Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'll bring the popcorn, you bring the cheese

When G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra trailers first appeared some months ago, I was fairly excited. With Ray Park (a.k.a. Darth Maul) cast as an authentic looking Snake-Eyes, things were promising. Of course, the appearance of the "Delta 6 Accelerator Suit" ("It accelerates you") all but dashed my hopes that the film would achieve true Joe glory.

Now the movie is out, and I've heard mixed reviews. Critics have all but called foul, Mello was quite pleased, and Sandlot summed up the film in one word: cheesy. "Be prepared for cheesiness," I was warned. Okay, I'm ready.

Brutus and I caught the 9:45 showing at Colossus Toronto. We sat beside this Asian fellow from New Zealand who was on a date with a Caucasian girl who rated a solid 9. It was the most impressive Asian male/non-Asian female coupling I've ever seen. New goal in life: learn to speak New Zealish (not a real word)... New Zealandic? (Yes, I know they speak English in New Zealand)

For those of you who haven't yet seen the film, be forewarned: ahead spoilers be!

Let's begin with Channing Tatum's Duke. From the first line he uttered, I knew this Duke was a fraud. Never before had I ever heard an actor issue military commands with so little conviction. Duke of cartoon lore was a stalwart soldier and natural leader with a commanding presence. Channing Tatum is nothing but the everyman grunt. A young, rough, pretty-boy. I mean, with a series as popular as G.I. Joe, why would you possibly cast a lead actor who doesn't have a clue what the series is about? Not to mention Duke's puke-worthy tortured-soul "love story" with the Baroness. The only scene where I found Tatum's acting to be entertaining was one in which he pulls out a stick of gum, to which Breaker exclaims, "Is that Double Bubble?" Duke frowns, and, like a wounded puppy, pathetically replies, "But it's my last piece." I smiled.

Moving on to Dennis Quaid's barely-present General Hawk. Honestly, an actor of this calibre really ought to be able to do better. His lines were so half-heartedly delivered that I'd have to hate him if his appearance didn't so perfectly match that of the genuine General Hawk. Given the generic future-soldier look of all the other Joes (minus Snake-Eyes, who is awesome), this authenticity was a breath of fresh air. General Hawk, you pass.

Then there were the villains, driven by paper thin motivations. The Baroness, spurned-lover turned evil. Sandlot apparently had a problem with Sienna Miller's evil push-up bra, which "brought her boobs up to her neck." I don't think this is actually true, although Miller's chest was a little bit on the perky side. Certainly, Sandlot didn't have anything bad to say about Storm Shadow, the Japanese-played-by-Korean ninja with an actual speaking role and gratuitous shirtless fight scene. While this Asian casting is certainly a step forward in American cinema, the whole evil Asian boy gets his ass whooped in kung fu by the favoured white-boy ninja plot-line shows that we still have a long way to go.

Other irritants included the romance between Ripcord and Scarlet (forced), Cobra Commander's ridiculous metal mask, and the sheer number of metal masks (Cobra Commander, Destro, the goons... what happened to good 'ol cloth?). Not to mention that the minions looked like they were ripped straight of Army of Two. Furthermore, there was simply way too much of the mind control gimmick! This is G.I. Joe, not Doctor Who...

Lastly, did anyone else stop to consider that the nanite weapons that everyone was all excited about in the beginning of the movie are the exact opposite of what militaries actually desire? Chemical weapons and theoretical neutron bombs are attractive because they inflict massive casualties while keeping infrastructure intact. This means, when it comes time to fix things back up, the job is easy. The aforementioned nanite weapons take out infrastructure almost exclusively (they eat metal!), which to be honest, doesn't sound like a particularly excellent goal.

Okay, enough bashing. Because as awfully cheesy as every single line was, G.I. Joe was actually really entertaining. I couldn't help but smile at the 90's-esque training session, with upbeat music playing in the background à la Mortal Kombat, or the Baroness/Storm Shadow flight scene ("Damn, that ninja's fast!"). While I could have done without that CG-heavy carnage-inducing (who's going to pay for all that?) Paris car chase or the Star-Wars-with-ADHD underwater dogfight, the movie was sufficiently action packed and "cheesy in a good way" to boggle the minds of fourteen-year old boys everywhere. As for me, I was reasonably entertained too.

Boom boom pow. Roll the credits.

3 comments: said...

thank you for evening

Mello said...

I'm glad that the movie entertained you too! I guess my movie standards are higher than my bar jokes standards =P And please don't call me a 14-yrs old boy. J-rock already called me his BROTHER yesterday. -_-

ps. boom boom pow at the end of the movie totally made it 100x more worth it, lol!

sandlot said...

I don't understand why the asian guy had to die. It's not fair! Villains always get discriminated against.