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G.I. Joe The Rise Of The Cobra (2009)

Review: written Jan 2010

Fun, far-fetched cgi-heavy thriller

G.I. Joe The Rise Of The Cobra (2009)

So what do you get from a movie based on a toy product..? Well, characters which get thrown around and stepped on in much the way their toy counterparts do.. Stephen Sommers, director of The Mummy, creates here a cgi heavy action thriller based on an elite team of soldiers, called G.I. Joes. When a nanotechnology based warhead is stolen, they spring in to action to recover it.

By all rights, this could have been pretty awful. The cgi has that look about it where you're constantly reminded what you are watching is not real, removing any sense of jeopardy for the characters. There's a nagging feeling as you watch characters in motorised suits do leaps and jumps or planes flying past the speed of sound zip off in a different direction, that the movie is just not quite obeying the laws of physics... On the other hand, several elements save the movie from mediocrity. The action scenes that do not involve, or at least involve less cgi, are actually pretty impressive. Carnage on the streets of Paris involves both the annoyingly unconvincing aforementioned suits, but a fair deal of genuine car carnage which is pleasurable to watch. Even a few set piece cgi scenes have a wow factor, like the climax to the Paris scene. Then there is the actors, who do a good job of making the ridiculous.. well, maybe not believable, but acceptable. Then there's an infectious sense of fun and not taking themselves too seriously that serves the movie well. This is not a Batman style dark adaptation, but a lively and colourful imagining of what sort of world a G.I. Joe could inhabit. While Dennis Quaid has little screen time and even then just has to grin at the camera and bark a few commands, the rest of the cast manage to cram a heap of backstory into the movie without the film ever collapsing in on itself under the need to explain everything. Somewhat bizarrely, there are a heap of references and similarities to Star Wars plotlines and scenes, from a black masked heavy breathing villain, to underwater fights which look remarkably like the attack on the death star, and even duels which may as well have been with light sabres to complete the effect.

So with a music score full of zest by Alan Silvestri, aided by a brilliant and clear transfer to Bluray in both sight and sound, this is a brash, action packed, disposable movie even.. but good fun, for all that.

G.I. Joe The Rise Of The Cobra (2009)

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