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G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (2-Disc Digital Copy Edition)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
DETAILS:  117 minutes, audio commentary, two featurettes
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1, French 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles:  English, French, Spanish
STUDIO:  Paramount Pictures/ Hasbro/ Spyglass Entertainment
Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  8-7-2009
DVD RELEASE DATE:  11-3-2009


I was a little bit of a fan of the 1980s TV series G.I. JOE, but it always nagged me no one ended up dead in the cartoon despite the number of bullets fired at each other (Joe and Cobra alike).   I did try to watch the series years later and couldn't get into it.    However, I did enjoy the live action film version from director Stephen Sommers.  It does have faults like too much bad CGI, Snake Eyes having a mouth in his costume (I wanted a closer face mask look like his character in the comics and cartoon) and the editing for the action scenes being too quickly cut. 

Other than that, I did enjoy it for being a popcorn action film that didn't take itself too serious and it was better than the TRANSFORMERS sequel.   Sienna Miller does steal the movie away from everyone else in black hair and black leather as The Baroness despite her character being rewritten from the 1980s cartoon and Marvel Comics versions.  You can see Sienna Miller enjoyed playing The Baroness.  I also did think Rachel Nichols did rock as Scarlett.   Miller and Nichols steal this film away from the male actors with only Christopher Eccleston rocking it up as McCullen (the evil mastermind arms dealer/arms company owner who will become Destro).    The sets are big and I really do see that Stephen Sommers would love to direct a STAR WARS movie if given the chance given the big set pieces and battles (the underwater battle being an example).  The underwater battle was inspired by THUNDERBALL.

G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA revolves around the theft of nanite warheads that will destroy anything metal.   Two Army guys, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), are drawn into the new conflict between the international G.I. JOE taskforce and the Cobra after an ex-girlfriend of Duke's, Ana aka the Baroness (Miller), attempts to steal the warheads from a NATO convoy.     The head of G.I. Joe is Gereral Hawk (Dennis Quaid who seems to be sleepwalking through this role).   His team includes Ripcord, the silent Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park aka Darth Maul to STAR WARS geeks), some French guy tech genius, and the redheaded genius Scarlett (Nichols).   Cobra has Destro, the Doctor, Storm Shadow (who is a little jealous when it comes to the Baroness), and Zartan (Arnold Vosloo).   The movie amounts to plenty of action,  a little humor, scenes to explain the plot and give back story into the characters, nods to the 1980s cartoon (Knowing Is Half The Battle saying is used), and Sienna Miller rocking whatever she wears.

G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA is popcorn action fare at its best.  It is better than Sommers crap like VAN HELSING and good as THE MUMMY and DEEP RISING.   Still it is a nice escapist popcorn fun for August.  Go see it and say "Yo, Joe!".   The film even sets up plenty of threads for a sequel.


Disc one features an audio commentary (for the film) by Director Stephen Sommers and Producer Bob Ducsay.


Disc two features two great making-of featurettes.  Though I wish they had a featurette on the Marvel Comics series by Larry Hama as a featurette and something looking at the cartoon.  The theatrical trailer isn't here either.   Don't really care for the digital copy.  The two featurettes could have been fit on one disc with the film easily.


On to the featurettes-

THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE MAKING OF G.I. JOE-  a detailed look at how the film came to be from Sommers first thinking it was going to be based on the original 1960s toys (before his assistants pointed him to the 1980s reinvention) to the rushed pre-production (12 weeks) to the fast production schedule to people saying Sommers is like an excited 12 year old to the sets to the special effects.

NEXT-GEN ACTION: THE AMAZING VISUAL FX AND DESIGN OF G.I. JOE goes into more detail about the visual effects from pre-viz work to the various stages of CGI animation to animation tests to the amount of CGI to extended and create sets.


FINAL ANALYSIS:  G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA is summer popcorn fun.  I can't wait for the sequel.  Despite solid extras, I wish they had more or compressed the extras to one disc (and tossed the digital copy).


this DVD review is (c)11-6-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  All Rights Reserved.   send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com