Firefly, the Cobra saboteur was one of the first action figures that I played with as a kid. So naturally I was quite interested in the new GI Joe movie that released sometime last month. The GI Joe franchise is seeing a revival of sorts, with a new updated comic book series picking up steam and this movie bringing GI Joe back to the big screen. The movie follows a plot by a power hungry corporation seeking to control global politics through the use of terrorism and advanced weaponry, and the efforts of an elite military unit to stop them.

The movie opens with a sort of back story for the McCullen clan, giving the origin of this clan of weapon traders and how the word “Destro” got linked with them. For newcomers to the GI Joe universe, Destro is the silver encased Cobra weapons designer who also heads the armaments company, MARS industries. The movie then cuts to a NATO meeting where James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), the current head of the McCullen clan and CEO of MARS industries presents his new nano-technology based warheads that can eat through metal, tanks and even entire cities. The movie then follows the efforts of a mysterious group led by the Baroness (Sienna Miller) and Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun), which is later referred to as Cobra, to acquire the weapons and unleash mayhem on the world. Enter the elite Special Forces unit called GI Joe that is hell bent on stopping them, to ensure peace for all men and the protection of the American way of life. What follows are some pretty well executed action sequences, involving action in the heart of Paris, in an underground base and deep underneath the polar icecap.

The movie was one of the better action blockbusters that I have seen so far this year. It also had some pretty interesting plot points.

  • The movie displays a range of advanced technology. I loved the idea of nano-technology warheads being deployed as tank and city destroying weapons. I also liked the “pulse” weapons used by the Cobra troops. The climax shows them to be electricity based, though the manner in which they are shown on screen is reminiscent of the sonic weapons used in the movie “Steel“. Also, the accelerator suits seem straight out of  “Crysis” (possibly minus the Predator like camouflage) The one thing that I failed to understand, why on earth would you need a multi-million dollar particle accelerator to arm the nano-tech warheads ? That was just plain inexplicable, but, then again it’s a movie.
  • The movie also had some neat re-imagining of the characters, some of which wasn’t exactly in keeping with GI Joe canon.
    • The manner in which Destro gets encased in his silver suit was well thought out. Still, the comic book re-imagining of his suit is actually more impressive
    • The same goes for Zartan and the Cobra Viper troops. I thought it was quite cool, that their powers (of disguise for Zartan, and apparent stupidity and lack of self-preservation for the Vipers) come from the same nano-tech which also made a neat Cobra insignia at the point of injection
    • Snake-eyes for a change has taken a vow of silence, rather than having his vocal chords damaged like in the original conception of the character
    • I didn’t like the introduction of Cobra commander in the end. I was expecting it to be someone else. The character was too Dr. Mindbender-ish from the start to be the canonical Cobra commander.
  • Finally the acting. While you definitely can’t expect Oscar worthy acting from the movie, there are some decent performances. Seinna Miller has a blast playing the Baroness, easily the best performance in the movie. Christopher Eccleston, last seen as Dr.Who and in Heroes, does a good job as Destro. The Joe’s all put in decent performances, with Ray Park doing his usual silent action role (Maybe this guy should have been born in the Silent Era ?). Brendon Fraser, puts in a “small blink and you will miss” performance as Sgt.Stone.

To sum up, I found GI Joe to be a decent action / adventure flick, definitely recommended. Go into the movie suspending all disbelief and you won’t be disappointed. (After all it takes tremendous suspension of disbelief to believe that its possible that the lead characters convoy, of the thousands of convoys on the planet, just happens to be raided by his ex-fiancé, one he hasn’t seen for four years, now doesn’t it ? )

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One Comment

  1. John Miller says:

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