gijoe_web.jpgAs with Transformers, I was a fan of the TV cartoon G.I. Joe.  They were the toughest army men I had ever seen.  Of course, back then, I was just a child.  So, they were the only army men that I had ever seen.

Now, G.I. Joe has come to the silver screen for the viewing pleasure of the kids of yesteryear (who are now parents themselves) and the kids of today.  But I’m not sure what messages the filmmakers are trying to convey.

In PG-13-rated G.I. Joe, the audience gets voluptuous women, melting faces and tiny steel bugs that eat things and people into nothingness. (With the steel, eating bugs, I smell a Day the Earth Stood Still remake plot point.)  Not something kids should be seeing.

In the film, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are tasked with the safe journey of dangerous warheads containing the bugs. When they are ambushed, the G. I. Joe team comes to their rescue.  Once in safety, Duke and Ripcord blackmail their way into becoming Joes themselves.

Their mission is to keep the warheads from being stolen and unleashed onto innocent people.  Seeing as it’s in the trailers, we already know that the warheads get stolen anyway, and the little bugs eat up the Eiffel Tower. Tough break for France.

Screenwriters Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett, with the story by Michael Gordon, have crafted a weak plot to help explain all of the action.  From the first few minutes of the film, things get blown up and people get killed and stabbed in the eye.  Trying to keep the warheads from being stolen is a decent plot.  But the love story between Duke and Ana (Sienna Miller) is weak.  Both plots are just fillers in between action scenes.

That said, director Stephen Sommers has created a film chock-full of action.  The Paris scene alone is magnificent.  I can only imagine how many millions of dollars went into flipping over cars, crashing cars, breaking bus windows, and of course the CGI suits that the Joes wear, as well as the spectacular underwater fortress scene.  So, the directing is great. 

Sommers, however, made sure every female with more than five minutes of screen time has noticeably large busts.  Miller, Rachel Nichols as Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara, and Victoria’s Secret model
Karolina Kurkova as General Hawk’s right hand, all appear in this film wearing skin-tight clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination.

It’s one big teenage fantasy come to life.  But what Sommers failed to realize is that G.I. Joe has a lot of female fans, too.  Sure, these women were mostly picked for their acting ability.  Two of the three are actually decent actresses.  I love Victoria’s Secret, so I feel a loyalty to its models.  But Kurkova can’t act. 

On to the men.  Wayans brings much-needed comedy to this film.  I loved his Ripcord.  Tatum has a little blackness to his voice, which seems forced.  I think he should stick to what he knows. He has set up his career nicely, however.  Being the lead in G.I. Joe can take an actor many places. Oh, and his performance is decent. 

Other actors of note are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as sexy Heavy Duty. He is great as the leader of the Alpha Team. Dennis Quaid as General Hawk is his usual self, nothing new. Jonathan Pryce as the president of the United States is still cool, calm and collected as ever.

By the way, kudos to cinematographer Mitchell Amundsen, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, and head of special effects Ozzy Alvarez.

If you want to look at mind-numbing action, G.I. Joe is just for you. If you are looking for more substance, it is not. The only people who will find this film totally engrossing are men who like looking at skin-tight, black leather on a cleavage-bearing woman. 

Seeing as I don’t fit this category, I didn’t really like G.I. Joe. For the sequel, because you know there will be at least two more Joes, I think Sommers and company should have less cleavage and more plot.