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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Our Rating
1½ Stars - Weak
Average Rating
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout)
Directed By
Stephen Sommers
Run Time
1 hour 58 minutes
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Grégory Fitoussi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Theatre Release
August 07, 2009 by Paramount Pictures

Though G.I. Joe started out as a Ken-sized action doll in the '60s and '70s—"with kung fu grip!"—the name became increasingly and enduringly popular in the '80s after its reinvention through toys, comics, and cartoons. Since then, millions of boys (self included) spent their childhood geeking out over the super-team of military specialists and their extensive array of space-age hardware devoted to fight against the world terrorist organization known as Cobra.

There are bound to be some 10-year-olds (and adults who still think they're 10) who will praise this movie adaptation with an enthusiastic "Yo Joe!" (the G.I. Joe battle cry). The rest of us, fans or not, will more likely be crying something like "Say it ain't so, Joe!" While it's not the worst summer movie of 2009, that's faint praise in a season that has brought us Land of the Lost and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. And as implied in the title, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is an origin movie that leaves several doors open at the end for a potential franchise—at least Paramount hopes so, but heaven help us if it comes to pass.

The film follows the story of two NATO soldiers code-named Duke (Channing Tatum of the awful Step Up movies) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans of the awful Little Man and the Scary Movie series), assigned to protect a new top-secret warhead from falling into the wrong hands. An ambush on their transport by mysterious terrorists with advanced weaponry is foiled by agents of G.I. Joe, an organization utilizing the best military operatives from around the world, also armed with the latest in combat technology.

Duke and Ripcord quickly join the team headed by General Hawk (a gruff and grouchy Dennis Quaid), featuring long-time favorite ...

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