G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

gi joe the rise of cobra poster 2009 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

Has a lot tech and explosions, Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow

Plot is all over the place, poor acting, robot suits

Movie Info

Movie Name:  G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra

Studio:  Paramount Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment/Hasbro

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 27, 2009 (Premiere)/July 7, 2009 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

gi joe the rise of cobra snake-eyes vs storm shadow

The Joes are coming for you!

Laird James McCullen XXIV (Christopher Eccleston) is secretly plotting against the governments of the world under false pretenses by creating a nanotech weapon which can consume metal.  When soldiers with the codenames of Ripcord (Marlon Waynes) and Duke (Channing Tatum) prevent the robbery of the nanotech, they find themselves pulled into the elite covert team of G.I. Joe.  Led by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), G.I. Joe is forced to accept Duke and Ripcord when Duke reveals his ties to the thief the Baroness (Sienna Miller) who blames him for the death of her brother Rex Lewis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  The Baroness has powerful allies, and with those allies, she could overthrow the world powers…and the only thing standing between them and complete domination is G.I. Joe!

gi joe the rise of cobra ripcord duke robot suits channing tatum marlon waynes

Duke…Ripcord…no…please no….

Directed by Stephen Sommers, G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra is an action-adventure.  The film is based on the popular toy line created in 1964 and redesigned in 1982 under the name G.I. Joe:  A Real American Hero.  Following the success of the Transformer film, G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra was met with negative reviews from critics and fans.  Despite being a critical failure, G.I. Joe still managed to be a big box office draw.

G.I. Joes have been around since 1964 when they premiered in their “doll size” form, but found a new audience in the ’80s with a smaller action figure and the popular G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon series.  Through the cartoon, the Joes made it to the big screen (sort of…it is a long story…see the review) in G.I. Joe:  The Movie, but later ventures caused the line to never reach its earlier success.  With Transformers big release in 2007, a relaunch of the Joes (which was often considered a sister show of The Transformers cartoon) was inevitable.

gi joe the rise of cobra baroness storm shadow sienna miller

Yes…I’m stylish in my glasses. Lisa Loeb, eat your heart out!

G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra has way too much crammed into a movie that still feels too long.  The movie has the right idea in that it tried to develop a series of films with Cobra being formed in this one, but it followed the wrong path.  It has the whole convoluted Duke/Baroness/Destro (who should have really been Destro throughout this movie to keep it interesting)/Baroness’ brother (aka Cobra Commander) thing which in itself maybe should have been the movie.  Instead, it adds a half-baked romance between Scarlett (played by Rachel Nichols) and Ripcord (who have no chemistry) and also tries to tell the origin of Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (played by Lee Byung-hun).  The filmmakers should have just picked one thing to focus on (I recommend the Snake Eyes leading to the G.I. Joes forming…just my opinion).

For the most part, the movie did get the tech right, but it relies on it a bit too heavily.  G.I. Joe was always this high tech based series with unrealistic weaponry that just happens to be so specialized for what the Joes needed.  Here that is true with cool machines and weapons, but the movie gave the characters these horrible robot suits for a long extended scene…It isn’t Transformers…There is so much better fake technology that they could have created for the scene.  It just wasn’t necessary (and I even like that Cobra has the intense undersea base at the end).

gi joe the rise of cobra destro christopher eccleston

Couldn’t this just have been Destro the whole time?

The movie isn’t helped by wooden acting by almost all people involved.  There are a number of good actors in this film who should have known better (and a number of bad actors who lived up to their expectations).  It was the type of movie that needed overacting, and I wish that they had committed to just over-the-top…It probably wouldn’t have worked, but it would have at least stylized the film since the characters couldn’t be as goofy as their ’80s counterparts with non-standard uniforms.  Can’t we get a Shipwreck or a Gung-Ho if we don’t get Doctor Mindbender with his crazy cape and monocle?

G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra is a mess.  The movie’s plot tried to do way too much and the acting is awful.  I really, really didn’t like Transformers (I know I’m in a minority), and I actually was more entertained by aspects of G.I. Joe.  That doesn’t make it good…far from it in fact.  G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra did spawn a sequel which aimed to relaunch the relaunch in G.I. Joe:  Retaliation in 2013.

Related Links:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Snake Eyes (2021)

G.I. Joe:  The Movie (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response