Last weekend marked the opening of the first ever live action G.I.Joe film. The fanboy in me was completely geeking out. While the skeptic in me totally knew this would be awful. Every preview I saw made me realize this wouldn't be the Joe I grew up with, still I couldn't resist.
I was able to talk my very expectant wife (34 weeks along) and my good buddy into going to the midnight showing with me. There is a movie theater close by the office, and I typically work late on Thursday, so everything was in allignment. I would finally get a chance to watch Snake Eyes versus Storm Shadow on the big screen, in live action.
Then the movie started... and my excitement level quickly waned. Let me preface my review by saying I'm a huge Joe fan. HUGE. I own 600 or so of the figures, and have just about every comic ever produced. I revere the classic 80's cartoon, which was such a huge piece of my childhood. I even liked the G.I. Joe Resolute that aired recently on the cartoon network. If done right, I love just about any version of G.I. Joe. This movie misses on a lot of levels.
First off, it seems the writers of the movies disregarded just about every piece of Joe history. This I simply don't understand. If you are going to make a movie out of one of the greatest pop culture series of all-time, why not use more of the source material. I love Snake Eyes and his mythology. To basically toss out the love story between he and Scarlett, to make use of a ridiculous Marlon Wayans, is a huge slap in the face. Also to have Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes meet as children is a huge mistake. We have to believe they could be brothers (a relationship forged over them being in a war together i.e. in the original Joes, SE and SS fight as teammates in Vietnam), and that Snake Eyes loses his whole family which leads him on a path to self discovery that leads him to the Arashikage dojo in Japan. Having a poor boy looking for a meal in Japan simply doesn't carry the same weight. Also while on the subject of Snake eyes, having him not speak because of a vow of silence is absurd. In the comics, he loses his voice while protecting Scarlett. Furthering the notion that the two of them are in love, and that he would do anything for her. All huge missed points in the film.
The other really huge problem I had with the film was Cobra Commander. Basically everything about him was awful. From his being the Baroness' brother, to being disguised as Dr. Mindbender (or whatever generic evil doctor that was), to his awful costume at the end (how do you forego the simple majesty of Cobra Commander's two iconic costumes. Either a hood or a shielded helmet... they had two options... argh). All things that missed the boat.
Another huge problem I had were the accelerator suits. They were simply not needed Joe's were always soldiers pushing themselves to their limits while battling an evil, ruthless terrorist organization. While I enjoyed the scene more than I thought I would (I was more put off by Scarlett's motorcycle riding which was ridiculous), I thought the suits were not needed and out of character. It was clearly the best action scene in the whole film, but it was superfluous and not G.I. Joe. Give me the same exact scene sans Scarlett on the motorcycle and the crazy suits and you have a scene literally pulled out of the old animated series.
With those broad strokes out of the way, lets take a look at some of the individual characters. Duke
: Channing Tatum was completely wooden, but believable when he was quiet and simply fighting like a soldier.General Hawk
: Dennis Quaid was fine as the Joe leader. It was actually pretty close to both the cartoon and comic.Heavy Duty
: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje used a ridiculous and unnecesarry accent. He would have been much better served using his own voice and sounding more like he did on Lost, as opposed to simply sounding lost with an awful accent.Ripcord:
Marlon Wayans was a complete waste. The movie did not need his comedy interjected within it. A bit player on the show and comic, he was given way too much play. If you needed to give Duke a buddy, why not go with Flint or his brother, Falcon.Scarlett:
Rachel Nichols was the closest to being spot on. She fought well, was smart and loving, was badass with a wrist mounted crossbow and was a red head. Short of her relationship with Snake Eyes, she was the character they most got right.Snake Eyes:
Ray Park did a great job with the physical aspects of the film. We learn very little about SE and they completely ruined his backstory, but Park does a great job with the action scenes. The mask on the costume was awful, but everything else was designed well. Breaker:
Saïd Taghmaoui was fine as the tech expert on the team. We learn little to nothing about him, and thats fine. He had one of the best geek out moments of the film when he popped in a piece of Double Bubble and blew a big bubble ala his character in the comics.Baroness:
Sienna Miller was right on as well. Besides Scarlett, she was the most dead-on of all the characters. Her costumes were perfect. The backstory was awful (dating Duke, having CC for a brother) but Sienna herself was great.Destro:
Christopher Eccleston was just OK. He should have been the star of this pre-Cobra prequel, but he falls a little flat. Eccleston played it a little closer to the vest. Also he wasn't physically on par with Destro. He was simply too small.Cobra Commander:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was awful. It was like he mailed it in. Of course, he didn't have much to work with. Awful backstory, awful costumes. Simply awful all around.Storm Shadow:
Byung-hun Lee was basically what you'd expect from Storm Shadow. Had some nice modern ninja style outfits, overall his costume worked better than Snake Eyes. Played a much bigger role than SS typically did in previous Joe stories.Zartan:
Arnold Vosloo was a joke as the master of disguise. A simple hat, or an eye patch do not a master of disguise make. Interesting plot point with Zartan as the President.
All in all, I must admit to being thoroughly disappointed in the film. Had I been a 10 year old boy (what I guess the core demographic would be) I would have loved it. It hops all over the world, has an action scene every 12 minutes and enough eye candy to keep most happy. I unfortunately expected greater. This film missed for me on so many levels.
Labels: Cobra, G.I. Joes, movies