out of Five
Running time: 119
A trashy but nonetheless hugely enjoyable action-adventure with superb effects, exciting action sequences, likeable characters and a neat line in techno-gadgetry.
What's it all about?
Based on the popular toys, cartoons and comics, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra stars Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans as Duke and Ripcord, two Special Forces soldiers who are asked to join an elite team of operatives known as G.I. Joe when their platoon is wiped out while trying to protect some top-secret weaponry. Their new team-mates
include: team commander General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), intelligence expert Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), electronics whizz Breaker (Said Taghmaoui), weapons specialist Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and masked, silent ninja warrior Snake Eyes (Ray Park).
Before long, Duke and Ripcord find themselves on their first mission, to recover the terrifying weapons technology stolen by Duke's ex-girlfriend The Baroness (Sienna Miller) and her deadly ninja henchman Storm Shadow (Byung Hun Lee). But who or what is the mysterious Cobra organisation?
The performances are excellent and there's a believable sense of camaraderie between the characters. Tatum makes a solid, likeable lead and Miller is obviously having a lot of fun as The Baroness (“Nice shoes,” she remarks, whilst shooting up a lobby), but the show is nearly stolen from under their noses by Byung Hun Lee, who's so cool as Storm Shadow that he almost makes you root for the bad guys.
The effects are fantastic and the film puts all its techno-gadgetry to terrific use, most notably during a breathtaking central chase sequence through the streets of Paris. In addition, director Stephen Sommers orchestrates some genuinely exciting action sequences and the aforementioned Paris set piece manages to actually show you something you've never seen before, something every blockbuster ought to aspire to.
The script has its share of good lines (“The French are a little upset”) and director Stephen Sommers deserves credit for insisting that everyone play it straight. There are also several nice touches, such as the surprisingly engaging back stories accorded to a handful of the characters.
In short, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra beats the pants off both Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Terminator Salvation combined. It may be trashy and ridiculous, but it's also a huge amount of fun. Recommended.
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (12A)