G.I. Joe: Rise of C.R.A.P.

by Cap'n Carrot on August 7, 2009 · 17 comments

in Film

gi joe rise of cobra capLet’s get this straight right from the get-go: I had no real expectations with this film except wanting to leave without getting too bored or having the film make my eyes bleed. One out of two isn’t bad.

Even with the bar set so low G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra finds a way to slither underneath like champion limbo dancer Hermes Conrad.

Based on a toy line and 80’s television show Rise of Cobra plays like one long Michael Bay action reel (think The Rock, if it were directed by Zack Snyder). It’s got the brains of the old cartoon down cold (ridiculous premise, tons of vehicles and ammunition) but hardly any of its style.

It doesn’t help the C.O.B.R.A. never really exists in this film. Instead we’re given a well-funded unnamed group of terrorists. It is also problematic that the baddie chosen to put center stage isn’t Cobra Commander (almost completely absent from the film), or even the unmasked Destro (Christopher Ecclestion), but the Baroness (Sienna Miller, because I guess Kate Beckinsale was too expensive).

No one comes off all that well here. Most of the characters from the Joe universe are pretty damn bland, and director Stephen Sommers does a good job casting actors which match that defining characteristic. The only ones who come out with any dignity are Rachel Nichols as Cover Girl and Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. As for the more interesting over-the-top C.O.B.R.A. characters, they are either completely absent or toned down to not overshadow their Joe counterparts.

Even Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park and Leo Howard), the most inherently cool character of the franchise, comes off more than a little half-assed. Yeah, he’s good with his swords, but he never feels flesh and blood appearing more like a robotic sidekick Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still than a human soldier. It doesn’t help that he’s asked to do all measure of idiotic stunts (including outrunning the accelerator suits – don’t get me started on those Iron Man knock-offs!) which just made me shake my head and check my watch.

gi joe poster

After one of the stupidest intros in any film not directed by Uwe Bowl, the plot of the film kicks into high gear. An unknown terrorist group steals Nanotech warheads and it’s up to the elite team of G.I. Joe and their newest members Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Wayans) to save the day. What follows in a near endless loop of non-stop action, only some of it interesting. Rather than attempting to be cool, or good, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra simply tries to be loud. On that point it succeeds.

I never cared if the Joes saved the day, and C.O.B.R.A., or the nameless organization substituting it, is far from cool enough for me to root for them. Though I’ll admit the Nightraven was pretty damn sweet (a total rip-off of Firefox, but still cool). Honestly, after an hour or so of this, I just wanted out and didn’t much care how the film ended. I wasn’t alone.

While exiting the midnight showing full of fans here’s a few of the most positive snippets I overhead: “It’s not the worst movie I ever saw.” “I don’t ever want to see that again.” “Was Snake Eyes a robot in the cartoon?” “Boy that guy in the Condorman shirt listening to us is sexy.” (Okay, maybe I made up the last one).

gi joe cast

The plot is so ridiculous, filled with flashbacks of the Baroness and Duke’s “relationship,” a twist so late (and lame) it lacks any punch, Destro’s masking (which comes off slightly worse than Doctor Doom’s similar scene in Tim Story’s Craptastic Four), the creation of (and everything involving) the C.O.B.R.A. terrorist soldiers, that even a slow nine-year-old, who I can only assume was the target for this film, would have trouble taking it seriously.

Had G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra been animated and around 22 minutes it might have been passable enough. At nearly two-hours it overstays its welcome. I expected the film to be dumb, but was hoping it was the kind of mindless dumb thrill-ride you can enjoy for a short time. Instead this is the dumb that puts you to sleep, or makes you want to punch everyone involved in the face. Pick any film at random playing at your local megaplex and odds are you’ll see something better (or at least not worse) than this piece of crap.

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  • http://rjsystemsonline.com Rj Bass

    I figured as much. I’ll wait now till it hits HBO.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/jester1345 jester1345

    I’ll still see it cause seeing an action film isn’t same as watching on the big screen and I liked transformers don’t know why but I did lol

  • Gaspode

    People have been ripping on this film before anyone has seen it for months..and then when they saw it they liked it. If you enjoy summer blockbusters..go see it. If you hate summer blockbusters and prefer watching “gay cowboys eating pudding” movies. (Indie movies) Don’t go see it. Critics have been shit for me lately..watched Let the Right One In and it bored the crap outta me. Slumdog Millionaire was damn close the same for me. (and I enjoy dramas..would have to if I don’t mind watching the Remains of the Day)

  • Matthew

    Gonna go out on a limb and say that Gaspode is not a regular here… haha. Here’s the best I can say about G.I. Joe – it’s the second worst movie of the year.

