GO JOE! – G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

g-i-gi-joe-rise-of-cobra-01Who the hell would have thought that this year’s dry summer movie season will end with a “Boom! Boom! Pow!” Seriously, not only was the movie all about boom, boom and pow, it even ended with that annoying song from the Black Eyed Peas, which was played during the end credits. When I heard that song, I immediately walked out of the cinema and wondered why the heck that silly song was played at the end. Now, come to think of it, that song clearly defines the movie.

Referring to my previous article, ‘Understanding Michael Bay’, one has to know what he or she is walking into. Firstly, G.I. Joe is a movie based on the 1980s cartoon show and action figure line. Back then, I was a fan of Joe more than a fan of Transformers. I remember the cartoon quite well and between me and my younger brother, we had a lot of Joe figures. So, when we first heard they were making a movie, we got really excited. Then, we heard through the grapevine that it will be directed by Stephen Sommers, which got my brother worried. As for me, I loved ‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’, and thought that ‘Van Helsing’ was enjoyable to say the least (probably due to Kate Beckinsale’s hotness). That’s saying a lot because nobody liked ‘Van Helsing’. Therefore, I treated the news as somewhat positive. Of course, I knew it was not going to be ‘X-Men’ but still, enjoyable at least. And boy, was that movie fun!

The newbies were made to stand for hours.
The newbies were made to stand for hours.

The story starts off with in medieval France where this dude name McCullen, a 17th century arms dealer who was caught by the authorities for supplying weapons to both sides and was made to wear this iron mask. We then moved into the ‘not too distant future’, i.e. present day, where a descendant of McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), continued his ancestral tradition of manufacturing and trading in weapons. Only this time around, it’s no longer rapiers, halberds and crossbows, but a super-advanced weapon called nanomites. It’s this little insect thingies that could eat through metal within seconds; conversely, if injected into one’s body, it could turn the victim invincible. The research and production of said weaponry was funded by NATO, who was only involved because McCullen wanted funding. When the weapon was then later being transferred, McCullen sent his men (and woman) to hijack the convoy and retrieve a case of nanomites to commence his world domination. This is where the fun begins.

The convoy was led by Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) and consisted of a couple of Hummers. Then BOOM! This super-cool, super-advanced, super-unique jet/airplane/airship came out of the sky and blasted the convoy to oblivion. Not only was the ship slick-looking but it fires some sort of shockwave that wipes out everything in its path. Its reflexes was so quick that whenever the army men fire a projectile at it, the invincible ship fires back and destroy the projectiles. Then, the bad guys came down from the ship, led by the Baroness (Sienna Miller) and man, she was hot!

The Raya fireworks started a bit early this year.
The Raya fireworks started a bit early this year.

As she and a band of Nano-Vipers were trashing the army men, out of nowhere, another super-cool, super-advanced, super-unique jet/airplane/airship came out of the sky and a ninja jumped out of it, a red-headed hottie with a crossbow descended from it, a big black guy firing a big-ass gattling gun from it and somewhere along, an intelligent Moroccan technology specialist came down from it as well. They are Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Breaker (Said Taghmaoui). Now they trash the bad guys, save the nanomites from falling into the wrong hands and save the two surviving soldiers, Duke and Ripcord. The latter two were then asked to follow the new arrivals back to their base. After that scene, I got up, pointed a finger at the screen and said, loudly I might add, ‘now that’s Joe!’ During that scene, I was briefly teleported back to my childhood days and I had that certain glee on my face, which only happened once before, during ‘Speed Racer’. That was the funnest scene I have seen all summer. I don’t even f**king care if funnest is not a word in the English language, as my colleague Mr. Goh will gladly point out, but yeah, that’s how I would personally describe it. And guess what? The scenes that followed are even funner!

When the team headed back to the Joe’s base, which was called The Pit, they were introduced to the Joe’s leader, General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), who asked Duke and Ripcord to join the Joes as they have shown amazing talent during and prior to the battle earlier on. They were then given a tour of The Pit and wow! See, they were going down this elevator and at every level, we get a glimpse of the Joe’s training centre which includes everything from fighting with invisibility jackets to underwater submarine going through hoops and all. I was like, “OH MY GOD!” The movie seems to capture the essence of ‘G.I. Joe’, which I remember from my childhood days. It is as cheesy as it can be but hey, looking back, that’s exactly what those 80s cartoon were all about: cheesiness. Again, it doesn’t stop there. We were later being treated to another action sequence taking place at The Pit, followed by another chase sequence at Paris and finally, an epic underwater battle below the polar ice caps, which serves as the headquarters for M.A.R.S., McCullen’s underground (no pun intended there) organization. This is the organisation that manufactures the nanomites and conducts all sorts of research on advanced weaponry led by a scientist simply known as The Doctor.

The sword he got from Khao Sarn Road was put to good use.
The sword he got from Khao Sarn Road was put to good use.

What I meant earlier when I said that the movie captures the essence of Joe is that much focus was given on the weaponry, gadgets and especially the vehicles. The latter was a huge part of the cartoon and toy line; tanks, choppers, fighter planes, snowmobiles, boats, you name it. Thanks to those fictional vehicles, ‘G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra’ felt more like the original cartoon than ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ did. But these vehicles also represent one of ‘Joe’s’ biggest complaints: special effects. Seeing that they are after all fictional vehicles, these vehicles are computer generated. Believe me, if it’s possible to construct such vehicles, the U.S. Army would have long have these babies as part of their arsenal. I am not sure if it’s the limited budget or that the designs itself are too complicated that the FX artistes are incapable of making them realistic. Looking back at Stephen Sommers’ ‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’, those special effects weren’t great either. Sure, its not Industrial Light and Magic or Weta Digital providing the effects here, but we would have expected the studio to invest a bit more in this area because based on my observation from friends and colleagues, the special effects is their only gripe for what would have otherwise been the perfect summer blockbusters. As for the weaponry and gadgetry, seeing that Q has been missing from the last two James Bond film, it’s good to see another movie taking up the mantle of providing us with surrealistic but oh-so-cool weapons and gadgets. My personal favorite would be the one wield by The Baroness and the Cobra Commando; a gun that emits some sort of shockwave, a mini version of the canons mentioned earlier from the airship.

Say what you want about G.I. Joe but this film delivers. More over the fact that this film was doomed from the moment the trailers came about and folks said that even crap looks better than this. Also, there was a rumor earlier on that Stephen Sommers was fired from the job and a fixer director cum editor was called upon the fix to movies. If you’re looking for a more believable war or action movie, than I suggest you watch ‘The Hurt Locker’ or something. This is a G.I. Joe movie and IT IS A G.I. JOE MOVIE, except that they are ‘Real Global Heroes’ instead of ‘Real American Heroes’.

Fazil has always been in love with Rachel Nichols. He even saw ‘P2’ because of her. ‘P2’!!! The movie that took place almost entirely in a parking lot!

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