Fanboys have been waiting more than two decades for this moment, and oversize children have longed for it since they first discovered the meaning of “Kung-Fu Grip” in the ’60s and ’70s. During the Super Bowl on Sunday (February 1), the world got its first glimpse at the live-action “G.I. Joe” movie, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” So what did you think?
To be honest: As a die-hard fan of the ’80s toys and cartoons, I saw little besides a title card that made me think this was “G.I. Joe.” No Cobra Commander, no “Yo, Joe!,” no distinctive uniforms, colorful costumes or tongue-in-cheek public-service announcements. If a franchise has been successful for 45 years, why does it need such a massive overhaul that only seems to make it feel more generic?
Then again, my wife, who is not bogged down with any preconceived notions of “G.I. Joe,” watched it, looked over at my disappointed face and said: “It looks like a cool action flick!” Maybe in the case of this August release, not knowing is half the battle.
Love it or hate it, here’s our shot-by-shot breakdown of the good, the bad and the Baroness:
Shot 1: A foreign sports car pulls up at a fancy mansion.
Shot 2: An establishing shot of a character’s leg, stepping out of said vehicle. If it isn’t the most overused cliché in all of moviemaking, it’s certainly in the top two.
Shot 3: Hey, it’s Sienna Miller as the Baroness! The chief intelligence officer for C.O.B.R.A. has a predilection toward tight black outfits, plots to take over the world, and evil men in masks. Thankfully, she’s wearing her eyeglasses in this scene.
Shot 4: Hundreds of evil CGI submarines.
Shot 5: A better view of Baroness in her black leather outfit, and a first glimpse at the control room of M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate). There, she stands at attention behind Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV (or Destro to his friends). Played by Christopher Eccleston (the invisible dude from “Heroes”), this appears to be an early scene in the movie, before the Scottish weapons dealer dons his signature steel mask.
Voiceover: “When I’m finished, the world will never forget.” Really? Is that Destro’s voice? I guess the brogue is interesting, but it certainly couldn’t be any more different than Arthur Burghardt’s voice in the classic cartoon series.
Shot 6: Green, CGI, mossy-looking things munch away at the Eiffel Tower, dropping it on its side. Clearly, Destro’s evil plan is to get revenge after dropping several hundred bucks at Le Jules Verne restaurant only to sit among tourists and eat mediocre French food.
Shot 7: “Make the call,” urges Dennis Quaid as Hawk. Since Quaid is so fond of describing his Hawk as a cross between General Patton and Hugh Hefner, we can only assume the serious-looking lady in the background is about to tear her shirt open, and that “the call” is some sort of sexual thing.
Shot 8: “From the director of ’The Mummy.’ ” Insert your own joke here.
Shot 9: “Mount up!” screams Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. By far the most controversial of the “G.I. Joe” castings, Wayans’ take on the somewhat-obscure, serious-minded H.A.L.O. (high altitude, low opening) paratrooper is reportedly to provide comic relief in the film. We can only pray that Wayans’ jokes don’t include midget special effects, a diaper and rectal thermometers.
Shot 10: Channing Tatum in battle fatigues as Duke, preparing for battle. “Technically, we don’t exist,” Duke says. “We answer to no one.”
Shot 11: A very quick shot of Snake Eyes (Ray Park, “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”) leaping out of a plane.
Shot 12: Oh wow, they are making a sequel to “Wanted” after all! That’s so cool. They can bring back McAvoy and Angelina and … wait a minute, this is still the “G.I. Joe” trailer, right? Then why do those two guys have the superhuman ability to leap through the windows of a speeding bus, and not just go “splat” against the side of it? Maybe just because it looks cool?
Shot 13: The Baroness does a little John Woo double-gun-offensive move, while a pair of Cobra Vipers flank her.
Shot 14: Somebody leaps off a speeding motorcycle, just before it’s hit by enemy fire.
Shot 15: Someone else is on the wing of a plane, firing a machine gun. The uniforms all look so similar that it’s hard to tell which character is which. I haven’t seen this much black leather since the last time I went to the mall and accidentally wandered into Wilsons.
Shot 16: Scarlett (Rachel Nichols, “Resurrecting the Champ”) is fleeing an under-attack area, pulling a possibly wounded Breaker (Said Taghmaoui, “Vantage Point”) behind her.
Voiceover: “And when all else fails, we don’t,” Duke continues.
Shot 17: Two figures do somersaults around launched missiles. It looks to be the same folks seen jumping through the bus earlier. Are they Vipers? Power Rangers?
Shot 18: Meet the Joes! From left to right: Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, “Lost”), Breaker, Duke, Hawk, Ripcord, Scarlett and Snake Eyes.
Shot 19: Destro confronts Hawk in some sort of government building, in front of a security station (good thing he’s not wearing the mask, because that would be real tough to get through a metal detector). “What did you say your unit was called?”
Shot 20: Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) go toe-to-toe. As any Joe fan knows, the quality of their beloved confrontations could make or break the movie.
Shot 21: Hawk’s response to Destro: “I didn’t.”
Shot 22: Oh, no way! They’re making a fourth “Matrix” film? Clearly, that must be the case, because here’s a figure in black with the ability to slow time and take three steps to climb over a vehicle being thrown at him in midair? Wow! Oh wait, that’s just Snake Eyes.
Shot 23: “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”
Shot 24: 8.7.09
Check out everything we’ve got on “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”
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