, later morphing into a comic book and cartoon series. Video games followed, and now we have Mummy creator Stephen Sommers' expensive big-screen adaptation.

Sommers plays fast and loose with the imagery, weaponry and origins stories from the comics and cartoons. He mostly gets away with it because the the Joe world is less established than other comicbook heroes, such as Batman.

G.I. Joe - Cobra

G.I. Joe - Cobra Poster
22 in. x 34 in.
Buy at
Framed   Mounted

Other than the boring Tatum, the Joe casting works. Sienna Miller is eye-candy in black leatherette as good-bad girl the Baroness. Ditto for Rachel Nichols as redheaded heroine Scarlett.

Among the men, Dennis Quaid does his usual gruff authoritive thing as General Hawk, while Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje commands our attention as Heavy Duty. Christopher Eccleston is all brash bravado as the arms dealer McCullen, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is suitably creepy as the madman doctor.

For comic relief, Marlon Wayans plays Tatum's soldiering sidekick.

Mentioning the actors, however, might give the impression there is acting in the movie. Not really. There are archetypes, actors posing just long enough to establish a character, get into the body armour and start the action by kicking, punching, running or shooting.


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