Friday, August 7, 2009

Yes, they make a "Knowing is half the battle" reference. Best part of the movie, too.

The first Stephen Sommers movie I saw was Deep Rising, back in '98, and I thought it was a fun flick. The Mummy was just as fun, and The Mummy Returns was okay at best. Then he made Van Helsing, which I thought was so-bad-it's-good. So when I went to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, I figured that the Best Case Scenario was a fun flick that didn't take itself too seriously and the Worst Case Scenario would be an entertainingly bad movie like Helsing.

It's neither. Instead, it was lame and dull.

It's loud and there's plenty of bang and boom, and yet I never felt engaged by any of it. I kept waiting for it to get good and it never did. You have Harry Knowles on Ain't it Cool declaring G.I. Joe as "fun", and I honestly wish I saw the same flick. I'm actually pretty easy on movies, always looking for something to like about them, especially with actioners -- I don't even need an original story or an intricate plot, just give me some cool set-pieces, just give me some fun. This flick couldn't even do THAT.

There are a couple of moments, where I could sense my geek muscle twinging because it looked like Something Awesome was about to happen, but it never does. This movie even fucks it up on a hardware & gadgets level; the Joes are given a cool mini-Gatling gun that is worn on the wrist like a bracelet, and it's only used in the entire movie for approximately 1 1/2 seconds. I was like "Hell ye--" and didn't get to finish, because that was it, back to the badly done CGI chase scene. If I can reference Harry Knowles again and use a Blade-II-review-style analogy on you, that kind of shit is like a woman wrapping her hand around your cock, about to give you a hand job, and then just as quickly, she lets go. Sorry ladies, I can't come up with a female perspective version. I'm not a woman, I merely have the emotions of one.

I don't know how much this movie cost, but for the most part, someone got taken for a ride. If you're going to use CGI, then it's gotta look somewhat convincing. They succeed in "somewhat convincing" like half of the time, and the rest it's just piss-poor Sy-Fy (ugh) Channel bullshit. Who knows, maybe you'd be okay with it, maybe you'd like watching someone else play video games on a 40-foot screen, because that's what this shit looked like. There's only one part, involving the Eiffel Tower, that looked kinda cool, and that's about it.

What makes it worse is that they have a pretty good cast here, familiar faces with unfamiliar names. Aside from Sienna Miller and Channing Tatum, you have fuckin' Adebesi from Oz, you have this Moroccan actor who's in a lot of flicks, you have this cute redhead chick, and you have Dennis Quaid. Mr. Quaid must have known what a terrible movie he was in, so he gives a suitably bad performance. In a way, I wish the other actors took his lead and didn't act like they were in goddamn Sophie's Choice, it might have made for a slightly less-shitty movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is here as well, proving that Brick and (500) Days of Summer make for a respectable resume but they don't do shit for the bank account. Then there's Marlon Wayans as Sgt. Black Comic Relief, and he's actually one of the better things in this movie. I never found him to be annoying, and his ratio is about 1 funny joke for every 10, which is a better success rate than the movie itself.

I liked looking at Sienna Miller as the Baroness, and the fact that she's wearing glasses for most of the movie really helped as well (I have a weird thing about girls in glasses), but there's one wide shot that perhaps should have been a medium; she's walking around in her black skin-tight leather outfit and I guess the guys are supposed to go "ME LIKEY!", but all I could notice was that she had Marcy D'Arcy chicken legs. They couldn't even get THAT right in this movie.

Sommers cast a few of his Mummy bros in this; Arnold Vosloo (the other Darkman) plays a villain in a completely useless subplot, Kevin J. O'Connor is in one scene, and Brendan Fraser shows up in a cameo. They keep cutting to close-ups of Fraser during his scene, where he's overseeing a sparring match between Snake Eyes and Duke. They should've just had a guitar riff and Rob Halford come in every time they cut to Fraser's close-up: "*guitar riff* BREN-DAN FRAAAAAAASSSSSEEEERRRR!!!"

Again, I don't go into shit expecting to hate it, unless it's something like Paper Heart. I really wanted to like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and I was making it very easy for these motherfuckers by lowering my expectations. Yeah, well it's not for you, it's for kids, dummy. Fine, asshole -- perhaps I'm the wrong age for this movie, maybe you have to be playing with the action figures to like this shit. Maybe if I was 11 years old, I'd really dig G.I. Joe: The Rise of a Shitty Franchise. Then, ten years later, I'd watch it again on some nostalgia kick and realize what a piece-of-shit it always was.

This was NOT a so-bad-it's-good movie, don't get it twisted. It is just the worst kind of action movie, a boring one. There are no good times here, not for me, anyway. I spent the entire running time hoping it would either start getting good, or just fucking end. One never happened and the other took way too fucking long to happen. When it finally did end (with an opening for a sequel), that Black Eyed Peas song "Boom Boom Pow" blasted over the credits as one final Fuck You to the audience. Half the crowd applauded though, so maybe I'm just being Larry David at the beach.

As I left the theater, the lobby speakers were playing the song Brazil and that reminded me that Jonathan Pryce was also in this shit, playing the President of the United States with a Welsh accent. And that left me with a smile on my face, both the accent and the idea that Jonathan Pryce made a nice chunk of change on this garbage. See, I'm always looking for something positive. But that's about it.

Okay, here's something else I liked from the movie: there's a sword fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. They swing at each other and lock swords, looking into each others eyes. Suddenly, we cut to a flashback of two young kids fighting in a dojo. Then it cuts back to Snake and Shadow. It's a four-second flashback, and then back to the fight. For a second, I thought it was going to rise up a couple levels to being laughably bad, then it went back to being dull and I continued not giving a fuck about the proceedings. So that's two things -- three, if you count Sienna Miller-D'Arcy in glasses.

I saw this with a free pass which came with a free popcorn and candy, and I still couldn't enjoy myself. That should tell you everything right there. Damn, I should've opened with that statement and saved the both of us a lot of time. But I didn't, so there.