Summer blockbuster season officially ends with the arrival of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, another brainless popcorn picture built on an awful '80s TV cartoon.
It's a Bush-era movie built on a Reagan-era cartoon -- all exotic hardware and can-do commandos, endless violence with barely a drop of blood -- the illusion of "surgical" warfare reduced to a video game. It's dumb. It's digital. It's derivative. This Joe, scripted at a toy-selling TV-cartoon level, is a non-stop shoot-em-up edited to induce seizures. And if George Lucas doesn't sue over the blatant Star Wars rip off finale, he's missing easy money.
Stone-faced dancer-boxer-tough-guy Channing Tatum stars as Duke, a soldier who loses a set of valuable missile warheads. An elite team headed by General Hawk ( Dennis Quaid) saves the nanomite (metal-eating micro-robots) bombs, and Duke and his pal Ripcord ( Marlon Wayans) are impressed."When all else fails, we don't," General Hawk growls.
This team, with its super-secret base beneath the Egyptian desert, its super-secret jets, super-secret subs and super- secret "acceleration suits" borrowed from Iron Man, faces off against an evil Scottish arms supplier (Christopher Eccleston), the latest in a long line of "sell to both sides" villains, according to a prologue.
But the G.I. Joes -- Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Breaker (Said Taghamaoui) and the silent ninja Snakeyes (Ray Park in a rubber suit) -- may lose their race to save Paris and any other city with metal infrastructure. The arms dealer has the white-suited ninja Storm Shadow (Byung Hun-Lee) slicing up everybody in sight. And in her skin-tight jumpsuit and stiletto heels, head henchwoman Ana ( Sienna Miller) is taking no prisoners.
For all this Stephen "The Mummy" Sommers movie's infantile obsession with gadgets, here's something he gets right. Miller is a minx of a villain. All her time in the tabloids has given her a sexy, angry, bad-girl edge. The rest? Action beats we've seen in a hundred other movies, from James Bond to The Matrix, and those movies set "in a galaxy far, far away."
It's no dumber or emptier than Transformers, but G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra can't help but make one cringe when the bad guy says, as bad guys in bad scripts always say, "This has only just begun."
G.I. Joe: The Rise of CobraTwo of five starsCast: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayan, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Director: Steven SommersRunning time: 1 hour 58 minutesIndustry rating: PG-13 for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun