By Heather Fiore
Before most of us were born, the first G.I. Joe action figures exploded into toy stores. Over 40 years and countless toys later, the G.I. Joe franchise revives itself in the new movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Inspired by Hasbro’s most famous line of action figures, the movie follows the lives of the futuristically transformed heroes of the secret governmental agency, G.I. Joe. The Joes, as they are now known, consist of the Army’s alpha dogs and are a powerfully diverse elite. Stationed in the depths of North Africa, the Joes are led by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid, The Day After Tomorrow).
The Joes’ mission is to conquer the scientifically savvy nanomites, secret weapons invented by scientist James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston, 28 Days Later). The nanomites resemble spiders that devour anything they are placed on. MARS, McCullen’s company, sells the new nano-technology to NATO. U.S. Army soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum, Step Up) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans, White Chicks), are assigned to deliver four warheads to NATO.
In order to carry out his plan to cause worldwide panic and destruction, McCullen plans to steal the warheads back. He acquires help from the mastermind behind the nano-technology, the Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 500 Days of Summer) and the Joes’ nemesis.
From the beginning of McCullen’s deceit, Eccleston displays his diverse talent through outstanding accents. Eccleston, of English decent, easily portrays a Scottish scientist. His natural ability to accentuate certain languages is impeccable.
While Eccleston naturally assumes the character of McCullen, the nemeses acquire the four warheads and bring them back to him in their essentially invisible headquarters under the Arctic ice caps. The Joes try to attack their fortress to obtain the warheads and discover that McCullen has three missiles, which he plans to embed the nano-warheads into. McCullen’s first target is the Eiffel Tower.
Although Tatum may have strayed far from his peak in this movie, the chemistry he constructs with Miller substitutes for a portion of the lack of acting ability. Tatum hasn’t really had a breakthrough performance in a movie because he is most recognized for his physical features. However, to meet the requirements of G.I. Joe, an actor needs more than just looks. Tatum was able to successfully connect with Sienna Miller (Stardust), who plays Baroness and Ana, in a way that made their loving relationship believable. Miller isn’t only a talented Baroness, breaking out of her innocent, girl-next-door shell, but depicts a tough-skinned bad girl who outshines the others. She has a more powerful performance than most of her male co-stars, full of authority and poise.
Quaid’s skills were misused in this role; Quaid doesn’t usually play a general or military man, so it was hard to take him seriously. He usually plays the loving husband or caring dad, which essentially misplaces him in this role.
Although the Joes succeed in their mission to stop McCullen’s secret weapons from destroying some parts of the world, the Doctor doesn’t give up. As the story seems to end happily for the Joes, they are about to face the wrath of the Cobra. According to the Doctor, “this is only the beginning.”
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra will play tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Sweigart Auditorium, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the BLC Theater.