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Thursday, August 6, 2009

G.I.JOE: THE RISE OF THE COBRA

By D.E.Levine

Director: Stephen Sommers
Writers (screenplay): Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett
Writers (story): Michael Gordon, Stuart Beattie and Stephen Sommers
Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Bob Ducsay
Executive Producers: David Womark, Stephen Sommers, Erik Howsam Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum
Co-producers: David Minkowski (Czech Republic), Matthew Stillman (Czech Republic) and Jo-Ann Perritano
Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Gregory Fitoussi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leo Howard, Karolina Kurkova, Byung-hun Lee, Sienna Miller, David Murray, Rachel Nichols, Kevin O'Conner, Gerald Okamura, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Dennis Quaid, Brandon Soo Hoo, Said Taghmaoui, Channing Tatum, Arnold Vosloo, Marion Wayans et al.
Music: Alex Silvestri
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Based on Hasbro's G.I.Joe characters, this film is a combination of live action and animation. The cast is very long but the special effects, visual effects, and animators list is much longer. The film itself is a futuristic, military-themed picture that is appealing to all age groups. Basically, it's fast-paced, action-filled and a lot of fun, if somewhat unbelievable.

The original characters were launched in 1964 as a group of plastic military figures and reworked into a series of comics. This film should make another merchandising bonanza for Hasbro, which also has the Transformers franchise. Currently, the G.I.Joe force is multi-national, elite strike force that provides Paramount with the opportunity to use actors from all nationalities.

Basically the story centers around two army buddies, Duke and Ripcord) who are transporting a deadly weapon called "nanonites" capable of eating people and entire buildings, which was developed by a Scottish arms magnate, McCullen.

Intending to steal his own weapon and conquer the world by holding it for ransom, McCullen, a member of the evil organization COBRA, dispatches the Baroness (in tight-fitting black jumpsuits) and Storm Shadow (an Asian dressed all in white) leading a private army of superfighters.

Duke and Ripcord are rescued by strangers who take them to a hidden base in the Sahara desert where they are put through some rigorous training and then accepted into the ranks of G.I.Joe or "Joes" as they are known, under the command of General Hawk (badly played by Dennis Quaid).

The characters are poorly developed via flashbacks and the plot never gets a chance to develop into more than what is basically an outline. However, there are plenty of explosions and eye-popping special effects and lots of gadgets and gizmos that are exciting. Both the COBRA organization and the Joes have elite Ninja fighters that will appeal to the huge Japanese fan base of CGI animation and video games.

Additionally, Stan Winston Studio did some amazing work and it's accelerator suit allows the G.I.Joe crew to get around Paris at 40 miles an hour in breathtaking reality, although they manage to destroy a good part of the city. The film is chock full of special effects that are mind boggling.

In the end though neither the characters nor the plot development matter because it's good clean exciting fun, perfect for the summer and with an ending that leaves the identity of the President of the United States in question and room for a sequel.