'G.I. Joe' - Reviews

Main 'G.I. Joe' post

Press Reviews

Provided by Jen


Another week, another movie of the cartoon of the comic of the Hasbro toy line. This one's by Stephen Sommer's blatantly going for another zillion-dollar franchise after The Mummy movies and, um, Van Helsing. No surprises then? Well, whisper it, but GI Joe is actually rather fun.

The plot is a game of soldiers. Trooper buddies Duke (Channing Tatum, recently seen as gangster Pretty Boy Floyd in Public Enemies) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are transporting a military nano-technology (it eats metal), when they come under air-attack from baddie organisation COBRA. Think SPECTRE from James Bond, with a metal-masked Scottish henchman play by - It isn't! It is! - Christopher Eccleston. To his dismay, Duke sees an old flame (Sienna Miller) with the bad guys. Soon he and Ripcord have signed up with an elite military unit, GI Joe, whose main toy is a cheesy speed-up suit that lets soldiers rush about like Speedy Gonzales.

Okay, so it's dumb and dopey, with plenty of bumpy bits, some shonky CGI (do we sense another effects rush-job to hit the release date?) while Stephen Sommers wouldn't know a human nuance if it exploded up his tailpipe. But coming after Michael Bay's terrifyingly psychotic Transformers sequel, it's a relief to have a lowbrow fantasy actioner that's lively and busy without being crushingly relentless and infuriatingly noisy. You have to forgive it a lot, including a silly Paris sequence in which zipping metal dolls have loads of cars chucked at them. But GI Joe has a genuine cliffhanger charm, especially when the last act becomes a whole string of pulp plot twists. The ending screams "To Be Continued"; we could do worse.

Andrew Osmond ***

Total Film

Out now.

The original GI Joe was a boys' toy, so why shouldn't the movie follow suit? What's funny about The Rise of Cobra is how closely it resembles an actual 12-year-old: never standing still, constantly getting into fights, infatuated with gadgets, loud bangs and fantasy girls who know kung fu and dress like hookers.

Stephen Sommers marshals the mayhem with the same hectic enthusiasm as his previous live-action cartoons (The Mummy 1 and 2, Van Helsing). Laughably, this one's pitched closer to reality - a notion shot down the second a kana-flashing ninja bungee jumps onto the field of battle. Still, for a modern explode-a-thon the plot's passably coherent: GI Joe is a unit (not a bloke) made up of operatives whose mission impossible is to take out maniac arms dealer Destro (Christopher Eccleston, slicing the ham thick).

Alas, Sommers and subtlety remain strangers. Whenever he takes a breather from the woodpecker pace, you wish he hadn't; toes curl when goodies Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) share a would-be tender moment. Riffing on reams of comic-book/TV 'toon backstory, efforts are made to flesh out the characters - old grudges, romantic tangles - but without a zingy script they remain plastic figures.

Yet when all else fails, the second unit doesn't. Ironically the set-piece most reminiscent of Team America - the Paris orgy of destruction - is also the best, breaking out Sommers' coolest plaything: accelerator suits that turn wearers into a combination of Road Runner, Spider-Man and Jason Statham. Together with a genuinely strange performance from mad doc Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the first-half action banks enough goodwill to let Sommers off the hook for turning his climatic Thunderball tribute into an Xbox demo.

Matthew Leyland ***

Online Reviews

W/ factual mistakes:
Big Hollywood, Sheldon A. Wiebe (EclipseMagazine): F, MovieSeer: 1, Hollywood: 2/5, PopMatters: 5/10.


The Movie Masochist, Mayo News, View Magazine (CE -), yourkanata, Guardian (CE -), Independent.ie, U Review, Patrick Williams*, Hollywood Reporter (CE -), Kyle McVeigh* (CE -), Omaha, Pete Clark* (CE -), Christopher Crespo*, Jason Roestel*, New Times, Brian Orndorf (DVDTalk), Ron Henriques (LatinoReview) (CE - -), Mail Online, inthenews.co.uk: 1/10 (CE -), Rolling Stone: 0.5/4 (CE -), Messenger: 1, RopeOfSilicon: D, PopMatters: 3/10, The Sydney Morning Herald: 1/5 (CE -), The Independent: 1/5, The Star: 1/4, The Miami Herald: 1.5, Kansas City: 1.5/4, Centretown News: 1.5/5, Stockton Davis*: 1.5/5, Deseret News: 1.5/4 (CE -), Starlog: 1.5/4 (CE -), The Salt Lake Tribune: 1.5/4 (CE -), The Clog: 1.5, The Herald Scotland: 2 (CE -), Sunday Mercury: 2 (CE -), Channel 4: 2/5, RealMovieNews: 2/5 (CE -), movies.ie: 2/5 (CE -), SFStation: 2/5 (CE +), Film Critic: 2/5, Times Online: 2/5 or 3/5, Huntington News: 2/4, Seacoastonline: 2/4 (CE -), The Globe and Mail: 2/4 (CE +), Watertown Daily Times: 2, See Magazine 2, National Post: 2; trail review, Jacksonville: C-.

W/ factual mistakes:
ComingSoon: 7/10 (CE +).

Motion Captured (CE +), Thi Anh-Thi Nguyen*, Russell Hainline*, UAB Kaleidoscope (CE +), Fiji Times Online, Straight, Times Record News, Sowetan, Capone AICN (CE +), Cinematical (CE +), Weekend Post, fwdailynews, Firefox News, Tyler Foster (DVDTalk) (CE +), Malay Mail, Malaysian Today, Merrick AICN, SciFiWire, iesb.net, FilmSchoolRejects: B (CE +), The Huffington Post: B, Tampa Bay: B, starpulse: B, The New Zealand Herald: 3 (CE +), Kungfucinema: 3/5, The Times of India: 3.5/5, Paul Lister*: 3/4, ScreenCrave: 7.5/10, JoBlo: 7.5/10 (CE +), Michelle Alexandria (EclipseMagazine): B+, El Guapo (LatinoReview): B+, RTE: 4/5 (CE +), FilmShaft: 4/5, Chud: 8.5/10 (CE +), El Mayimbe (LatinoReview): A.

* examiner.com