Along with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “G.I. Joe” was one of my favorite cartoons. The slogans “Yo Joe!” and “Knowing is half the battle,” became the popular catchphrases. G.I. (which is a nickname for the military) Joe is a highly trained Special Forces unit of the U.S. Government that must stop the terrorist organization, Cobra, from taking over the world. G.I. Joe first started as a toy line in 1964 by Hasbro. Each of the figures was 12-inches tall and used real fabric for clothes. In 1982, Hasbro changed their motto of their toy line to “G.I. Joe: The Real American Hero.” This is where the culture of G.I. Joe experienced a popular resurgence. The action figures were re-launched as 3 ¾-inch sizes and it was coincided with the very popular Marvel Comic book series “G.I. Joe.” At one time, it was Marvel’s biggest seller. A cartoon mini-series called “G.I. Joe” followed in 1983. Its popularity allowed for three more mini-series’ and an eventual series in 1985. What soon followed were more spin-off cartoons, video games and three animated movies (all direct-to-video). G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra will be the franchise’s first live-action film. Since not hearing much from G.I. Joe for a while, I find it odd (like the Street Fighter movie earlier this year) they would come out with a live-action version now. I’m sure it’s an attempt to recharge the name brand ala Transformers.
Channing Tatum (Fighting) stars as Conrad Hauser a.k.a. Duke, the leader of G.I. Joe. Along with Wallace Weems a.k.a. Ripcord (Marlon Wayans, Requiem for a Dream), the film will chronicle their first introduction to the U.S. government force’s G.I. Joe program. Feeling the pressure from a new terrorist group named Cobra, General Clayton Abernathy a.k.a. Hawk (Dennis Quaid, Vantage Point) must organize a team of the world’s best to battle the new threat. The film will also detail how the team came to be and their eventual fight with Cobra.
The film co-stars Rachel Nichols (not the ESPN reporter) as Scarlett, Ray Park as Snake Eyes, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Heavy Duty, Said Taghmaoui as Breaker and Karolina Kurkova as Cover Girl. Cobra will be headed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander, Christopher Eccleston as Destro, Sienna Miller as The Baroness, Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow and Arnold Vosloo as Zartan. Stephen Sommers directs, who has done The Mummy and Van Helsing. Stuart Beattie (Australia) and David Elliot & Paul Lovett (Four Brothers) wrote the screenplay.
I will definitely not be seeing this one. G.I. Joe is easily past its prime and doing a live-action movie seems unnecessary, possibly even damaging the franchise. The trailer is awful and the costumes uncreative. Another problem I have is Channing Tatum as the lead. He’s not a particularly good actor and I wonder when studios will stop pushing for him to be a star. Despite this, he has chance to change my opinion in the upcoming Public Enemies. The only remotely interesting part of this film is seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander. He is a great underrated actor and I’d like to see how he turns out. I’m sure the film will do modestly as a summer blockbuster, but I really want no part of it.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opens August 7th.