Rob's G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra F.A.Q.

By Rob Bricken in Movies, TR Classics, Toys
Monday, August 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm

What's the worst part about the movie?
The impossibly contrived relationship between Duke, the Baroness and Cobra Commander. One of these relationships would have been terrible, but the fact that Duke was engaged to the Baroness and her brother became Cobra Commander and Cobra Commander was Duke's best friend is just atrocious. The flashbacks that deal this nonsense are likewise awful, and just grind the movie to a halt. The whole premise of G.I. Joe is goofy enough that adding this kind of nonsense just breaks the nonsense meter. It adds nothing to the movie.

Didn't producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says he did it to explore Duke's character?
What character? The hero wants to save the girl? Woo-fucking-hoo. Also, if Duke has any emotions upon meeting the thought-dead Rex/the Doctor in Destro's HQ, he doesn't choose to express them. Of course, Channing Tatum has all the acting talent of an underwear model, so he may have been trying for all I know.

That bad, huh?
Channing Tatum is a black hole of acting talent, sucking in and destroying every emotion that wanders into his path. In all honesty, everyone else does a mediocre to genuinely good job -- Sienna Miller's pretty good, and while Marlon Wayans is annoying, he's at least acting. Channing Tatum is a fucking disaster. And yes, I know he could almost certainly kick my pasty, ever-widening nerd blogger ass if we ever met in real life. But you know what? As long as he wears this whisper-thin 15-year-old's goatee:
...I'll have the moral victory.

What's good about the movie?
The Pit, the attack on the Pit, Snake Eyes (except for his lips), the Baroness (except for her stupid relationship with Duke). Oh, and the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow flashback, which is the most brutal battle between 10-year-olds you've ever seen. In all honestly, it makes the grown-up Snake eyes/Storm Shadow fights look like crap. That's partially because the grown-up fights are only so-so, but also because the kids' fight is that awesome. Although it's weird that Snake Eyes starts out as a young American hobo living in Japan.

He breaks into the dojo to steal food, fights young Storm Shadow for a while, and gets accepted into the school. A few months later -- a year tops, because the kids haven't aged at all -- Snake Eyes beats Storm Shadow, Shadow gets pissed and kills the Hard Master and runs away, and Snake Eyes takes a vow of silence.

That's moronic.
Well, taking a vow of silence is something a high-strung 10-year-old might do. Keeping it up for 25 years is something a moron would do. Still, the better question is how this makes Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes brothers or even rivals. Because for all the movie shows us, they're both just jackasses holding onto elementary school grudges.

But overall, the movie's still better than Transformers 2, right?
God yes. But I tell you what's maddening -- there are so many simple, obvious solutions to so many of the script's problems -- and moreover, so many simple thing that could have done to make this film more appealing to the fans -- that it drives me crazy.

Like what?
Well, Duke, for instance. We all know his as the leader of G.I. Joe. So why in the movie is he the new recruit that learns about the team second hand? Why didn't the filmmakers have  Duke as the leader -- as one might expect -- and have one of the million other Joes, perhaps Flint, be the newbie? It wouldn't have hurt anything, and it would have pleased the fans.
• And why have Destro be the villain of the movie, instead of Cobra Commander? Destro's whole shtick is that he was separate from Cobra, and that gave him his identity. No fan wanted to see a G.I. Joe movie where G.I. Joe fights Destro. We wanted to see them fighting fucking Cobra.
• Why have Rex -- a.k.a. "The Doctor" -- turn into Cobra Commander? Why couldn't there have been a Doctor and a Cobra Commander, and then there wouldn't have had to been a lame and inexplicable "transformation" scene at the end?
• Why force a relationship between Ripcord and Scarlett? Why not Duke and Scarlett, and avoid that horrible Duke-Baroness subplot altogether? Or if you had to have that, why not Scarlett and Snake Eyes, something there's a foundation for in the franchise?
• Why does Duke have to give Breaker his trademark bubblegum? Why couldn't Breaker just bring his own goddamn pack of gum, and not have Duke involved? what was possibly gained by have Duke be the guy with the fucking bubblegum?
• Why does the Doctor wear a silly wig? Why not just not wear a wig?
• Why does Brendan Fraser make a cameo as Sgt. Stone? Why not have him cameo as one of the hundreds of characters that Joe fans give a shit about instead? Or at least a character that's not from G.I. Joe Extreme?
• Why put lips on Snake Eyes' mask? Why make him look like he's wearing a shitty bootleg G.I. Joe costume from Mexico?
• Why have the Doctor give Destro his nanotech mask against his will, when it would have been actually a little cool for Destro to have chosen to replicate his ancestors' mask on his own?
• The Wild Weasel armor thing was cool -- why have it just disappear during Ripcord's descent to earth?
• WHY HAVE THE FUCKING ACCELERATOR SUITS? Seriously -- these things are introduced as the ultimate in fighting technology, but they are not used in the Joes' first mission. They are used in the Paris mission... although they're given to the goddamn rookies. And when G.I. Joe stages their massive assault on Destro's base, THEY AREN'T FUCKING USED EITHER. The accelerator suits are so clearly written for some other shitty movie -- assumably the generic combat movie di Bonaventura was writing before he decided to slap the G.I. Joe license on it -- that it's maddening. They have no place in G.I. Joe, and other than the incredibly stupid Paris sequence, they have no place in the movie either. You hear me? EVEN THE MOVIE THINKS THE ACCELERATOR SUITS ARE STUPID.

Can you convince people you're not just being a huge, pretentious asshole?
Probably not, but here's my attempt. I don't try to look for plot holes; if there's enough decent things going on -- good characters, good scenes, good action -- I can skip right over 'em, just like anybody else. I really liked the attack on the Pit, and thus the fact that Hawk kept the world's four most dangerous bombs in his office safe or the fact that there were zero security checkpoints in the world's best-manned military facility didn't even dawn on me until later.
I don't mind dumb movies, but if there's a plot hole there has to be something that fills it so viewers don't notice. In the Pit sequence, there was a great action scene. For most of the rest of the movie, there wasn't anything good enough happening to distract me from the stupidity.

This thing has gone on way too long. Any last points?
Yes. Now in the movie, the Doctor is responsible for the mind control of Destro's troops (not to mention the Baroness) besides the tech itself. His ridiculous get-up includes his little purple eyeglass thing... which I think is supposed to imply a monocle.

I am dead certain that "the Doctor" is based on someone's concept art for Dr. Mindbender,  since his original design would have looked truly ludicrous on screen. Here's the problem -- although someone in charge thought Dr. Mindbender was too stupid a character to use, they liked this new character design... and decided to use it for a pre-Cobra Commander. This would be frustrating enough, knowing that the movie could have been significantly better if the Doctor and C.C. were two separate characters, but it's worse when some random bearded dude makes a cameo and is called Dr. Mindbender! Maybe he'll show up in a sequel, but if he does, he'll just look like an old bearded man when a Dr. Mindbender who looked like the Doctor would have actually been pretty cool. And would've been so easy to do. But they went out of their way to slam that door closed, right in the fans' faces.

Can you sum up the movie in a single shot?
In the incredibly non-epic Paris sequence, while Snake Eyes is hanging onto the evil SUV and not doing anything and Duke and Ripcord are in their accelerator suits and not doing anything and Scarlett's on a stolen motorcycle and not doing anything, Heavy Duty and Breaker are in their rent-a-van. When Breaker finally exits, THIS IS WHAT HE IS WEARING:






It is absolutely hysterical. And you thought Snake Eyes' ninja slacks were bad. [Note: Much thanks to Justin B., who sent me the pic of Inclement Weather Breaker.]

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