Let’s get this straight up front: Marlon Wayans is NOT a pain in the ass in this movie. And the movie is actually good.
Did I just say that this movie, the one that obviously screwed up every iconic image Hasbro’s Joe line has, was good? Why yes, yes I did. Cobra Commander’s mask sucks just as hard on the big screen as it does on the figures and their box art, Destro never actually wears that damned mask he seems to cherish so much in those trailers, Cover Girl is limited to a cameo appearance (one she sadly could have done without if you ask me), the Baroness is not as badass as she really could be (for plot reasons), and those Vipers are too hard to kill ( and the only reason they exist is for the Joe’s to kill while looking awesome in the process); yet, somehow, Stephen Sommers managed to do what Micheal Bay did in 2007 with Transformers: he made the Joes viable silver-screen stars.
Those of you familiar with my review style know I use a basic 5-point system. For the sake of doing this movie justice, I’ll get right to the point: Score -1.5 for overuse of generally good FXs that stood out because they were used so much, for action shots involving Ray Park’s Snake Eyes being too tight, too short, or too dark for Ray’s talent to really shine on screen, for Marlon Wayans still coming across as awkward despite playing a decent Ripcord, and for a fairly weak ending that, after about 1 hr. 45 min. of no Cobra Commander at all, finally sees some hope for a promising sequel that will probably have an equally stupid subtitle.
Just a 1.5 points? Just 1.5 for no Cobra Commander? Well, I can’t punish the movie because the toys suck (and they do, let no one tell you otherwise). Seriously, this movie does way more right than wrong, and CC’s absence is only in name and mask as, in true Cobra fashion, he is more than just pulling strings behind the scenes the whole time. So, here I give cudoes for relagating CC to a support role and letting Destro and the Baroness do their thing – just as poorly as they always did in the 80’s XD. And that isn’t the only nod to the spirit of G.I. Joe in the film:
* “Knowing is half the battle” and “Yo, Joe” are gloriously used by our heroes
* Duke wears a scar under his right eye, just as the original 12″ doll had a copyright marker scar under his right eye
* Generally speaking, the characters are themselves: example – Breaker still loves gum
*Snake Eyes is the baddest mofo in the whole movie. Period.
Obviously, there have been changes; not the least of those changes being the international nature of the team. The reasoning for that is about the only thing in the film actually explained. Really, stuff just happens. No reason why a dead guy can’t have electrodes shoved in his skull so his last memories can be photographed. Why shouldn’t there be a massive, missile-launching subartic base for a terrorist cell that (according to the title now) has yet to fully come together. Why exactly can’t Duke and Ripcord jump over cars and run really fast without those bulky Accelerator Suits, but Snake Eyes can – you know, without the damn suit (yes, Snake IS that awesome)? The answers to those questions are never, ever explained here, and who cares. The ride is just that fun.
That is, if you let it.
Don’t go into this expecting Dark Knight. Hell, don’t expect Transformers. This movie does not take itself seriously at all, but it does respect itself and its audience. It’s a mindless action movie based on a line of 3 3/4″ TOYS. The good guys are good and the bad guys are bad and the good guys ultimately beat the bad guys and ride off into the sunset in skin tight leather bodysuits and fatigues with the Black-Eyed Peas playing in the background.
If you can’t have fun with that, shame on you.
Final Score: 3.5