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

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Byung Hun Lee, Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Said Taghmaoui, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
U.S. Opening Date: August 7th, 2009


If you remember G.I. Joe as General Infantryman Joe, then the chances are that you probably weren’t a kid back in the early 1980s. Today GI Joe stands for “Government Issue” Joe and isn’t the name of an individual, but in fact the name of an entire elite antiterrorist team.

GI Joe began life as a foot-long plastic soldier action figure brought out by Hasbro as long ago as 1963 in response to the huge success of Mattel’s Barbie doll. The toy sold well, but bad pacifist vibes towards the U.S. military during the Vietnam War in the 1960s made Joe quit the military and become an “adventurer” and “explorer” instead.

In the early 1980s GI Joe was reinvented yet again, this time via a series of comics and TV cartoon shows as a secret governmental force by a group of writers who usually wrote for Marvel comics. The writers came up with a host of colorful characters that included amongst others a villain who wore a mask to hide his disfigured face, a sexy crossbow expert and even a duo of ninjas. Known as Action Man outside the States, this new G.I. Joe was a huge hit for the toy company that also brought out the Transformers series.

Now the producer of the Transformers movie and Stephen Sommers, the director of the first two Mummy movies and Van Helsing, are teaming up to bring us a live action movie version based on the 1980s incarnation of G.I. Joe. It won’t be a war movie as you older folks out there may believe, but more a science fiction blend of James Bond and the X-Men. (Which explains why you are reading this article on the Sci-Fi Movie Page instead of The War Movie Page. Plus, we can never tire of looking at those pictures of Rachel Nichols as Shana “Scarlett” O'Hara and Sienna Miller as The Baroness in those tight leather outfits and any excuse would do to include them in a photo gallery here . . .)

As the official movie plot synopsis goes: “From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos.

Expect an overload of CGI. Industrial Light and Magic, the famous visual effects studio created by George Lucas, created what they called “The Stephen Sommers scale of effects.” The scale has four levels: “What the shot needs,” “What the computers can handle,” “My God, the computers are about to crash!” and finally, “What Stephen wants.”




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