Sunday, February 21, 2010
TBG (Finally) Sees: G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra
10-Word Premise: Live-action cartoon continues tradition of making terrorism accessible to kids.
Starring: Channing Tatum as this guy. Rachel Nichols as this gal. Sienna Miller as this gal. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as this guy. Christopher Eccleston as this guy. And, Marlon Wayans as the make-believe character who alienates a segment of angry white fanboys for being a Black guy cast in the role of an action figure that was white.
Before we begin, here's a six-month old e-mail that I received from m'man Jag:
Surprisingly, Marlon Wayans wasn't the worst thing in the movie (although he was still pretty bad) but the whole movie was quite terrible. Marlon wasn't even the worst actor as that honour can be bestowed to Channing Tatum, who played Duke. This guy is one of the worst actors I've EVER seen. Like, I'm talking a Keanu Reeves/Paul Walker level of thespian.
The Best Thang(s): I can't remember the last time I willfully watched a film in which my expectations were this low. Now, let's be clear: G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra is howlingly awful at times. But, for guilty-pleasure purposes, I was eating up Gordon-Levitt's scene stealing from beginning to end.
The mid-film twist that reveals his character's true identity caught me completely off-guard (yeah, yeah…you saw it coming from the beginning, sure) and his "You can call me…COMMANDER" proclamation was probably my favorite scene in the movie.
Christopher Eccleston is the only other actor here who appears to be even remotely interested. As a double-dealing weapons producer, he hams it up as something akin to an ersatz Dr. Evil from Austin Powers infamy, but with a slightly more annoying accent.
The Worst Thang(s): In defense of Channing Tatum, I don't think his flat, emotionless acting can crack the worst three performances in this film. Rachel Nichols (as Scarlett) is the least convincing hero this side of the cast of Heroes. And, her lack of chemistry with Wayans' "Ripcord" character includes the worst cinematic kiss in my lifetime.
Sienna Miller's Baroness isn't much better, but Miller does what she can with a preposterous romantic subplot/backstory involving Duke, her dead brother and evil hair dye. Meanwhile, Dennis Quaid's military caricature may have finally unseated this performance as the most offensive to the armed forces.
There's not nearly enough space here to rip everything that's wrong with this film, so I'll try to summarize: (1) The incessant and overly-long flashbacks slammed the brakes on the story each and every time. (2) The Storm Shadow/Snake-Eyes stuff should've been better, but isn't allowed to get beyond its clichéd kung-fu hooey. (3) The plot holes are enormous – The Baroness is carrying an indestructible weapon's "kill switch" on a giant box (with a giant button) strapped over her shoulder? Cobra's trying to destroy Washington DC, even though they've already infiltrated the highest office in the land?
The Verdict: In the category of "bad movies that insult things close to my heart", G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra isn't Batman & Robin bad. Without a single protagonist like in the Spider-Man movies or "ignore-the-plot Autobot and Decepticon CGI distractions" in Transformers, you're left with a comic-book movie that's plays like a spoof of comic book movies.