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GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

It’s fair to say that expectations were low for ‘GI Joe’. Inspired by a line of stirringly patriotic ’60s action figures, produced by the mastermind behind the ‘Transformers’ and ‘Doom’ movies and directed by Stephen Sommers (‘Van Helsing’), the film promised to be the runt in 2009’s blockbuster litter. Which only proves that in Hollywood, as in sport and politics, lowered expectations can often be a blessing in disguise. If ‘GI Joe’ had hit our the screens last year, alongside ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Iron Man’, it might have struggled to make an impact. But coming on the heels of ‘Wolverine’ and ‘Terminator: Salvation’, it feels like a welcome blast of fresh air.

The set-up is essentially ‘Team America’ played (fairly) straight: in the near future, a hi-tech team of globe-trotting crimefighters, the best of the best from every NATO member country, are pitched against the deadly forces of Christopher Eccleston’s murderous Scottish arms dealer McCullen (of the clan McCullen, natch). Our heroes include Channing Tatum’s walking, brooding buzzcut Duke, Marlon Wayans in full-on Goofy Black Sidekick mode as Ripcord and Dennis Quaid kicking ass and taking names as squad commander Hawk.

The plot is little more than a 12 year old’s action-movie wishlist: wiseacre heroes? Check. Foxy, leather-clad babes? Check. Wholesale destruction of international landmarks? Check. Scarred uber-villain with underwater base and access to world-threatening weapons technology? Check, check and check. But it’s all put together with such verve and invention that resistance becomes futile: the climactic sequence, a globe-spanning pitched battle on five fronts involving ninjas, nanobots and a fighter jet that speaks Gaelic, is nothing short of breathtaking. ‘GI Joe’ is big, dumb, loud and utterly relentless: basically, everything you could ever want from a summer blockbuster.

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 7 August 2009
  • Duration:118 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Stephen Sommers
  • Cast:
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    • Leo Howard
    • Rachel Nichols
    • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
    • Jonathan Pryce
    • Marlon Wayans
    • Gerald Okamura
    • Kevin J O'Connor
    • Saïd Taghmaoui
    • Christopher Eccleston
    • Dennis Quaid
    • Sienna Miller
    • Channing Tatum
    • Karolina Kurkova
    • Grégory Fitoussi
    • Ray Park
    • David Murray
    • Lee Byung-Hun
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