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Still shot from the movie: G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra.

G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra

Based on a Hasbro product, this boy doll is no longer a child's toy. Instead, he's a lean, mean, elite military fighting machine. Staring Channing Tatum, this G.I Joe is out to disable Cobra, a mercenary organization headed by a Scottish arms dealer. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: D+ 1.0
Violence: D
Sexual Content: B
Language: C+
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Run Time: 107
Theater Release: 07 Aug 2009
Video Release: 03 Nov 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Bombs, bullets and breasts are in ample supply in this action flick, but brains are another matter. Duke (Channing Tatum) and his buddy Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are given the responsibility of overseeing the safe delivery of two futuristic warheads stuffed full of nanomites—little microscopic somethings that can chew their way through virtually anything… even a city.

Of course, the delivery isn’t going to go well. Bad guy McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) desperately wants to get his hands on the super weapon. We aren’t sure why, but just the tone of his voice suggests he is an evil madman with a desire to control the world. This highly unique premise (never before seen in an action movie made in the past five days) sets up the conflict which will endure until the end of the film— accompanied by extremely loud special effects. Stirring the trouble pot even further is Ana (Sienna Miller), McCullen’s right hand woman, who just happens to be (yet another surprise) a former flame of Duke’s.

Obviously, creating a compelling story wasn’t a priority in this glitzy production, and the script sometimes even seems to spoof this genre with its inclusion of flashbacks delivered through overwrought performances. For parents however, the most problematic issue will likely be the fact it is based on a toy (manufactured by Hasbro, whose corporate name is boldly pasted in the opening credits), which is now transformed into anything but a child-friendly product. Obviously the marketing gurus behind the scenes are hoping to capture multiple audiences (and their dollars)—the boomers who enjoyed Joe’s first 1964 incarnation, the Generation Ys who bought into the G.I. Joe military team concept in the early 1980s, and today’s kids who will undoubtedly be assaulted with Joe paraphernalia throughout the upcoming holiday season.

Sadly, this movie does nothing to leave the audience with a shred of consequence over the countless number of people killed or the mass destruction of city streets. Weapons, cars, and hands are all lethal. Background characters are shot and maimed as if they were mere props. And every woman depicted (all of which are dressed in skin-tight, bust-enhancing costumes) is under male domination. This is a man’s world (perhaps fantasy) from the opening credits to the closing “place sequel here” moment.

While much of the violence is sanitized (meaning there is little blood shown), some scenes are more explicit, such as some stabbing and impaling portrayals. To fit the US MPAA PG-13 rating, language and sex are throttled back. But you can still expect frequent terms of deity, a couple of scatological expletives and other mild profanities, along with kissing and topless males.

In short, G.I. Joe   The Rise of the Cobra is a far cry from the imaginary scenarios kids would likely have come up with long ago while playing with the khaki-clad toys that eventually opened an entire marketplace of “dolls” for boys. And those looking for family entertainment should not ignore the hazard warnings associated with this new brand of action figure.

G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra is rated PG-13: for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout.

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans
Studio: 2009 Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment
Website: Official site for G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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