Wednesday, August 12, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra **

Director: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller
Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Lee Byung-hun
Saïd Taghmaoui, Ray Park, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jonathan Pryce, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston

Not since the Bat nipples appeared on George Clooney more than a decade ago has a comic book/cartoon/toy inspired movie had such fetishist potential.
Inspired by the famous Hasbro action figures and the animated series about a group of elite soldiers from all over the world-fighting the evil M.A.R.S corporation-this film features a cast mostly comprised of models and exotically handsome men and women in tight fitting suits.
There isn't much of a plot, at least not one that matters. all you have to know is that the Joes are good and the Cobras-from M.A.R.S-are not.
M.A.R.S is led by James McCullen (Eccleston) a Scottish weapon mogul holding a three hundred year old grudge towards the French and somehow the entire world by default.
His company devices microscopic robots called nano-mites which can destroy people and world monuments and he plans to use them on several capitols to gain who knows what...
His team features a mad scientist called The Doctor (Gordon-Levitt in full Gollum mode), crazy ninja Storm Shadow (Byung-hun) and the Baroness (Miller) a former American socialite married to a French royal, who spends her free time killing people and stealing wmd-s.
That she has history with G.I. Joe Duke (Tatum) only adds to whatever little drama the film wants to introduce. Duke is the newest member of the Joes along with Ripcord (Wayans), the good guys also feature Heavy Duty (Akinnuoye-Abgaje), Breaker (Taghmaoui), silent ninja Snake Eyes (Park), Scarlett (Nichols) and team leader General Hawk (Quaid).
During 118 minutes members from each team fight each other in the midst of enormous action sequences, explosions and surprising weapons that appear out of nowhere.
They also have flashbacks-which are laughable-and constant hints at what the sequel will be about and even if it feels ethically incorrect to say so, it's slightly obvious that nobody comes to such movies seeking enlightenment.
Or do they?
With the state of summer blockbusters which now more than ever are requesting you leave your brain at home, is it then too much to ask for their kind of dumb entertainment to at least be actually entertaining?
If we have come to reduce movies to fulfill such primitive needs then "G.I. Joe" gets the job done. Absolutely nothing in the film makes sense, but most of it is fun.
Sommers' film takes place in the not so distant future where the USA actually cares for Russia and France and terrorism only comes in the shape of utterly deranged beings.
This sort of male fantasia will make sense to those who loved playing with the action figures (in the same way the first "Transformers" movie did).
This is the sort of movie where the heroes claim to be a secret unit, but have no problem destroying half of Paris in broad daylight. Someone else will clean this mess for moms picking up their kids' toys.
In a postmodernist nod Sommers is also able to give the movie a postmodernist feel by structuring it like a cartoon; the cinematography is cheap to say the least, the effects never look or feel real and the quotes are epitomize cheese.
Now the question is, does anyone actually want to see a live version of the cartoon? Luckily by the time you start formulating questions like these you'll be going home and in the process of forgetting this average Joe.

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