G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra


G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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.



Total Count: 165


Audience Score

User Ratings: 995,890
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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 Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Asian film star Lee Byung-hun. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt
as The Doctor/Rex
Dennis Quaid
as General Hawk
Channing Tatum
as Duke Hauser
Sienna Miller
as The Baroness/Ana
Lee Byung-hun
as Storm Shadow
Ray Park
as Snake Eyes
Karolina Kurkova
as Courtney "Cover Girl" Kreiger
Jonathan Pryce
as US President
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Critic Reviews for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (109)

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

    Aug 20, 2009 | Full Review…
  • [Director] Sommers did the first two chaotic Mummy remakes; those play like Tender Mercies compared to this one.

    Aug 14, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 12, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 11, 2009 | Full Review…
  • It's just stupid and inept, which are not uncommon traits at the tail end of the summer movie season.

    Aug 11, 2009 | Rating: 1.5/4
  • This pricey, juiceless pulp could never have been killed by critics, simply because it was already dead.

    Aug 11, 2009 | Rating: 1/5

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

  • Jun 20, 2016
    This one was about as mediocre as you could get. The GI Joes are an elite fighting force assembled from forces around the world and face Cobra, a new threat. Channing Tatum is pretty transparent in this one, I feel that his action roles are becoming more and more watered down that he's almost at the "blank stare Paul Walker" character-acting level for these films. The story is decent but the movie as a whole is just okay.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2013
    I don't really keep up with "Family Guy" these days, but never again shall I look at this franchise and not think about "G.I. Jose: A Real Mexican Hero", and you know what, this film doesn't exactly help, because they're blowing stuff up here like the cartel or something. Actually, this is probably more like "Team America 2: Back in Live-Action", and, yes, I know that Spill.com already made that joke, but it's just too right to not address. Shoot, this is a film adaptation of "G.I. Joe" that stars Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans, and is directed by the same guy who did the "Mummy" films, so there are probably a couple of things that people can call this film, with only so many being appropriate for the kids who have the attention span to consider this bloated onslaught of overtly explosive, half-baked stupidity at all good. ...So yeah, hyperbolic complaints aside, this film could be worse, but I don't like it, and I'm that jerk who likes the "Transformers" films are alright. This is a little too dumb, and you need only to look at the title to realize that, not just because, well, it bears the name of something that belongs to Hasbro (Again, I may like the "Transformers" films, but this is by no means that first dumb thing that Hasbro has recently put out), but because no one uses the subtitle "The Rise of..." anymore. Of course, then again, no one keeps up with "G.I. Joe" anymore, and I don't know if this film is going to help, because it's unnecessary, it's mediocre and it... grossed over $300 million at the box office. "Oh yeah, no one cares about this franchise anymore", although, to be fair, stupidity is particularly marketable these days, especially when it's a fun kind of stupid, something that this film is... occasionally, being borderline weak on the whole, but not without some enjoyable elements. When it comes to production value, this film doesn't offer much, and when it does, it hardly offers anything all that special with its presentation of very traditional, fictionalized, super-military visuals, yet the production designs remain passable enough sell certain elements of this world adequately, not unlike the visual effects, more than a few of which fault in a way that is mostly off-putting and sometimes borderline embarrassing, while others carry enough creative liveliness for you to overlook whatever seams may be present, particularly in the heat of action. The frantic editing by Bob Ducsay and Jim May that characterizes the film in a lot of ways, combined with some overly stylish camera plays, convolutes many an action set piece with manipulative plays with momentum, yet on the whole, the film delivers just fine as an action blockbuster, having enough big, if often overblown staging and dynamic choreography to establish some pretty nifty brawls. Even the film's style and technical value get to be faulty, or at least overblown, when not somewhat under-inspired, and yet, there is still enough bite to all of the style to add to intrigue that is first established by substance. Okay, "intrigue" is by no means a great word to use here, nor is, well, "substance" for that matter, because