“G.I.Joe is the codename for America’s highly trained special mission force. It’s purpose: To defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.”
From the phenomenal release of the 3 3/4 inch toy line, the groundbreaking cartoon and even the Marvel Comics version, this basic principle has always rung true. ‘GIJOE: The Rise of Cobra’ stays true to that, no question.
While JOE makes a very vibrant and well paced action flick and popcorn movie, it fails in supporting what producers may have seen as a rather thin cannon that the diehard 80’s fans will know by heart. For those of you who don’t know or really didn’t care… here it is. The GI Joe cartoon was the mainstream outlet while the comic book served as filler / fodder depending on how you viewed it. The comics obviously needed to add more human interest to the background and swerved way to the left where the cartoon would stay on its course of animated violence with a PSA and all is resolved by the end of the half hour episode. The big screen versions of ‘Transformers’ suffers from the same story problems, but easily overcame it because they’re big robots and that’s that.
Though to the producers the background stories of the cartoons/comics may be fairly pointless (they took comic over cartoon because of the more realistic Cobra aspect) when launching a franchise and raking in millions upon millions of dollars (just ask Trekkies how much they love when the story veers from the cannon) it still means a little something to that small demographic of the audience who grew up with it. Certain characters worked seamlessly in transition, Destro being one and surprisingly Cobra Commander being another. Other characters endured minor tweaks while some simply had their backgrounds twisted into some useless silly sweet simple to follow everyday follies while others were changed completely inside out (if you’re familiar with ‘Ripcord’ you know what I mean and ‘Sgt. Slaughter’ or ‘Stalker’ (or Stone as listed in the IMDB and played by Brendan Fasier) in the film renamed ‘Flint’ would have been perfect)… and sorry, but Duke was seriously miscast. Too bad considering you could have actually used the cannon background, re-arranged two or three scenes, a character name or two and have a movie approximately seven minutes longer but a lot more involving to the diehard fan.
Overall, this film does what it should. It takes you on the summer blockbuster journey through good versus evil with some really great and imaginative locales and explosions delivering you neatly to the end of the ride where it at least appears that the good guys won… but they didn’t. Kudos for that and for setting up what could be a great franchise.
Story wise, and again only for the diehards (if you’ve never seen G.I.Joe or don’t know anything of it outside of a little toy with kung-fu grip, you’re safe) it’s a tainted premise but obviously we’ll muddle through.
Popcorn movie epic and no bathroom breaks.