by Joe De Shano
After hearing from my friend this weekend that he walked out of “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” I didn’t have very high expectations when I went to go see it. And I was shocked by what I saw.
“G.I. Joe” is one of the most exciting pieces of cinema I’ve witnessed this year. One hell of a joyride set around a traditional Good vs. Evil conflict. There are plenty of nods to the fan boys, even with the plot constantly moving forward at a breakneck pace.
Some things about the Joe mythos were changed -- basically everything about the Baroness -- but this IS 2009. Creative liberties can be forgiven for a story that is so well crafted. Some might laugh at that statement as many "Joe" criticisms are directed at its plot, but writing an entertaining story about decades old action figures does not seem like an easy task to me. They explained nuisances through action and dialogue without worrying about how intense they could get. And who cares if things got a little bit silly? This is a movie based on toys!
Anyone who’s seen the old TV show will remember the trademark parachutes popping out of the planes as they exploded. People die in this movie, which never happened in the cartoon. This made the movie more real. Life and death consequences as the two forces raged a secret war against one another.
This is not to imply that the movie itself is based in reality. It is very much a work of sci-fi fantasy, as it should be. What I find important is that the movie sets up "rules" in their world and it doesn’t break them. Sure there’s more fiction than science in the flick, but both sides have access to this wondrous technology. Both sides also run the risk of dying. If someone’s life is spared, it’s explained.
Some scenes reminded me of "Star Wars," especially the end where the underwater battle might as well been in space and the M.A.R.S. base might as well have been a space station. I didn’t mind because I was having so much fun watching what was going to happen next.
This might be why, at the end of the film, I was left wondering what the sequel might be. Naturally I came to the conclusion that the Star Wars influence might continue. Perhaps it will be an “Empire Strikes Back” kind of movie? I predict the Joe’s becoming rebels and the evil empire being the U.S. Government. That's certainly the setup, what with (SPOILER) the Zartan development at the very end (END SPOILER). Whatever they come up with, I will definitely be there to see it.