G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (2009): Breakdown by Rantbo
A squad of models sport magical gimp suits to battle a dominatrix and a pre-Labor Day Ninja, in a live adaptation of TEAM AMERICA.
“In the not too distant future…”
The world will be ridden with computer graphics and day-to-day activities will be rendered nigh impossible to comprehend without insane leaps in illogical scientific gobble-dee-gook. And even then, no one will be able to understand just what the fuck is going on. Enter, the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, or Assgoblins for short. This co-ed force of combined world operatives use SCIENCE and RUBBER to combat those who strive to make even less sense: the evil organization that does not yet have a name. BUT! They hate humanity and use our special effects and SCIENCE to battle all rational thought, and so, must be stopped. Welcome to G.I. JOE! Let’s strut…
Much like TRANSFORMERS, it was impossible for this film to ‘rape’ my childhood, as I didn’t watch the cartoon, read the comics, or play with the toys. Because, even back then, I knew the military was for assholes and stupid people. They couldn’t fool me with their American pride and bloodless warmongering. I knew that in real life, you sign the line, you’re gonna fucking DIE. So, I stuck with the Turtles.
Of course, now that I am a little bit older and a little bit dumber, I take a sick sort of pleasure in escaping from my rational thoughtful life in watching films that feature just as much (if not more) nationalism, patriotism, pro-war and military propaganda as the original JOE cartoon. And I expected nothing less (though I should have) from the first live adaptation of the almost 50 year-old toy line.
Now, it could be the fact that I have not watched the show, or that they simply decided to make the film version even more offensive, but I did not expect the level of racist and misogynistic tones to be so high ON TOP of all that other bullshit. But Stephen Sommers, that crazy little sack of film-making shit that he is, still managed to surprise me.
The level of sheer What-The-Fuckery? in this film is off the god damn charts. When a movie becomes this free of cognitive narrative, the probability of ‘all-things-are-possible’ becomes guaranteed and JOE is no exception. And thus, the resounding theme of the project seems to have been, ‘Logistics And Physics Are For Pussies!—Just Do It!’. Here are a few examples:
– The President of the United States is played by British actor, Jonathan Price, who makes no attempt to hide the fact that he is British. So, America has a foreigner for a President. OK, fine. Maybe now we can get universal health-care.
– Gimp Suits. They all wear them and they cost millions of dollars. And they seem impervious, save for one thing: Marinara. Those fucking I-ties. The JOEs better get to work fast on a remedy for this, ‘cuz if spaghetti sauce can stop a multi-million dollar suit from functionality, there’s no telling what damage their KY jelly will do.
– Nanomites. I could stop there, but won’t. Taking these wonders of SCIENCE and injecting them into Nerf footballs, Cobra plans to fire said formally child-safe sport paraphernalia at major cities, effectively destroying them. Why?—I couldn’t really tell you, but that’s beside the point. The point is, these Nerf-Nano-Balls, once activated, can eat through ANYTHING in a matter of seconds and spread faster than cold-sores on a naval ship. Now, for some reason (a giant, unnecessary, loud, CG-ridden, shitty action sequence) Cobra decides that even though they are being pursued by a battalion of Gimp-Suit JOES, they must drive the football to the Eifel Tower before setting it off—instead of, you know, just chucking it out the window of their hummer like a used beercan and letting it take out the city, the JOES, and even eventually, their target.
– Which brings me to the Cobra hummer. Apparently, despite the statistics of all those pointlessly dead American soldiers, hummers can survive missile attacks. Which I guess justifies there insane gas consumption.
I think you get the point. Now, despite just how fucking ludicrously written, badly edited, overly CG-ridden, poorly acted, unnecessarily complex and narrative free this attack-on-the-senses movie is—I can’t help enjoying it. I know, I think I suck too. JOE hits me much like 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS and TORQUE does, in that I find charm amidst the overwhelming loud and non-stop stupidity. I can’t help but be entertained. Best I can think to describe my feelings is to say this film is like a car wreck along a highway—I know I shouldn’t want to see the horribleness, I in fact DON’T want to see the horribleness, but I can’t stop my intense and morbid curiosity from getting the better of my self control and forcing me to look to see if there might be something worthy of scarring my life with horrible flashback nightmares.
G.I. JOE is a mess, plain and simple. The story, the acting, the dialogue, the effects, the non-plot, the non-stop flashbacks, the product placement (Norton Anti-Virus, Double-Bubble, iPod… etc), the nationalism, the fuck-the-French ideals, all of it is very painful. And yet disgustingly entertaining. Probably do to all the lifted and re-imagined action scenes from a bunch of good movies. Including, but not limited to, THUNDERBALL, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, STAR WARS, FIREFOX, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE and CUMMING HOME TO MY PUSSY 4.
