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DVD Review - GI JOE: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

Here's our joint review of GI Joe: Rise of Cobra. The following review takes place in real time...
Warning: Contains spoilers if you care.

Plot: A group of covert military specialists, code-named G.I. Joe, race to stop an evil weapons dealer, Destro, from unleashing a weapon that threatens to destroy the world.

Monkey Migraine: Okay, I hated GI Joe: Rise of Cobra with a passion. Its the essence of what I'll call a big-budget B-movie. They had a terrible script, a terrible director, and terrible actors, but threw money at it until it worked. Imagine this movie with everything the same (script, actor, director), but with a budget of ten million dollars. Without the special effects, it would have been bargain-basement straight-to-DVD material.

Now that that's out of the way, let's start the dialogue. My first argument is that this movie had almost nothing to do with the original eighties' cartoon. Discuss.

MauriceM: I disagree in the sense that, to me, they created new characters based on the concept behind the original. Duke was...well Duke. Scarlett had red hair and a crossbow. Zartan was the master of disguise he was supposed to be. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were ninjas. I didn't recognize any others.  Did you buy Destro and Cobra commander?

Monkey Migraine: The problem I had is that the characters were the old characters in name only. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were pretty much the only recognizable characters. Yes, there was a character named Duke. But he was nothing like the old Duke. This guy was a rookie loser, as opposed to the cool, confident leader in the old cartoon. Scarlett had red hair and a crossbow, but she was also arrogant and used a laser-guided crossbow with exploding arrows. Zartan wasn't the Cajun chameleon he was in the cartoon, but a regular mercenary who was physically altered to look like the President...once. Destro was an arms manufacturer named McCullen who gets a metal face at the very end. And don't get me started on Cobra Commander, otherwise known as the Doctor.

In fact, everything in the movie was like that...in name only. GI Joe in the movie wasn't the American military organization filled with interesting, unique experts in every field from the cartoon. It was a UN international fighting group with a bunch of anonymous soldiers, and a handful of slightly more distinct soldiers that formed the main characters.

Imagine this...change the name of the organization from GI JOE to Fighting Force, give all the characters new names (Duke becomes Luke, the Baroness becomes Lady Warrior, etc.). Would the movie still make you think "Hey, GI Joe?" The answer, to me, is no. There's nothing wrong with fleshing out the characters, but so many changes were made that it's almost unrecognizable as the original.

MauriceM: You're right. The characters became generic people with familiar names. Ok. How dramatic was Marlon Wayans? In every interview he talked about how people may find it hard to accept his "dramatic" debut. What exactly does he consider dramatic acting? Ray Parks was awesome as the unrecognizable Snake Eyes, although I found his flashbacks distracting and pointless. 

Monkey Migraine: Yeah. I knew that movie was in trouble when I heard two words: "Wayans brother." That one scene of him confiding in Scarlet was laughable. Maybe his idea of drama is no fart jokes. His character was as dramatic as Jar Jar Binks.

Speaking of casting, when I heard they were casting the kid from "3rd Rock From The Sun" I was horrified, but tried to stay hopeful. I thought maybe he might pull a Heath Ledger and surprise me. Then he came on-screen. I had to stop the DVD and rant at my wife for five minutes. They covered his face with a mask and dubbed his voice for most of the movie. So what, I ask, was the point of casting him at all? Why not just cast someone with the physical and vocal presence to begin with: Hire Kane from the WWE. I wonder if the director owed the kid a favor or something. And poor Ray Park. Another non-speaking role. He never gets a break.

MauriceM: The action scenes were creative and eye-catching, but I could have done without the "Accelerator Suits" to create inhuman CGI fight scenes. The movie felt like cotton candy to me. Sweet and delicious, but there was nothing there to fill you up once you left the theater. They never even bothered to answer the fundamental question of why the evil group is called "Cobra" instead of "Group of Really Evil Guys."

My final score is C+ since it could have been a worse and had some pretty good action scenes.

Monkey Migraine: D.

What do you think of G.I. Joe? Let us know in the comments!


  1. I found it very generic and forgettable.

  2. @AlexJ.Cavanaugh Yeah, it was pretty much a "tab A into slot B" action film. I could swear that scene with the suits jumping over missiles is straight out of Transformers.

  3. Speaking of acceleration suits, what a piece of crap that was. First of all, they have these really advanced suits. What do they do? Give them to their best operatives to get the most use out of them? No, they give them to their greenest recruits. And then never wear them again for the rest of the movie. And based on what the acceleration suits did, they're only good for chasing down cars and dodging missiles.


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