If you're an boy growing up in America, there is not possible way you couldn't have had a G.I. Joe action figure at some point in your life. This was definitely the case for myself, and I still had fond memories of those figures...
However, G.I. Joe is something that is near to my heart, but the mythology is not religion to me. I appreciate what G.I. Joe is as a piece of american nostalgia. When hearing the news that Hasbro and Paramont were going to go through with this film, I was a bit less than ecstatic, especially after hearing Stephen Sommers was attached to direct the picture. It definitely seemed like a move to milk Hasbro after the success of Transformers. I saw the trailers and thought the film looked anything, but what G.I. Joe was supposed to be. Hearing the marketing ploy that Paramont was doing in order to block certain critics from seeing the film, my expectations were lowered even further. Now I have seen the final film and have a verdict...
The best way to describe the film is just a fun summer action movie with a little hint of nostalgia thrown into the mix. The trailers and TV Spots for the film are somewhat miss-leading. This is very much what anybody can expect out of a G.I. Joe live action movie. Guns fights and awesome action scenes against the Cobra, with cameos from these nostalgic characters from the old show. I didn't expect this to follow what G.I. Joe was in it's mythology as it was a bit generic at times and was made as a way to sell toys, very much in the same vein as what made Transformers successful. With that said, I was vaguely familiar with what was cannon in this universe, but I can definitely tell a few changes were made to the mythos to fit into this film universe. The action set pieces are pretty much entertaining. The stand-out sequence is the Paris chase scene and it does have some great action direction that makes it a viseral and entertaining experience to watch on film. Snake Eyes is the one that steals the show with this film as he rightfully should. The fight choreography with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow is definitely one of the highlights of the film. The film is definitely a crowd pleaser and it's a fun summer film at heart. It knows what it wants to be, and it achieves that.
The Plot is almost incidental to the progression of the story, but it is very concise. Unlike how Transformers 1 and 2 had long sequences when nothing was happening and the plot felt dead, I was never bored or really lost by this film. Basically: all that is needed to know "Good Guys Fight Bad Guys" END OF STORY. Apart from the Snake Eyes flashbacks, There's flashbacks in this that seem to not really add anything that the audience can't piece together by themselves. The story is very much generically good, but that isn't to say it's terrible. It just doesn't really have anything new to it. It's still a good watch.
The acting is very subpar to terrible at times. There were lots of moments where I laughed my head off and I wasn't sure if that was the director's intention. Channing Tatum is playing pretty much a dumb american heroic character that just feels like he is acting like "Duke" but he just doesn't seem like Duke. Dennis Quaid as General Hawk was entertaining to watch. The female leads in the film are pretty much just ok in their roles. Marlon Waynes was funny in his role and he achieves in giving the film some humor to certain scenes. My overall problem with the characters is that most of the characters don't really pop out from the film. They more or less seem like a knock off of each other with a gimmick attached. The stand-out of this film has to be Ray Park as Snake Eyes. His is maybe the most crowd pleasing of all the characters. Every action scene with him is awesome and you can't wait to see where Snake Eyes is at various points in the film! Definitely an awesome character that is saved from the fact that he is mostly silent in this over the top and cheesy cast. Another personal favorite performance from this film was surprisingly Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His character never ceased to remind me that this is a G.I. Joe movie. His character definitely seemed like he was taken from that universe and he does a fitting job in his role in the film. While the voice-work I doubt was his, his character was pretty cool.
Some of the Negatives.
The ending seemed a bit too rushed. This is the RISE OF THE COBRA and so I felt that the way they introduced some of the more canon aspects of G.I. Joe was a bit shoehorned and didn't fit organically to the film. The transition didn't feel smooth for me and the ending was definitely rushed. The film was made with the intention of it being a franchise so the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger with a unresolved issue. There are also some moments of humor that just fall flat. The acting can be downright cheesy as hell at times, but it was the intention I suppose, but I know people are going to complain about this aspect. The dialogue is downright horrible at times! Some of the actors seem like carry-overs from The Mummy films and they kinda don't fit. The film doesn't really get into the full swing of what it is until after the first twenty minutes are over. The beginning segment of the film was a bit rough and it felt like it didn't know what it wanted to be. The biggest complaint would have to be that they definitely take some liberties with the G.I. Joe story-line and lots of things are changed to the point where it doesn't quite feel like G.I. Joe. Walking out of my screening, people were complaining left and right about how this and that wasn't the same as the cartoon. This is a film and I am not familiar with canon so I'd say that for the most part it didn't bother me. Some more canon aspects felt shoehorned and I could see it as I am not a full on G.I. Joe follower. It will be OK for the casual viewer, but harder for the G.I. Joe die-hard fan.
Overall, this was definitely a fun watch. I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I was going to. I had a fun time watching this on the big screen so I'd say it's a definitely MATINEE! Not the train-wreck I was expecting. Pay to see it on the big screen, but just be prepared for a few liberties to be taken with the source material. If you can take these changes, you are in for a good time!
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