‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ is big, dumb, cheesy, and overblown.  Oh, and if any part of you still has the spirit of a sugar-craving, candy-
munching 12-year-old boy in it, you will love it.  Because, as ridiculous as ‘Joe’ is, it does so in such an energetic and fun way that I couldn’t
help but be entertained.

‘The Rise of Cobra’ is basically the story of Duke and Ripcord as they join up with the Joe team.  They try to prevent domination from the evil
arms dealer, McCullen.  He has developed a nano weapon that eats through metal and controls minds or something.

Although it serves as an origin story for the franchise’s characters, ‘G.I. Joe’ is primarily an action film.  And as someone who doesn’t know
jack about the Joes, that was enough for me.

Director Stephen Sommers pulls out all the stops here and he truly does impress with the action sequences.  They are wonderfully shot and
edited and feature tons of cool gadgets and weapons.  They are a lot of fun.

There is a chase through Paris where cars are flying through the air at a rate that would make even Michael Bay jealous.  Even more so
because you can actually tell what’s going on, I suppose.

But alas, outside the action, ‘Joe’ does falter.  Characters are broadly sketched at best.  Although, I like the idea of using flashbacks to tell
the various back stories (I am a Lost fan, after all), none of them are particularly interesting.

It’s also unfortunate that the main character here, Channing Tatum as Duke, is the worst actor of an otherwise decent cast.  He is as dull and
emotionless as they come here.

Technically speaking, the visual effects work is just average, although the sound design is quite good.

The film also gets a boost from composer Alan Silvestri, who finds a nice balance between modern and classical action scoring.

In a lot of ways, ‘G.I. Joe’ feels more like a video game than a movie.  The dialog and plot are cheesy and forgettable, but when the action
gets started, it’s hard not to enjoy it.  And there is a ton of action.

‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ is a tough one to rate.  The kid inside me loved all the awesome tech and gadgets and the action sequences
are genuinely awesome.  But the critic in me knows that the plot and characters are both lacking.  If you can turn off your brain for a couple
hours, you’ll definitely enjoy it.  If not, you may want to stay away.

* * 1/2
(out of four)
G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA
Directed by: Stephen Sommers

Written by: Stuart Beattie and David Elliot & Paul Lovett

Starring: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Rachel
Nichols, Sienna Miller, Dennis Quaid, Joseph
Gordon-Levitt

Cinematography by: Mitchell Amundsen

Music by: Alan Silvestri

Released: August 7, 2009; 118 Minutes