Aug 2009 07

gi_joe_posterWell, this one wasn’t screened for critics, so that should give you some indication as to how good of a film it is. I always wonder why studios do that, it seems to me (and to the general population a lot of times) like a vote of no confidence in the film they have invested so much time and money into. So, was it worth holding back? Eh, maybe.

G.I. Joe starts out with a scene that will make you wonder what film you just walked into. We see a Scottish character named McCullen who is being sentenced for his war crime of selling weapons to both sides. He is put in an iron mask to made an example of, but first he tells us that his relatives will continue his work.

Jump to the “not so distant future” as it is described in the film where we see McCullen’s ancestor James McCullen and his company M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate, for those not in the G.I. Joe know) displaying the power of their new nano-tech missile that will take down anything in its way and destroy whole cities. NATO plans on buying four of these missiles and gets their best men to transport the missiles to a safe location. On the way to the secure location they are ambushed by enemies with technology far superior to their own. Our male lead, Duke played by Channing Tatum and his best friend Ripcord, played by Marlon Wayons, are the only two of the team to survive, and only becuase a secret team consisting of “G.I. Joes” are there to rescue them. This leads to their recruitment and to the basic start of this film.

If this seems a bit far fetched, then you haven’t seen anything yet. No one should go into a film like this expecting a plot that isn’t purely visceral, but it’s not wrong to hope for something that has some semblance of sense. Everything has a over the top explanation and the pseudo science just doesn’t seem to fit in a lot of places. I guess part of the “near future” aspect is supposed to keep our mouths shut, but it just doesn’t quite work.

It doesn’t help that almost every scene in this film is so chock full of CG that it comes out looking like the same team that made Speed Racer was in charge. It doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to look at, they just look very artificial. I found myself laughing through most of the film due to how bad the special effects were. There was one scene that used the effects well enough that it was entertaining, but it still looked extremely bogus.

This is another one of those films that slaps so many characters in that you don’t get the feeling of a full story out of any of them. Flashbacks show you a relationship between Duke and The Baroness, but there is virtually no chemistry between the characters which makes their romance feel flat and lifeless. The other charactesr greeted to a flashbacks is Snake Eyes and his rival Storm Shadow. These flashbacks work to a point, but it’s hard not to laugh seeing two young boys try to attack each others with meat cleavers in these scenes. Although they seem to give a better back story to Snake Eyes than anyone else in the film, which is even more hilarious when you realize he is the only one without a single line spoken in the entire film.

What is left here is a mess. The script is lazy and the characters are forced to speak cliched lines which come out more wooden as the film moves into its third act. Anytime you go to a movie like this you expect to hear a few lines that will make you cringe (watch for a “Nice shoes.” comment), and this one had it’s share. Believe me when I say it  could have been worse. They get a lot of the homages to the toy line out with in the first 10 minutes or so.

Listen, I didn’t go into this one expecting something that moved me to my core, but I did want something entertaining. There are a couple scenes in this film that will do this, but nothing that left a lasting impact. There seems to be no heart to the picture, none of the relationships are convincing, and some of the actors seem like they are just stand-ins (I’m looking at you Dennis Quaid). Overall, this film left me hugely disappointed. I’m hoping that the next time they take a go at this, they will liven up the characters a bit.

G.I. Joe gets a D.



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