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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 159
Fresh: 55
Rotten: 104

Critics Consensus: While fans of the Hasbro toy franchise may revel in a bit of nostalgia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is largely a cartoonish, over-the-top action fest propelled by silly writing, inconsistent visual effects, and merely passable performances.

Average Rating: 4/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: While fans of the Hasbro toy franchise may revel in a bit of nostalgia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is largely a cartoonish, over-the-top action fest propelled by silly writing, inconsistent visual effects, and merely passable performances.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 994,969


Movie Info

Director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) adapts the beloved Hasbro G.I. Joe toy line with this Paramount Pictures production that pits the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity against the evil forces of the organization known as Cobra. Dennis Quaid and Channing Tatum star as General Hawk and Duke Hauser, respectively, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marlon Wayans leading the rest of the cast, including Sienna Miller, Ray Park, Rachel Nichols, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale … More

PG-13 (for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout)
Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Stuart Beattie
In Theaters:
Nov 3, 2009
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

All Critics (159) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (104) | DVD (6)

Loud, shiny, and critic-proof, this franchise launcher is basically Transformers minus the humanity.

Full Review… | August 20, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[Director] Sommers did the first two chaotic Mummy remakes; those play like Tender Mercies compared to this one.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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 that's absurdly overproduced, momentarily diverting, and then instantly forgettable.

Full Review… | August 12, 2009
Village Voice
Top Critic

Sometimes, a film defies conventional narrative and artistic standards so utterly that it seems unfair to judge it by them.... Consider this a tone poem in 40 scraps of dialogue.

Full Review… | August 11, 2009
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's just stupid and inept, which are not uncommon traits at the tail end of the summer movie season.

Full Review… | August 11, 2009
Miami Herald
Top Critic

This pricey, juiceless pulp could never have been killed by critics, simply because it was already dead.

August 11, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

A dull, passionless take on a property that any fan could have outdone with half the budget. No Joe!

Full Review… | March 23, 2013
Lyles' Movie Files

It's about nothing, but who cares? It's the last big action movie of the summer and it does what it's supposed to do.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

Here comes GI Joe, a film so loud and dumb it makes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen look like a Mike Leigh docudrama.

Full Review… | October 27, 2010

As is usually the case, the seething bad guys make for far more "interesting" onscreen characters than the heroes.

Full Review… | August 9, 2010

Joe is the latest bloated float in Sommers's sad parade of cinematic shame...a glorified Cannon Films production with a nasty case of ADD."

Full Review… | June 2, 2010

G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra is a very throwaway experience, likely to be forgotten by the film world very quickly.

Full Review… | April 15, 2010
Fan The Fire

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is like a term paper that fulfills the word count requirement and drops in key phrases to demonstrate some familiarity with the material but is largely filler.

Full Review… | January 31, 2010
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It's just as you would expect: poorly acted, conventionally written and occasionally fun.

Full Review… | December 12, 2009
Cinema Sight

... it's actually better (again, the wrong word; "not nearly as awful" is closer to correct) than the recent Transformers sequel, and significantly shorter to boot.

Full Review… | December 6, 2009

We're glad we didn't pay full price for our movie tickets.

Full Review… | November 14, 2009
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Light entertainment with little to call memorable ... but at least therein exists some detectable evidence that the filmmakers had a soft spot for G.I. Joe and simply wanted to deliver its essence to the screen.

Full Review… | November 7, 2009
Window to the Movies

expensively produced escapist fantasy designed to protect the delicate sensibilities of the kids while never for a moment taxing their budding critical thinking skills

Full Review… | October 31, 2009
Killer Movie Reviews

Un film bâclé qui n'obéit à aucune logique physique ou narrative

Full Review… | October 12, 2009

A typically frenetic actioner from Stephen Sommers...

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

This is an action film highlight reel, with any sense of story or purpose shoved to the corners.

