G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra



Genre:  Action, adventure

Director:  Stephen Sommers

Running Time:  118 mins

Budget:  $170 million

Released:  14 August 2009 (South Africa)


An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.


The first thing I noticed when the film began, is that Hasbro now has its own funky label plastered at the beginning (not sure if Transformers 2 used it) in the same way that Marvel Studios and DC Comics have done in the line of recent comic-book to screen films.  From seeing the label I can only conclude that we will be seeing quite a few more films based on Hasbro’s various toy lines.  Though it seems they’re targeting 80’s characters what with the Transformers films and now G.I. Joe.  Many people are up in arms about this as, “Hasbro should stop harvesting our childhoods in order to make a quick buck”.  While I understand where people are coming from, I don’t entirely agree with a statement like that.  As long as the film is enjoyable/entertaining I don’t think Hasbro’s classic character revivals pose any harm.  Sure, if the Transformers films were around during our youth (I’m of course referring to the children of the ’80s/early ’90s) it would of been awesome but the technology to pull of a film like that simply didn’t exist back then.  On a more worrying note, apparently Ridley Scott is set to direct the Monopoly film, now that is taking it too far.

Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow.

Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is exactly how I expected it to be, basically two hours of non-stop action with battles/fight scenes reminiscent of the types of things I used to come up with when actually playing with the G.I. Joe action figures.  The storyline is wafer thin, arms dealers, weapons of mass destruction etc etc.  This is the very definition of a ‘switch-your-brain off’ action film and as such, it requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief in order for the film to work.  Yes, the physics are ludicrous and the submarines with their underwater machine guns were  stupid (the underwater sub battle scenes reminded me of Star Wars space battles) but if you walk into the cinema hoping that G.I. Joe will be the next Saving Private Ryan, you have missed the point completely.  This leads me to my next point, these so-called ‘professional critics’ who have been slating the film saying it’s too simplistic, unrealistic or nonsensical simply do not understand the mechanics of a film like this.  Have these ‘critics’ ever read the comic-books or watched the cartoon series?  Mostly likely they haven’t and that’s the problem.  G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is an adults representation of a children’s phenomenon and is designed solely to entertain, in which it has succeeded.  The other criticism of this film is that it lacked ‘star power’.  Well, I believe the film had quite a strong line-up of actors including Dennis Quaid, Ray Park, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum.  Besides, ‘star power’ is generally overrated and oftentimes casting an unknown in the role of a particular film makes for a better impact, I mean take Valkyrie for example, casting Tom Cruise as Claus von Stauffenberg was a joke,  Thomas Kretschmann (an actual German) who has played a Nazi officer in at least eight films would of been a much better choice for the role.

Ray Park was brilliant in the role of Snakes Eyes.  I also like the fact that they never revealed his face, thus keeping the character's integrity/mysteriousness intact.

Ray Park was brilliant in the role of Snakes Eyes. I also like the fact that they never revealed his face, thus keeping the character's integrity/mysteriousness intact. Too many times, Hollywood tries to give the actors 'screen time' and in the process, destroys the character all together (Judge Dredd, anyone?).

As the last of the big summer ‘blockbusters’ for 2009, you’d expect a film like this to have some impressive visuals, and indeed it does.  The film is CGI-heavy and while it’s not the greatest computer effects I’ve seen, they were impressive nonetheless and at times even awe-inspiring, the chase scene in Paris was absolutely brilliant.  It was also inevitable that G.I. Joe would draw comparisons from Transformers, both have a strong military presence, big budget effects, as well as lots of vehicles blowing things up.  Because Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) directed G.I. Joe, Brendan Fraser makes an uncredited appearance as Sergeant Stone and Arnold Vosloo stars as the master of diguise, Zartan.  One thing that I thought was rather strange, casting a British actor (Jonathan Pryce) as the US President, bet that stung American audiences just a little.

To conclude, if you’re a fan of G.I. Joe, go watch this film, it’s a solid ‘popcorn movie’ through and through and it’s nice to see the classic characters such as Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander, given a new lease on life.  The movie is meant to be seen for the action scenes not stimulating dialogue, and sometimes that’s just what a person needs.


Channing Tatum plays ‘Duke’ ironically he also played a character named Duke in the 2006 film, She’s the Man.

Score: 4/5