Tinseltown has failed to produce a real hit this year and G. I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra is no exception. Sure Angels & Demons came close to being a home run, if only an infield one. Even the much hyped Watchmen suffered from a badly edited theatrical cut as LA continues to dump on itself, licking its wounds from last year's strikes and this year's recession.
G. I. Joe isn't anything new or spectacular; it is, in fact, quite the opposite: overused CGI, actors chosen for looks, not ability; too many plot lines that turns into tiring exposition; lots of pointless effects; unneeded comedic relief; pointless love interests and plenty of eye candy.
The first clue that this movie was going to be a waste of time was Dennis Quaid is featured prominently in the trailer as General Hawk. Quaid must have thought this would be his redemption movie that would turn his career as audiences saw him in a new light, much like what Stranger Than Fiction did for Will Ferral, but alas, that's not the case. Quaid sure does look tough in poses for press junkets but as soon as he opens his mouth, it's game over. Let's face it: Quaid has always played soft-spoken character roles. In a phrase, he's no Bruce Willis.
Then you have Channing Tatum as Duke. What a waste. He simultaneously tries to be serious and a pretty boy, Brad Pitt look alike and doesn't do either well. His only saving grace is that he's acting beside a hugely miscast Marlon Wayans. Tatum is eager, but only time will tell if he's talented.
Marlon Wayans being miscast is quite the understatement. It was like watching Eddie Murphy in Meet Dave all over again, which is, to say the least, painful. It's not that Wayans' performance is bad in isolation; no, he gave exactly what director Stephen Sommers asked. The problem is that as advertised, G. I. Joe was a serious action film, not some blown out genre buffet.
Ripcord's love interest with Scarlet doesn't serve the film either. It plays second fiddle to Duke and Ana's relationship and hence redundant to the film's needs. It's not actually funny nor is it the stuff that a good romance is made of. It's fodder for the screen.
Next is the eye candy. Boys, this is simply a matter of hair color preference. All three girls have nice figures, so this is a matter of picking your poison, but again, this is yet another example of how you can have too much of a good thing. Granted, I used to not think that you could have too many hot girls in a film, but now I'm persuaded otherwise. Simply put, this is a film, not a porno, The girls compete with each other for screen time but there's nothing arousing about it. My personal preference has the least amount of screen time, but boy is she a site for sore eyes: Karolina Kurkova as Cover Girl.
Though it's nice to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt take on more prominent rolls, it was just creepy watching him play such a twisted character. I think he should stick to smaller, lo-budget dramas where he's done his best work: Brick
, The Lookout
, and Killshot
. The winning performance of the film is Jonathan Pryce's President of the United States--a performance that restores prestige to the high office.
Ultimately, while sitting in the the theater, one clearly understands that the girls on the screen is fake and there's no chance in hell of meeting them much less sleeping with them and this reality is hammered into your thick skull with the horrific compositing. One gets the feeling that Sommers took the George Lucas approach: stick everyone in front of a green screen then make the movie in the computer. Every underwater shot screams "Look at me! I'm CG!"
The dizzying cinematography didn't help either. Granted, you don't get the motion sickness that the shot of the LHC in Angels & Demons
. The fights were pretty good, but the fly-wheeling, whiz banging, zip-zoom-flying that passed for establishing and tracking shots made you wonder if this wasn't some kid's plaything.
And that's the real rub of the film. This was a movie that was supposed to be about some kid's playthings from years ago. Of course, Paramount couldn't keep their grubby marketing paws away, so naturally the film got modernized to sell to an audience of sheeple. This wasn't a decent modernization like with Iron Man
. No, this was another rehash of How NOT to make a comic book movie
This movie tries to be all things to all men an fails miserably at it. Yes, there's something
for the whole family to enjoy here but the parts just don't make a good whole. Even Alan Silvestri score is forgettable--I can't hum one bar. For crying out loud, we're talking about the guy who wrote the Cast Away score