Full Review… | August 23, 2009

There are bound to be some 10-year-olds who will shout a hearty "Yo Joe!" (the G.I. Joe battle cry). The rest of us will more likely be crying, "Say it ain't so, Joe!"

Full Review… | August 18, 2009
Christianity Today

Fans will be disappointed unless they're so desperate that they'll like anything that says it's a G.I. JOE movie.

Full Review… | August 16, 2009
Sin Magazine

The folks at Hasbro must be laughing all the way to the bank this summer.

Full Review… | August 16, 2009
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

This is my favorite bad movie of the summer. And yes, I realize that's a backhanded compliment. Yo Joe.

Full Review… | August 15, 2009
The Scorecard Review

Audience Reviews for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Okay I watched it . . I cant help it but I liked it. I know its not PURE the comics and thank god not pure the movies. But omg i had fun watching this movie from start to finish. Pure action from start to finish. Eye candy is all this was as my brain didnt even need to engage for it. No thought needed. Much fun included. Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow in 3 fights . . I mean every GI Joe fanboy in the world has been waiting to see that on a big screen and here it is finally. I enjoyed this way more than I should have.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

If you're jumping into this movie to be emotionally invested into the characters and plot, don't watch this. Now I am one that hates "Transformers 2" with a passion because it didn't exactly understand what direction it wanted to go. "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" is just as mindless, but has some life in it. The character's dialogue isn't only there to drive the action to a different locale. Some action scenes are spectacular to see, except for the last one. If you wanna see a scene just like the ending, watch Star Wars... you'll get what I mean. I recommend watching it though. It's a fun time.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Based on the iconic American action figure which was originally based around real US military units/branches. Better known in the UK as the iconic 'Action Man' and was (I think) the only soldier based toy of the time, plus it had many accessories to boot!. I had an 'Action Man' plus a few vehicles when I was younger, I can never forget the extreme blonde buzz cut he had and 'Barbie-like' clothing hehe never really stuck with this particular toy.

Then whilst living in the US of A at a tender age of around 8 years old, I came across the G.I.Joe cartoon, I was hooked. Now I will admit up front I don't really recall any of the stories behind the franchise/characters, I only liked it for the cool action, cool vehicles and of course cool looking characters (bit like 'M.A.S.K.'). I might also add I believe this was the first and possibly only cartoon that dealt with terrorists? the good guys actually battling a force that isn't shy about letting themselves be known as terrorists, don't think that would happen anytime nowadays.

On to the film...hmmm tricky, very tricky. I was highly dubious when this was announced, even more so when it came out, the levels of CGI in this film was mind blowing. The story basically sets up a few characters on both the good side and bad and takes us through how 'Cobra Commander' comes to power. Sommers decided to only use a handful of the massive roster of characters which was probably a good choice but one wonders if a few more could have been stuck in there, the ones with cool outfits perhaps.

I liked how they kinda went about this as a prequel of sorts, setting up how the bad guys come to be, it also sets up the obvious sequel and seeing the main bad guys in full swing. The story was handled quite well I thought, like I say I don't really know the backgrounds to these people but after some research and watching the film it all fit together well, some changes aside *ahem*.

I liked how the main two villains ('Commander' and 'Destro') have their stories told and we see how they become their more famous personas. I liked the small flashbacks that gave us clues about various other characters and their backgrounds, and in all fairness I thought the characters looked pretty neat too. Sure they all looked like rehashed characters from other sci-fi/action films, nothing really original, but they looked solid, believable and realistic, not campy as was feared.

The problems arise with the acting for one thing, its awful!. Didn't exactly expect it to be stunning but these guys really do move and sound like plastic figures. The worst easily being Tatum followed easily by Marlon Wayans who I don't even think you can call an actor. What was worse was the fact certain actors seemed to take it seriously, Eccleston, Quaid and Pryce I'm looking at you, at the same time Levitt was doing a brilliantly campy 'Batman' villain, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (jesus!) simply can't act end of and the same can be said for Miller.

