Review by Josh Eggebeen (Antarctica)
Part 1 GI Joe, New Perspective
In order to review the GI Joe movie, I felt as a Joe collector, since 1982, that I had to get some things out of the way before I could fully enjoy the movie and here are my thoughts.
To skip to that actual review click here
This is a review of GI Joe, as a whole, now that the movie is about to be out and then at the bottom the actual review of the new movie from Yo Joe.com.
I just watched Snake Eyes fight Storm Shadow on the big screen!!!!
A life long dream of a die hard GI Joe fan. So thank you Hasbro & Paramount for fulfilling that dream.
To read my straight up review of the film click here.
This movie is not the GI Joe of are past and if the movie is watched that way it will be hard to like. Which is why I had to write Part 1 of the movie review.
GI Joe the Rise of Cobra is a really, really entertaining movie. And every Joe fan should go see it. But it is changing GI Joe forever.
First thing first, I worked on the film so I have that experience, I have read the IDW comic book so I knew the whole story before seeing the movie and for a year now I have heard the truths and rumors of the film on the internet. And of course, I have been collecting GI Joe since 1982. So with all of that history stacked on top of the movie, there is a lot of reasons to not like the current version of GI Joe that Hasbro allowed Paramount to create.
But I thought it was great, lots of action, lots of cool scenes between the characters, all of the bad guys and girl where great villains and it is the GI Joe of the future both in the movie and literally for us fans. Whole new generations of GI Joe collectors are going to be introduced to GI Joe starting on August 7th.
So bring on the new 3rd Generation of GI Joe fans.
But, these new fans may never know the rich history created during the Marvel era about Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Stalker being in the Vietnam War together, that Scarlett & Snake Eyes are a real in love couple and that Cobra Commander started as a used car salesman. They will have to hunt to discover the very complicated story of Snake Eyes that Larry Hama weaved over more then 25 years of writing GI Joe comics. And I guess that is as it should be. If the new generation loves GI Joe they will find it if they want to.
Hasbro has continuously revamped GI Joe every 10 years or so, 1960's first 12 inch action figure EVER and soldier, 1970's adventure team, Kung Fu grip, 1980's 3 3/4 figures, comics, cartoons and Snake Eyes and crew, 1990's more of the same but not as good, early 2000's Sigma 6 and finally in the late 2000's we get the movie version & 25th Anniversary toy line.
And so to review this movie, I feel like I have to throw out all of the old stories that I know so well. It helped when at the beginning of 2009 IDW began a whole new origin of the Joe team in the comics, again written by Hama. All of the old Joe fans (yep, being in your 30's is old compared to kids) had to adjust because GI Joe has changed once again into something new. The next generation of Joe fans are going to look upon us like we used to look upon those old guys with grey hair who played with the big GI Joe's.
To watch the new Joe movie us 80's & 90's kids have to understand that this movie was made for the next generation of GI Joe fans. It is the characters that we knew but now have to learn to love all over again. To watch it with the appreciation that the stories we knew, don't apply anymore but we get to see Snake Eyes in action on a huge screen but not know his backstory. And until those adjustments are made it will be hard to like the new movie.
So clean out your Joe closet and watch the movie from a clean perspective cause if your looking for the old it is not there. The opening title has a line that says "in the not to distant future" and for GI Joe fans this movie means we will have a great future for many more years to come, especially if they make multiple sequels.
As one of the Senior Editors of one of the oldest GI Joe websites on net, I suggest that everyone enjoy the ride that Stephen Sommers has created. And bring your kids if you have them cause they will want to buy the toys and read the comics just like we did when we were kids except they get to see it on the big screen first instead of having to wait nearly 30 years to see it.
Part 2 Rise of Cobra Review
Here is the straight review of the movie. Don't read if you are avoiding spoilers.
I have 4 story points that I completely disagree with. 1st -- Baroness & Cobra Commander should not be brother & sister. 2nd -- Snake Eyes should be disfigured and silent because of an accident not a vow of silence. 3rd - Scarlett should be in love with Snake Eyes, not it's complicated and romantically interested in Rip Cord. 4th - Cobra Commander isn't blue or have a hood. These are basic changes to the GI Joe story that Hasbro should have never allowed. Snake Eyes, GI Joe's core character, has always been a tragic figure and in the movie he is not. And I feel takes away from the story that I grew up with.