So, the question is whether or not to recommend it. I’m not sure. Do you like looking at car crashes? Of course you do. But could you do it for over two hours? Just sitting there while the mangled remnants of hard work and craftsmanship are amalgamated with the human bodies responsible for piloting them are hopelessly yelling un-funny, un-original pleas for your attention, while you remain helpless on the sidelines munching popcorn and listening to their defunct radio blare the ear-raping sounds of the Black Eyed Peas? Many may try, few over the age of 12 shall succeed. Test yourself at your own risk.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
It’s hard to believe but there ARE actually actors amidst all the CG. Though I imagine they might just go the extra 10% for the sequel and make it entirely simulated after the output by these following sad individuals…
“Technically, G.I. JOE does not exist. But, if it did, it would be comprised of top men and women from the best military units IN THE WORLD. The Alpha Dogs. When all else fails—we don’t”
Dennis Quad is General Clayton ‘Hawk’ Abernathy:
Aside from having the name of a sadomasochistic cult leader, his role didn’t really consist of much. He acts as a living conduit for exposition and at one point, gets attacked (though not killed, despite his attacker having absolutely NO reason to leave him alive) and before passing out, sounds an alarm alerting the JOES that their top-secret Egyptian fortress has been penetrated by those drill vehicles from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. And it could just be his apathetic approach to this shit material, but I’m pretty sure that Quaid was tanked in every scene.
Channing Tatum is Conrad ‘Duke’ Hauser:
“Duke wasn’t born, he was government issued.” “He’s a real American hero.”
Great, it’s that guy from FIGHTING. If it’s one thing Tatum is able to do well, it’s knowing what industry dick to suckle. I seriously can’t believe this guy is able to keep getting work. He can’t act, he can’t emote, he can barely fucking speak and his GQ looks are wasted on the fact that the target audience for this film is 12 year-old boys. What the fuck is he doing in this movie!?
Marlon Wayans is Al Jolson is Wallace ‘Ripcord’ Weems:
He’s doesn’t read, he’s only interested in tapping white pussy and he can barely stand up straight or complete a cognitive sentence. And I just recently read that Wayans was chosen to play Richard Pryor in a biopic. Let us bow our heads in remembrance for the progression of our black brothers.
Rachel Nichols is Shana M. ‘Scarlett’ O’Hara:
‘Scarlett’, or as I like to call her, ‘Tits’, looks fantastic in black rubber, has long, rich, flowing red hair, keeps herself in shape with cardio and with the aid of an invisibility suit, can almost hold her own fighting a woman 20 lbs lighter than herself. Wow—she was GREAT!
CGI is Snake Eyes:
While CG did an adequate job of portraying G.I. Joe’s most famous character, I can’t help but feel they should have stuck with their original choice of Ray Park. Even though Park’s resume is padded with almost nothing but contemptible garbage, the guy is still easily the most likable (sometimes, the ONLY likable) part of the films he has appeared in. The guy can really whip some ass. I only wish we could have seen him do his shit with a stationary camera and a competent editor.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is A Hard Name To Spell, is Heavy Duty:
The film should have followed this guy. I believe I read somewhere that the character’s original name was RoadBlock. And I have to say I agree with them changing it for the film. Naming the big imposing black dude after a type of extra durable garbage bag as opposed to a term that could be misconstrued as an inhibitor for progression was clearly a better choice. Easily the most BadAss Joe, it makes sense that he is barely in the movie, as the filmmakers wouldn’t want Duke and Ripshit to have to compete for fanboy love. So his role is chalked up to missed opportunity and racist indifference.
Saïd Taghmaoui is Abel ‘Breaker’ Shaz:
His contribution? He knows about SCIENCE. And he uses SCIENCE to stab a dead Cobra red-shirt in the head with two metal prongs attached to his iPhone that allow him to see a flashback of the dead guys’ last memory—SCIENCE!!!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Rex ‘The Doctor’ Lewis is [SPOILER] Cobra Commander:
Ah, the one actor that seemed to understand just how ridiculous and pointless this movie was. Best friends with Duke, Commander apparently went insane with evil lust after looking at a nanobot on a mission to liberate some brown people from their pathetic government infrastructure. Or something. I couldn’t really follow it. But it doesn’t matter. Levitt as Commander is by FAR the best character in the film and uses his twisted knowledge of SCIENCE to use nanomites to perform facial reconstructive surgery on several men and to create an army of zombie-like super soldiers able to take bites from cobra snakes and not cry. And even more impressive, not a one of them was played by Gary Busey, who would razzle a whole tub of snakes for twenty bucks and a meatball sandwich.