  • Gaspode

    Gonna go out on a limb and say that Matthew doesn’t get to see too many movies a year, especially the ones that go straight to dvd cause they’re so bad. (I don’t usually comment on anything, but have been visiting the site for around 5 years.)

  • Dr. Wu

    he he – 56 million dollars. I hate that I have to see films like this make this much money. Can’t blame Hollywood, the zombies line up around the block waiting to empty their wallets on this crap. By next month this will be in IMDB’s top 250 too edging out something with substance.

    These films won’t ever go away until the brain-dead public stop paying to numb themselves with this bile. The other option is to ignore it which I have gotten pretty good at. So while everyone I know waits for Saw 12 and a new remake of The Incredible Hulk, I’ll be in my living room happily watching Glengarry Glen Ross for the 100th time.

    Please Note: I don’t want to offend anyone that is a fan of these movies, this is just my opinion as I’m sure you have yours.

  • Matthew

    Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of those movies – Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, anyone? But here’s the difference – those movies don’t mean anything. They’re easily avoidable and they don’t directly assault my sensibilities. Besides, more often than not, they’re so ridiculous that they’re kind of fun.

    BUT G.I. Joe (which, while I’m now a grown-ass man and I enjoy mostly fairly “refined” things) basically just trots out all of my nostalgic memories from growing up in the 80s, dresses them up in fetishistic leather, drapes it in a stupid plot where “Explosion!” is more of a plot point than, you know, ANY interesting characters, drains it of all the fun, basically taking a huge shit on top of my childhood, and expecting me to lap it up and demand a sequel.

    Roger Ebert, a personal hero of mine, has written a very, very awesome blog entry about this very subject, how basically people prefer a shitty movie that everyone’s going to see rather than no movie at all, (obviously) to the detriment of mainstream filmmaking. This may be going off on a tangent, but I definitely agree with him. Think about it – the only major Hollywood movies being bankrolled these days are ones where the audience has already been established by a pre-existing franchise, toy line, book, movie, etc. This basically means that [i] every new movie is straight outta time.[/i] No new ideas.

    Since G.I. Joe is indicative of this problem, though not quite to the same degree as Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo, that’s what makes it the second worst movie of the year.

  • Matthew

    Sorry about all the grammar mistakes, by the way. Working on three hours sleep. Woo.

  • http://www.transbuddha.com Cap’n Carrot

    For those who have seen the film (and hated it) or for those refusing to watch may I also recommend the SPOILER-FILLED tongue-in-cheek take by Flapjacks on MightyGodKing.

  • http://www.dadsbigplan.com .alphamonkey.

    It takes a brave man to admit paying to see “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus”.

    But allow me to state that I can love Glengarry Glen Ross and The Incredible Hulk independent of one another (Hell, I even love “Hulk”). The same way I can consider Big Trouble in Little China and Chinatown equal high points in cinema history. There’s no accounting for taste, but more importantly there’s no knocking one man’s diversion. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Year My Voice Broke/Mission Impossible 2 double feature to get back to.

  • Matthew

    Oh, I’m most definitely in the same boat, alpha. Here’s the thing: all of those pop culture-type films you list are actually pretty awesome (ESPECIALLY Hulk!). I mean, I’m probably one of only ten people in the world who will defend Speed Racer to the bitter end. I apologize if I came off as some sort of elitist film snob – hell, I own all the Bond movies, for chrissake – I just would prefer that my trash have some element of style and coherence. I haven’t quite mastered this whole “turning my brain off” thing yet, which is something that G.I. Joe pretty much demands of its audience.

  • http://www.transbuddha.com Cap’n Carrot

    The problem with G.I. Joe is it doesn’t so much as ask you to turn off your brain as demand you to scoop out your skull with an ice-cream scoop.

    Even legally brain dead it would be hard to miss the fact that this movie blows.

  • Ralph

    Money is the only thing that matters.
    Shit sells.
    What’s up with the gay emo storm shadow?
    Did the directors actually studied the original 300+ characters to choose from?
    Did they really need the GiJOe franchise for this, uh… super tough commandos vs bad guys flick?

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