G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, A Summer-Season Toy-Soldier Flick
Credited as the first action figure, G.I. Joe came to life in 1964 as Hasbros answer to Mattels Barbie doll. There were actually four Joesone for each branch of the armed forcesand in the imaginations of boys everywhere, they fought Nazis. Forty-odd years later, the Joes have evolved into an international band of soldiers seeking to bring down the evil Cobra Command. In the first of whats likely to be a lucrative new film series, director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy series, Van Helsing) outfits actors Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in accelerator suits that allow them to jump cars and buses in a single bound as they and their team attempt to retrieve a suitcase containing nano technology that a lunatic billionaire (Christopher Eccleston) plans to use for world domination. After a first hour that plays like a bad TV show, Sommers hits his groove with an over-the-top Paris chase sequence that, in turn, leads to an underwater finale thats absurdly overproduced, momentarily diverting, and then instantly forgettable. The scriptby Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Lovett is full of embarrassingly bad dialogue, but a recent midnight screening audience laughed benignly, as if to say that they hadnt exactly been expecting profundity and wit from a summer-season toy-soldier flick.
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