Christopher Eccleston is James ‘Destro’ McCullen:
The other actor that comes close to Levitt’s level of enjoyable campiness. Destro fills in the role as Cobra’s version of General Hawk. Explaining in clear detail Cobra’s un-understandable plans for world domination, it isn’t until the end that we find out he is really just Commander’s puppet and has his head turned silver for punishment of not figuring it out himself. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
Sienna Miller is Anastasia ‘The Baroness’ Lewis-DeCobray:
With her leather cat-suit and +1 intelligence glasses, the Baroness is pretty much the lead villain of the story. Kinda. Sienna Miller has since ‘apologized’ for how terrible this all was, and so I feel a little less harsh when judging her performance, which is bad, but not distractingly so. Much like Scarlett, Baroness is hot and thus her reasons for being on screen are ill-explained and generally pretty pointless. Yet another pawn of Commander’s, they leave her story open to become one of the good guys and subsequently ruined all possible appreciation and coolness I had in falling for the ‘Bad-Girl’.
Byung-hun Lee is Thomas ‘Storm Shadow’ Arashikage:
Here’s where I feel violated. Byung-hun Lee was Sun-woo in A BITTERSWEET LIFE, and gave, in my opinion, one of the greatest BAD-ASS performances of all time. And watching him dress head-to-toe in white padding and CG wire-fight in some terrible nano-second cut fight sequences of sheer sensory overload, was almost too much for me. Not to mention that his backstory, for why he is such an asshole, is so lame I find it hard to type out. The reason?: Snake Eyes got higher marks than him in Ninja School. Seriously. And it’s not hard to see why he was so shitty, I mean the guy’s idea of Ninja stealth is wearing bright white suits.
Arnold Vosloo is Zartan:
Vosloo is fucking awesome. Ever since HARD TARGET and even after THE MUMMY RETURNS. But, unfortunately, much like Heavy Duty he is barely in the movie. It works for his character as he is the ‘master of disguise’ of team Cobra, but I can’t say I wasn’t remissed with his lack of screen time. And limited though his role was, he still manages to pull off an act of pure badassness in [SPOILER] killing off and taking the place of, the British-American President.
[THE BODY COUNT: 137]
Click HERE for the Body Count Breakdown
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
Lil’ Snake vs. Lil’ Storm
A rivalry so childish, it rightfully began during childhood. On one of the many random-ass flashbacks, we get taken back to 70s Japan (I think) where a little white boy breaks into a Ninja School and has his borrowed dinner interrupted by the little shit general from TROPIC THUNDER and the two have it out in the kitchen. It’s brutal as shit and features some pretty impressive moves from ones so young. And thus begins the greatest documented nemesis’ since… I can’t think of anything. I just like watching kids kick the shit outta one another. Simple. Sue me.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Only—Hetero—Image—Blocked By SCIENCE… DAMN YOUS, SCIENCE! DAMN YOUS!
So aside from the general macho military shirtlessness and ass-slapping … Snake Eyes, lets talk about him. First, his name is Snake Eyes. Second, he wears a full suit of rubber, so constricting you can make out his lips beneath the texture. Third, he has “taken a vow of silence”, which I believe to be code for “if I speak out of turn, Grandmaster Hawk and Zed will lock me back up in the pawnshop basement trunk.” I think it’s safe to say that Snake is Hawk’s first and favorite inductee to his aforementioned sex-cult.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Scarlett: a women so smart she may just be retarded. Apparently, according to this woman, “Attraction is an emotion, emotions are NOT based in SCIENCE, and if you can’t quantify or PROVE something exists—well, in my mind—it doesn’t.” Wow. Refute THAT logic, Neuroscience! You Faggot!
Baroness: The evil, manipulative, man hating, ass-kicking, goddess bitch!—Turns out to have been under mind control. She’s really just a sweet, corn-fed blonde from Middle-America, that got wrapped up within her little grief stricken mind. What a bunch of bullshit.
Corporal Cover Girl: I assume she is a part of JOE as a modeling exchange program or to serve as General Fetish’s female sex-slave. Either way, she is ridiculously hot and, as her name would suggest, is here for that sole purpose. Plus, she is one of only 2 female JOES and the only named one to get killed in the entire movie, thus leaving the sole provider of estrogen to ‘Tits’.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Ice Don’t Float You Fuckin’ Nerds!
In the most epic example of physics fucking, the finale of the film features the polar icecap being demolished over McCullen’s secret underwater base and, wouldn’t you know it? The ice sinks and destroys everything. Leaving me to wonder if this was simply a mistake due to willful ignorance, or just the filmmakers saying, “Fuck it. This works and they won’t notice.” Either way, what a stunning display of stupidity and mediocre writing.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
No matter how ridiculous the concept, rest assured Stephen Sommers can make it EVEN dumber. And knowing that, is half the battle—to avoiding his films.
[THE CHECKLIST: 20 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Ray Park]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[X] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (2009) © MMIX Paramount Pictures Corporation, Spyglass Entertainment Funding, LLC and Paramount Home Entertainment