G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Release Date: August 7, 2009

Movie of the Day for Sunday, April 12, 2009
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 He's bringing a sword *and* a gun to a sword/gunfight.

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Position Staff In Brief
70/82 Kelly Metz Okay - how the crap does ice SINK? I had 4 drinks while watching this and it still didn't make the movie any better.
154/169 Max Braden About as noisy and pointless as Transformers 2, but I did like the ninja action.

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After successfully mining comic books and video games for movie ideas, it's only natural that movie producers would dig further into nostalgia, and specifically '80s nostalgia, for movie ideas. The latest avenue of attack: toys.

Transformers became the first mega-blockbuster based on a toy franchise last summer, earning a stunning $701 million in worldwide box office. The race to get the next toy line to the big screen began in earnest shortly afterwards, with another Hasbro property, G.I. Joe, getting the greenlight last August, with Mummy director Stephen Sommers behind the camera.

As originally designed, G.I. Joe was a U.S.-based counter-terrorist organization that does battle primarily with the evil Cobra organization, led by the mysterious Cobra Commander, the Decepticons to Joe's Autobots. Somewhat controversially, the Joe organization has been changed into an international strike-force based in Belgium (!), though the main characters on the Joe side are still Americans. This is mostly a way to not alienate foreign audiences, who would probably react…poorly to a American strike-force operating around the world in a movie right now, but it still feels wrong. Among Joe, Dennis Quaid plays Hawk, the team leader, while Channing Tatum plays Duke, though I'd be hardpressed to tell you anything about their characters – just make them generic hero stand-ins.

Like with Transformers, the charisma lands with the secondary heroes, like Snake Eyes, a mute ninja played by Ray Park, and the villains, including Destro (Christopher Eccelston), here turned into a Scottish arms dealer, and the Baroness (Sienna Miller), who confused prepubescent children everywhere as the sexy librarian of evil. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will also lend his voice to multiple characters, including Cobra Commander, which is a headscratching, if potentially interesting decision.

With Sommers at the helm, expect a noisy, quasi-jingoistic mess, but it's all going to come down to the action sequences. If they can be pulled off with anything of the flair of Transformers (with hopefully a better plot, and less of kiddie storyline), we might have something. Otherwise, we've essentially got Team America: World Police played straight. (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)

Vital statistics for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Main Cast Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller
Supporting Cast Ray Park, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Said Taghmaoui, Marlon Wayans, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Arnold Vosloo, Christopher Eccleston
Director Stephen Sommers
Screenwriter Stuart Beattie
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Screen Count 4,007
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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