But this is not the story I grew up with in the 80's.
This movie is really, really entertaining.
The story takes us all over the world and introduces us to a lot of different characters very effectively and quickly. To introduce an ensemble cast is something that is difficult to do. But Sommers handles it very well, by the end of the film the viewer will feel they know all of the characters, not an easy task. We get to know Destro, Baroness, Duke and Rip Cord really quickly. As the movie goes along other characters like Heavy Duty, Breaker, Scarlett, Hawk and Storm Shadow are all developed very well and each shows their strengths that they bring to their teams. Snake Eyes is one that we seem to get to know the least but that is because he has always been a mystery.
Throughout the movie there are flashbacks to give us the back story on the characters; I think they are perfectly timed. The fight scenes between the young Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are really great; you don't often see kids fighting martial arts style. The military assault scene with Duke, Rip Cord and Rex is one of the best of the movie. And even the flashbacks of the good & bad times between the Baroness & Duke are really well done.
I am surprised to admit that the best action scene of the movie was the accelerator suit chase in Paris. This scene is not something I have ever seen before in movie. People can't keep up with speeding cars but in this case they can. It works, very surprisingly, because they are in the accelerator suits. And the amount of cars they destroyed, flipped and crashed was ridiculous. Snake Eyes shows his best ninja skills; the Baroness has some really great lines and the Joes only kind of save the day.
The only part of the movie where it started to fall apart for me was at the end.
The mix between the big underwater battle (a want to be Return of the Jedi big space battle) and the character interaction by Rex/the Doctor/The Commander with the Duke, Baroness and Destro was by far the worst part of the movie. It is not that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is bad as an actor but his character just seems so ridiculous, even for Cobra Commander, if that is possible. He is an evil scientist turned insane and he looks it. But it just doesn't work most of the time. And the helmets of both Cobra Commander and Destro are terrible.
But the highlight of the movie is Sienna Miller as the Baroness. She is beautiful as expected and she has the best lines of the movie. On numerous occasions, she has one liners that hit the mark perfectly. An example is as she is climbing out a wrecked Hummer over the body of the dead driver she says "Next time I will drive" a great laugh and perfectly delivered and she does it numerous times. Stephen Sommers did a great casting her, even though she had never been in such a big budget movie, and she really helps hold the movie together. Especially at the end when she wakes up from her brainwashing. And the Baroness is the only character, other then Snake Eyes, that looks exactly like her original version.
Marlon Wayans also does a surprisingly good job as Rip Cord. His lines are perfect for the scene and he is just as good a fighter as the rest, so even though he is some what the comic relief it doesn't take away from the movie.
Channing Tatum is pretty flat but is very believable in the action sequences, Dennis Quaid spouts his lines but doesn't do much, Rachel Nichols does a good job mixing the toughness and tenderness of Scarlett and she kills a lot of MARS soldiers. Said Taghmaoui as Breaker has the best comic book fan moment of the film when takes some bubble gum from Duke and blows a bubble. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Heavy Duty has a big presence and gets to yell Yo Joe again another fan favorite moment. Arnold Vosloo as Zartan has a small but great little part. We even get brief scenes where Dr. Mindbender and Cover Girl appear. And Brendan Fraser is wasted as some unknown Joe.
Christopher Eccleston as Destro is the heart of the film and he handles it perfectly, Destro was always the smartest most calculated man in the room and that is exactly how it comes across. It was nice to see him kiss the Baroness.
And finally that leaves me with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, Ray Park and Byung-hun Lee, respectively. The fight scenes between the two are so fast. They fight like ninjas using several different weapons and give us the best fan favorite moments of the movie. The fight scene in The Pit is best of the three they have. If you ranked there fight scenes in with regular martial arts movies it is pretty fair but because it is what every GI Joe fan wants to see. They are one of the best fights scenes I have seen. I loved every minute of them fighting. It is what GI Joe is all about.
Maybe I missed it but Larry Hama's cameo wasn't very obvious. And I was looking for him.
Overall, the movie has some really enjoyable performances, one great action sequence and a couple of awesome fights mixed with a really fast paced film. If I had to give it a grade as regular movie goer probably a B, but as a GI Joe fan it definitely gets an A cause it gives us the basic core of the GI Joe we all knew and mixes in a ton of new for the next generation of Joe fans.
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