I don't understand Hollywood sometimes, they wanna make an adaptation like this, clearly they wanna make it semi serious to appeal to the wider audience and to jump on the 'Bond'/Marvel/'Mission: Impossible' type bandwagon which was in full swing. But then they go and cast people who can't act and who star in regular garbage, why on earth would you cast Wayans in this? right there you have a huge negative already, do you want an action flick or some dumb childish pratfall gag reel?.

We then come to the hideous CGI issue. This film reminded me of the 'Star Wars' prequels with their massive CGI elements and multiple finales, I think this film really tries for that similar final bang towards the end. To a degree they do achieve that, I can't deny the scope of the film is impressive with tonnes going on, plenty of visual imagination and action, all manner of crafts, subs, weapons, aircraft etc...all over the show. The problem is its so damn hectic its hard to make out what's going on, it really is a complete rip off from 'Star Wars' in how the films acts are staged and of course the CGI is bad, real bad, the cartoon looked better lol!. You can see its a Sommers film because 'The Mummy' films had dreadful CGI too.

Unsurprisingly the film is a very loud, fake looking, badly acted, explosion filled wet dream for Toys R Us. But you gotta look at this collectively, yes its complete trash of the highest order and yes Hollywood should know better. But on the other hand I'm sure the targeted audience will love it and wanna buy the toys, job done. Its a shame Hollywood never seems to learn and keeps producing such nonsense when they could make something half decent, especially with such rich material as this. But again at the end of the day we all know what to expect these days, we all know PG-13 is the favoured way to go and if you're honest the film does deliver what it promises for who its intended, you can't really deny that.

So yeah the film is rubbish and the prime example of modern day CGI filled crapola made purely for merchandise n money. I did enjoy some of it like I said, the plot wasn't half bad amazingly, the characters did look like their toon/comic counterparts I think (in some cases), shame about 'Cobra Commanders' crappy looking mask at the end. Miller was hot in her tight outfits whilst 'Snake Eyes' and 'Storm Shadow' were easily the best looking, most exciting and intriguing characters (bit like 'Scorpion' and 'Sub-Zero').

Offering plenty of bang for your buck no doubt and a fun brainless night in perhaps, I suppose it does what it sets out to do, just poorly. The sequence where 'Duke' and 'Ripcord' are suited up in those special astronaut type outfits and tearing through Paris to get to the Eiffel Tower, probably one of the worst effects/action sequences I've seen in a long long time. Truly ridiculous, bogged down with utterly lame visual comedy/gags courtesy of Wayans and it all looks nasty.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Now growing up, I was never a huge G.I. Joe cartoon fan. I had all the toys, but was never too big on the cartoon. Having watched this movie, I really hope the cartoon was never this bad. This movie is good to look at, but everything else about it really isn't that great. The story is weak, the acting is bad, and the use of Cobra Commander is pretty lame. Channing Tatum stars as Duke, the new head of the G.I. Joe group, and they battle the Cobra group as they try to use a new technology to take over the world. Tatum is probably the best thing about the movie, other than Snake Eyes who is pretty awesome. Marlon Wayans and Dennis Quaid both seem out of place, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so underused it's ridiculous. Not sure if true G.I. Joe would really be fans of this(I know a couple that hated it), but I'm sure kids new to the franchise will like it. I'd say skip it altogether and go straight for the sequel or just about any other action movie.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Quotes

The Doctor/Rex:
The time has come for the Cobra to rise up and reveal himself. You will call me Commander.
– Submitted by David S (2 years ago)
Heavy Duty:
[about handling the accelerator suits] Careful. They're worth millions of dollars each.
[in a suit] Millions of dollars. Got it. [falls out of the van]
Heavy Duty:
My bad. My bad. Won't happen again! [gets smacked by a car]
– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
All right, ladies! Mount up!
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
General Hawk:
Technically, G.I. Joe does not exist, but if it did, it'd be comprised of the top men and women from the top military units in the world, the alpha dog's. When all else fails, we don't.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

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