Toy Soldiers: Trying to see the good in the dismal G.I. Joe | Film | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Screen » Film

Toy Soldiers: Trying to see the good in the dismal G.I. Joe

A wise woman once told me that the older she got the more she tried to see the good in things rather than the easier



A wise woman once told me that the older she got the more she tried to see the good in things rather than the easier route of criticizing everything. I have thought of that comment virtually every day since she said those words, but never more than while watching GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

The problem for me with this movie is not that it brings to life the Hasbro action figures first introduced in 1964 - that's kind of cool - but it does so with none of the freshness or originality of other similar efforts like Sin City or the humor and self-deprecation of the Superman franchise, or the passion of Iron Man. The creators bumbled a golden opportunity here to laugh at the effort itself, you know, the tongue-in-cheek stuff. There is nothing interesting about this effort and no humor to buoy the comic book dialogue. See the good.

The movie centers on the possession of Nano technology, a powerful weaponry capable of destroying entire cities with steel eating parasites. And the weapons dealer whose lineage in this dubious trade goes back to 1641 is a Scot named McCullen (Christopher Eccleston). Like all good megalomaniacs, McCullen is not happy simply making huge profits. He wants world domination. And we long for a more villainous bad guy as we watch. Great villains do save bad movies.

Standing in the way of his noble ambition is General Hawk (Dennis Quaid) and the under-the-radar G.I. Joe crew he leads. It's certainly sad to see Quaid diminish his reputation and squander his considerable skills in this plastic performance. But again, see the good.

The unit recruits Duke and Ripcord (Channing Tatum and Marton Wayans) from the U.S. Army, and spearhead efforts to reclaim the Nanomite warheads from Cobra. Duke's ex girlfriend, Ana (Sienna Miller) has gone to the dark side because Duke accidentally sautéed her brother.

I have little objection to one-dimensional characters. It's expected in this kind of film. I also have no particular objection to explosions, endless shouting, general mayhem, showers of sparks, torrents of water, military bases under the polar ice cap, or characters who survive direct hits at short range from Blackhawk helicopters.

What surprises me is that for an hour and 58 minutes, we are presented with explosion after explosion, near escape after near escape in what feels like an exercise rather than a mission. And even with the mediocrity of this screenplay, the film might have been rescued with some truly remarkable visuals. And, frankly, I think we've come to expect movies like this, at the very least, to keep up with the special effects status quo. Visually, this film screams 2002 or earlier.

Director Stephen Sommers was also at the helm of the Mummy franchise, leading me to wonder if is employing the same sequel-minded thinking to GI Joe. There is absolutely no doubt - whether you like it or not - that when this film mercifully ends that there is more to come.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra ★✩✩✩✩
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller, Channing Tatum. Directed by Stephen Sommers. Rated PG-13

About The Author

Add a comment

More by Intern

  • The Other Half of the Yoga Equation

    The Source Issue 45 (Nov. 10) contained wonderful information about the forms of yoga offered in our vicinity. Most of the information covered pertained to the socially enjoyable forms of yoga enjoyed by the folks who use yoga mats and bendy posturing as they concentrate on improving their blissful breathing techniques. These physical forms of yoga are the beautiful compliments to the mental, mindful and meditative forms of yoga that balance the larger yoga (yogic) equation. Yoga is basically a non-denominational practice aimed at balancing the physical (body) existence with the meta-physical (mind) reality. The ensuing mind-body balance creates the union required for an increased "understanding" (consciousness) of the "living experience."
    • Jan 25, 2012
  • Walden's Corporate Servitude

    In the time-honored American tradition of peaceful civil disobedience, I am proud to be one of eight Central Oregon citizens arrested on December 5 in Congressman Greg Walden's Bend office. At our January 26 trial we plan to present a compelling defense. This act of dissent follows years of futile attempts to encourage the Congressman to hold open, unscripted town meetings accessible to a majority of his constituents. The Congressman has grown so suspicious of impromptu encounters with ordinary citizens that on Saturday he required a Bend Police Department intervention that enabled him to enter the Water Project meeting at the Chamber of Commerce through the back door. (Greg, we are nonviolent people who believe that democracy thrives on open dialogue and transparency; there is no reason to avoid us.)
    • Jan 25, 2012
  • Doors of Equality Swing Both Ways

    I had to respond to "What's Wrong with Siri," (News, 1-4) since Apple's Siri isn't the problem. Three hours before I read, "What's wrong with Siri," I went to a store in town and complimented the cashier that this was the nicest "dollar" store I had ever been in.
    • Jan 11, 2012
  • More »

Latest in Film