nothing about this story concept is all that weighty or compelling, no matter how much overcomplications bloat the mythology, though that's not to say that this subject matter doesn't boast a certain color that is sometimes some genuine justice. Stephen Sommers' direction is generally exhaustingly overblown and ineffective, with moments that border on incompetent, but you have to at least give credit to the direction for its sheer momentum, which is sustained throughout the film and is anchored by some aforementioned nifty stylistic choices. The film's momentum may be overbearing in a lot of ways, but in about as many ways, it brings entertainment value to life, certainly not to where you can overlook the many, many, many problems, but arguably to where you may potentially find a passable final product if you're willing to run with the superficiality. I myself must admit that I was not able to fully embrace the final product's stupidity, because even though there are fun moments to mark heights in certain consistent strengths, this thing is mediocre as all get-out, and bloated on top of that. Stopping just shy of two hours, this film isn't quite as overlong as certain other blockbusters of its type have been in recent years for whatever reason, but its still takes too much time to tell a simple story, getting to be kind of repetitious in its dragging filler and material into repetition, if not overcomplication that bloats the narrative, which, as irony would have it, still needs to be fleshed out more. In spite of plenty of jarringly forced flashback bits that come in from out of nowhere, this film feels undercooked in a lot of ways, although hurrying isn't problematic just because it thins out expository depth, for the frantic abuse of both the great Alan Silvestri's admittedly uninspired and trite score and Bob Ducsay's and Jim May's sometimes sloppy editing amidst overly slick pacing establishes a lazily slam-banged tone that bears down after a while. The film is structurally all over the place, and that's annoying enough without the freneticism within Stephen Sommers' directorial atmosphere, yet that's not to say that awkward pacing is close to being the only directorial issue. Pacing problems only supplement atmospheric overbearingness in Sommers' both overwrought and lazy directorial performance, whose freneticism may color things up a bit with the entertainment value that almost saves the final product, but generally carries a bombast that washes away subtlety and leaves behind not much more than awkward storytelling that is not helped by awkward acting. There are a couple decent performers, such as the charming Saïd Taghmaoui, relatively charismatically convincing Christopher Eccleston and Dennis Quaid, and even somewhat surprisingly criticized leading man Channing Tatum, but outside of that, these cast members would be lucky to be nothing special, especially when backed by a director who obviously has some questionable influence on the performances, with Marlon Wayans' forced reaction exclamations being particularly awkward joint actor/director moments, even if they're not bad acting moments, many of which can be found within certain other hammy, unconvincing performances - the worst of which probably being by, of all people, everyone's beloved Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as much as I hate to admit it - that, to be fair, were never to be too impressive, seeing as how it's hard to sell material this sloppy. Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett put together a seriously misguided script that is so bloated with blockbuster pratfalls that it feels rather trite, at least when the feeling of laziness goes pumped up by questionable interpretations of traditional blockbuster tropes that make the edgeless dialogue particularly shoddy, the over-the-top set pieces particularly silly, and the lazy narrative drawing particularly uninspired. The final product is lame, boasting a colorfulness that could have saved it if the whole project's execution didn't feel so blasted lazy, to a degree that may not be too frustrating, but packs on enough genericism, incoherency, incompetence and mental density to weight the "effort" down as mediocre. When the mission is complete, colorful subject matter is done enough justice by decent production and technical value, thrilling action sequences and well-paced highlights in lively direction for the final product to border on decent, but mediocrity ultimately prevails on the backs of the awkwardly incoherent pacing, misguided exposition, weak supporting performances and generally under-inspired direction behind trite, lazy writing that does about as much as anything in driving "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" through decent moments into mediocrity as a forgettable blockbuster misfire. 2.25/5 - Mediocre
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2013
    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 J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 20, 2012
    Childish, predictable and poorly acted. Still, it could've been worse.
    Tom R Super Reviewer

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