Meeting Expectations: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movie) Review

There will be much ink and many pixels spent dissecting the new Stephen Sommers' movie based on the G.I. Joe property. I'm entirely sure there will be many criticisms leveled at this movie because of the silly plot, over-the-top action or cheesiness. And the nerdrage will be strong from G.I. Joe purists who are offended by the changes to the characters that differ from the '80's cartoon. If you are in either camp, you should probably not even bother seeing this movie, because not only do you hate fun, but you are predestined to hate this movie. I feel your pain: my hatred of the Transformers movies starts with the dizzyingly overcomplicated robot design and ends with Michael Bay-splosions. For the rest of the world, me included, G.I. Joe is a fun, cheesy thrill ride, the absolute definition of meeting expectations.

I claim that this movie meets expectations because it does just that - it is exactly the kind of movie one should expect to see from a movie based on an '80's cartoon series that was designed to sell militaristic toys. While the G.I. Joe team has gone from an American team to an international N.A.T.O.-backed organization, the essence remains the same. This is the best of the best military unit that uses the coolest high-tech gadgets to fight "the bad guys" in secret wherever they appear. The plot is by the numbers: cartoony villains dream up an elaborate plot involving a highly sophisticated weapon system stolen from the forces of freedom and used for evil. Along the way there are personal vendettas (Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, the Baroness and Duke), romantic tensions (Ripcord and Snake-Eyes both vie for Scarlett's affections), hot babes kicking ass, samurai swords flashing, explody things explodifying, jets and tanks and jeeps and snowmobiles and hovercraft and exo-suits and all kinds of shit going on all over the screen. It is a great big, CGI-infused spectacle movie and the plot makes about as much sense as an episode of the cartoon did. I will give the writers some credit though - there is a twist in the tail of the overarching bad guy plot that was executed with a certain degree of subtlety that I did not expect.

The movie is far from perfect. The CGI is inconsistent, particularly in the beginning where some very routine CGI shots look horribly mismatched to the scene. Some of the cheesy lines from the original cartoon ("Yo! JOE!" and "Knowing is half the battle!") come across with deliberate cheesiness, mostly as service to the fans. But most of the gripes are minor. The movie is what it was meant to be, a popcorn flick chock full of Saturday morning pulpy goodness. It is what I expected it to be - fun. The movie ends wide open for a sequel, and I for one would welcome it. I give this movie 7 out of 10. It won't win any awards, but it is worth a watch unless you hate fun.

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