Friday 16 December 2011

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

It’d be easy to hate this film. Existing solely to help sell children’s toys, it is the most cynical of marketing ploys. But, if you put aside your objections to this crass commercialism, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is actually an enjoyable film.  

The plot sees Channing Tatum, and the rest of his GI Joe team, try to stop new nanotechnology weapons falling into the hands of a global terrorist group called Cobra.  

While the dialogue is horrendous and the characters as flimsy as the toys that inspired them, the viewer does get to enjoy regular dollops of glossy action told within a clearly delineated good vs evil story. You could complain about the simplicity, but Star Wars is one of the beloved films ever made and its plot is similarly straightforward.  

All of this, though, tells us nothing about the exploding helicopters. The film opens with Cobra stealing the super-weapon. Tatum and his men are transporting it when they come under attack by Cobra’s forces.  

A futuristic shuttle craft fires a sound-wave weapon on one of the helicopters guarding the convoy. It squashes the front of the chopper and forces the rotor blades off before the fuselage bursts into flame.  

The second helicopter attempts to continue the fight, but its weapons are useless against the enemy. The Cobra craft fires another round of its odd weapon. The helicopter pilot has just enough time to say, “Oh my god” before his aircraft is destroyed.  

Artistic merit 

You can’t beat a good “What the….” moment when someone realises they’re about to die and this film serves up a doozy.  

Exploding helicopter innovation 

Is this the first known destruction of a helicopter using a sonic-gun? Certainly, the crumpling of the front of the helicopter is a *ahem* wrinkle we’ve not seen before. 

Number of exploding helicopters 



The film finds a decent role for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who played the fearsome Simon Adebisi in gritty prison drama, Oz.  


The script. It really is an atrocity. 

Favourite quote 

“You’ve really tossed the caber out the park with that one.” 

This bonkers line is uttered by Christoper Eccleston who plays the villain McCullen. Presumably, the original line was something like “Hit that out the park.” I’d like to hear more common idioms given Scottish makeovers. 

Interesting fact 

Apparently, Channing Tatum was initially not keen on taking the role in GI Joe because he didn’t want to glamorise war. Fortunately for the makers of the film he had no moral objections to shamelessly glamorising children’s toys. 

Review by: Jafo


  1. I agree Adewale was great in Oz..I particularly liked his little hat and his ability to force strangers to have sex with him.

  2. OK, it's seriously deficient in plot or acting. But in this genre, those two ingredients are as superfluous as canoes in a desert. Good review.