I scratched my head for the first time after 15 minutes into the movie. A couple of highly sophisticated weapons have to be transported to a certain location. So a couple of America’s best soldiers get saddled up with that task and transport that cargo by land. They’re being attacked by an aircraft only to be saved by G.I. Joes. The last standing soldiers with their “package” still in their possession get a whole monologue of a certain General Hawk that they should come with him and let him deliver the package. So they go to Egypt where their secret base of operations is. Right, why not get in the plane, deliver the package and then go to Egypt, or not?
This was the moment I threw the logic out of the window, accepted that I was literally watching a live-action cartoon and stopped worrying about all those unrealistic things like a giant base under water where the villains plot their attack. This shit wasn’t even so over the top in any James Bond movie.
Once that was settled I could enjoy this movie because the opening-scene was just a set-up for all the preposterous stuff this movie existed of. Take the G.I. Joe base for instance. Located beneath the Egyptian desert it is multiple levels deep and even has a level filled with water for underwater training. This level is so big that it could host an entire family of Blue Whales. I kept wondering how they managed to get all that water unseen to the Egyptian desert.
Plot-wise it doesn’t get much better, take the bad guys for instance: They developed these warheads that had to be transported in the opening-scene. Their masterplan: steal the warheads during transportation so NATO gets blamed. This plan fails because of the Joes yet for a large part of the movie all they do is try to get those warheads back. But why? They made the damn thing things themselves and they’re not made out of a specific rare material, they’re just small robots and they’re used by the Cobra Commander throughout the entire movie for various reasons but mostly to brainwash people. Why go to all the trouble to get these warhead back when you have the wisdom to make them yourself. Just call it quits and start producing more of these things and sell them on the black market or whatever!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra despite these shortcomings does easily manage to entertain though and that’s mostly due to the characters of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow who not only resemble their cartoon-counterparts the closest but also have the best battles. These battles are real and carefully choreographed. Most other action sequences consist of an overdose of CGI, a lot of them not convincing by the way. It seems we’ve entered an era where stunts are pulled from the computer just so the directors can use camera angles that make you feel like you’re part of the stunt but that only works when what we see onscreen is 100% convincingly real. Such is, as shown by movies like XXX2, Torque and now this movie, not always the case and this scenes feel showy and fake. Stephen Sommers seems to be creating a résumé of movie who have this problem. The Mummy Returns and the abysmal Van Helsing also suffered from an overdose of weak CGI. A shame and totally unnecessary.
Despite these shortcomings the movie is surprisingly entertaining. It’s not a good movie, but it’s a fun one. The movie has an open ending and sets itself up for a sequel. I hope this sequel will feature less useless CGI-shots and concentrates more on different Joes who resemble their cartoon-counterpart more. G.I. Joe had plenty of memorable characters but in this movie only Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Baroness where memorable. The last one sporting impressive cleavage, something we never saw her do in the cartoon. G.I. Joe: a real American hero and a really mediocre movie.