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article imageOp-Ed: G.I Joe film is endless action and nostalgia Special

By David Silverberg     Aug 8, 2009 in Entertainment
If you expect G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to be the typical summer blockbuster with masterful CGI and high-octane action, you'll be overjoyed. If you expect two hours of impeccable acting and suspense, you'll be very disappointed.
It's too easy to pan a film like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It's not going to win any Oscars and it's not a creative wunderkind like The Matrix. But this film shines in the action department, where it offers a hefty amount of explosive wattage.
For fanboys of the G.I. Joe cartoon and comic series, this film also satisfies on multiple levels: it explores the relationship between Cobra's Storm Shadow and the Joes' Snake Eyes; it delves deeper into Duke's backstory with the Baroness (created for the film); and even explains the origin of Destro's metal mask.
I attended the film with a friend who collected the G.I. Joe toys back in the day, and during the film he couldn't help exclaiming, "Oh I got that one!" when we saw the Night Raven jet plane. He also shivered in delight at the mention of characters such as Dr. Mindbender, Scarlett and Rip Cord.
That's the thing with this toy adaptation: it will evoke nostalgia in many adults who collected the goodies in the 1980s. Fresh-faced younger filmgoers might not appreciate some of the cartoon references (like the one-liner "And knowing is half the battle"). But there's one characteristic that should have viewers licking their chops -- the action.
For now, forget the plot. In one way, it's the usual storyline: the evil terrorists unleash a weapon on the world that could crumble cities in minutes and the G.I. Joe team is sent to quash the threat. Duke (Channing Tatum) and the Baroness (Sienna Miller) fight for opposite sides but share a past. There's the comic foil in Rip Cord (Marlon Wayans), and the two-timing arms CEO McCullen (Christopher Eccleston). What the film lacks in plot punch it makes up for with the combat sequences.
Duke and Rip Cord from the new G.I. Joe film
Duke and Rip Cord are introduced to special suits that acts as both weapon and shield
Courtesy Paramount Films
Remember, this film is for action lovers. It's a typical blockbuster hit. It delivers on those levels, featuring CGI effects that will leave you breathless. And it's non-stop action, as if the director didn't want us to get too bored by the clunky dialogue. We get a good sampling of the weapons at the disposal of both the Joes and evil guys, from "pressure guns" (not sure what else to call guns that shoot earthquake ripples at people) to the suits Duke and Rip wear to make them jump higher and run faster. The chase scene in downtown Paris is crazy cool, just because of those suits alone.
The anticipated final clash goes on a bit long, but it features the one-on-one match-ups the viewers are expecting. There's more hand combat than fancy weapons, but rest assured the underwater missiles get their share of screen time.
G.I. Joe displays shades of new Bond and Mission: Impossible, but without the taunt tension of "Oh man, what's gonna happen next?" Instead, the predictable flow of events just lead us to the next explosion, the next fight. This film is not for the film connoseiur of course, nor is it ideal for someone with high expectations of the cartoon series getting a thoughtful treatment. Then again, like X-Men, you could watch G.I. Joe and figure out if the writers are trying to say something beyond the obvious -- maybe the attack on the Eiffel Tower is a parallel to 9/11. Maybe Cobra Commander is really Bin Laden. When a Joe officer says, "Now let's get our boys out of there", is that a shot at the soldiers stationed in Iraq?
You can glean what you want from the layers beyond the superficial, and you can dismiss the wooden acting and tepid romance, but you'd be hard pressed to find a heavier action movie this summer. G.I. Joe is setting itself up for a sequel and if it goes bonanzas at the box office, expect to see more Duke, Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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