"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" has about all the subtlety and attraction of an explosion in tight-fitting spandex. That's not really much of a metaphor either, because about half of the movie is either an explosion or tight-fitting spandex. We sat down to watch it, due to my brother's interest. "If only to see how much they
The characters are about as simple as it gets, character development is about as linear as railroad tracks, though you can see they did at least attempt an effort, insofar as to loosely leave a sticky note saying: "Yeah, yeah, we know. But at least there's explsions, right?". The only real non-exploding plot there is is the mysterious, yet frankly predictable relationship between the male protagonist and the female antagonist. There's a token twist here and there, but it's all fairly predictable.
And the movie is stupid. Really, really, really stupid. Like, about as clever and rational as something by Jack Chick. Weapons wielded by the good guys and bad guys really only function as the plot needs them to. Example: In the beginning, the bad guys, who can only really be described as an army of mooks based on the "Army of Two". They are impervious, unstoppable, bullet-proof killing machines, armed with Some sort of sonic weapon that can overturn army humvees, and oddly, cause explosions for no real justifiable reason. Now, I turn to my main man Newton's third law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Shots from these guns can flip transports weighing tons and tons, yet there is no kickback. I have fired a gun, before, ladies and gentlemen, and I can tell you, even the modest .22 calibre gives a little nudge when fired. About 15 minutes into the movie, I realised that there had been about 30 explosions in about 2 minutes, so I knew what I was getting myself into.
But then, the GI Joe team come in to save the day, with what one can only presume is some sort of superior bullets, because these previously impervious badasses now start getting gunned down left, right, and centre. But not before seriously threatening and nearly killing the only female member of the team, just to keep that masculine vibe going.
Later on, after some flashbacks, the bad guys invade the good guys' base, ninjas fight, turns out the ninjas are brothers or something, yadda yadda yadda, and once again, we see those sonic weapons. But now, our lovely protagonists can withstand a full-force shot from one of those to the chest and just shrug it off. Didn't those things cause explosions? Cripes!
Then, we go to Paris, and the bad guys have some nanoweapon thing. The good guys get some fancy exoskeleton suits, and start chase. They literally tear through the streets chasing this other car, crushing cars, buildings, and more cars as they go on their merry jog through the capital of France. Then, they take out miniguns and freaking open fire on the bad guys' car in the middle of the street. The main character feels massive regret over the death of one of his soldiers' deaths four years ago, but hey! Don't worry about that little 6-year old girl you clipped in the shoulder with a stray shot, no sir-ee! Little Franchesca will be just fine, and don't worry about all the car wrecks you caused, they're fine. And that building you just "Made a door" with? Don't worry about the collateral damage! Their insurance policy covers "FREEDOM"!
I can't help but feel that someone on the team was slyly trying to make some political commentary on America's problems with foreign policy. Oh, and the Eiffel Tower gets destroyed by the nanoweapon. But who cares! It wasn't the statue of liberty. Then again, maybe they really did care, what with launching explosive missles and opening gattling guns in civilian areas, I mean, that nanoweapon could have destroyed a building or something!
And then, right at the end, after all's said and done and we've gotten through all the flashbacks and character development and quickly-tied up romances, we find ourselves in the COBRA base, underneath the polar ice caps! But gasp! They're going to issue a self-destruct sequence! They're going to... 'Blow the icecap'? That must be code for setting off explosives in the base. Ah yes, it's showing a flashing screen of the base. Wait, but it's just lighting up a bunch of little red dots around the ice sheet above the base. Wait. Please, please no. No. No. Please don't. Yes, yes you are. But... Ugh. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they're going to blow up the ice above the underwater base, and the ice will then fall and crush the base. Yes. That's right. The icecaps above the water will sink to the bottom, crushing the base. I found myself involuntarily cringing at this flagrant upheaval of not only science, but basic common sense. Ice. Floats. What in the name of Cthulhu was holding it up before? Hope? Steel Girders? The Kyoto protocol? I could feel Al Gore's heart silently break as I saw the polar icecaps sink underwater, defying a lesson anyone has learned when the put ice in a glass of water.
All that said, the movie had good action sequences. Yes, they did play up the fact they had two attractive-looking young ladies on the cast, but thankfully, they didn't sink to the frankly shameful depths of Transformers 2 with Megan Fox. Genuinely, most of the effects were fairly jaw-dropping, at least a few times, and the action sequences were quite intense, with a balanced blend of generic japanese swordplay, some cool gunfights, and yes, the aformentioned explosions every 5 minutes. Truth be told, I thought it was better than Transformers 2. Truth be told, I thought it was just beneath Harry Potter 6. It's got about no plot, cardboard cutout characters (for the most part, though there's the occaisional twist), but if your dad's paying for the ticket, then turn off your brain, sit down, turn off your brain, get ready for some explosions, turn off your brain, and enjoy the cheesy one-liners, entertaining action, and EXPLOSIONS.
They've got ninjas!