Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett, Michael B. Gordon, Stephen Sommers, Larry Hama
Cast: Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Christopher Eccleston, Karolina Kurkova, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rachel Nichols, Marlon Wayans, Ray Park, Lee Byung-hun, Dennis Quaid
Running Time: 118 min.
By JJ Hatfield
The overall response to the newest “first” chapter of the “Joe” world seems to be mostly positive. In other words from the studio to the Hasbro company cranking out new and improved “Joe” items, everyone is happy making money.
Perhaps I am too jaded and seen too many movies marketing but it seemed to me the only reason to make this movie was for a quickie cashcise (a new word for greedy franchises). However I dispensed with pre-determined judgments and watched the movie. With virtually no background in “G.I. Joe” I was not certain who belonged in that world and who did not and had to wait until the movie begins to fill in the huge craters of a plot.
The plot is only one of the problems in Joe land. Channing Tatum is “Duke” who is recruited to be in the special “Joe” unit. They must have needed him to shore up a set. His wooden performance could be confused with an inanimate object except for when he is screaming or lamely tossing out one liners. This guy can dance with or without clothes? Even knowing nothing about Joe Land I immediately was confused by Snake Eyes and his ridiculous looking upper body with abs and a good physique literally built right into the suit he was forced to wear. Apparently the studio thought it looked ridiculous as well but it’s hard to believe they agreed to the silly costume. The director audio commentary stated that “they tried to shoot around the suit, or hide it behind something”.
The only real type sort of martial arts is when Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow meet. In one of the very few scenes I liked was a bit of back story behind Snake Eyes and Storm Shadows relationship and partially at least why they loathe each other.
Lee Byung-hun plays Storm Shadow but he isn’t given much to work with but demonstrates he can perform in English speaking movies. To see some of his work check out “A Bittersweet Life”. As for Snake Eyes (Ray Park) how could you possibly tell if he can act or not? He doesn’t speak and that gawd awful suit – it could be anyone in there! The Big Guy in all of this is “Joe” General (Dennis Quaid) who barks one liners and pep talks so old they turned to dust as he says them.
One aspect I didn’t understand was why there was not more about the COBRA importance. It’s not just an evil group name and they do use cobra venom, etc., but it just isn’t discussed.
There are side stories about the main characters, I can’t even call them sub plots that are thinly sketched with no substance. Another problem is having a connection between a “Joe” and the evil Baroness. Apparently Duke needs her later as he cannot fly and fire at the same time. (insert your own joke) The special effects were just not special and in some cases made the scene look completely unreal. Taken all together I cannot go any higher than 5.5. However after talking with a number of mostly men who had fond memories of “Joe” and it was a kick to see it again for them I decided to add a half point for true fans.
JJ Hatfield’s Rating: 6/10