An obvious glaring omission was that no-one had made a movie about the toy, thankfully Stephen Sommers (Directing) was on hand to plug this anomaly.
With a tagline:- “When all else fails, they don’t” – the film has a lot of work to do.
Commencing with a rather unnecessary prologue which loosely explains the reasons why the villain is hell bent on destroying everything and everyone, we are firmly plunged into Action with a capital “A”.
Weapons supremo James McCullen (Christopher Ecclestone) has created Nanotechnology based weapons for Nato, eating everything in their path, they had better not be left on the subway.
Clearly requiring safe and secure transportation, the Marines are called in. We then get our first glimpse of “Duke” (Channing Tatum) with gripping hands and fake scar, incidentally included on the original toy to stop copying and his military wisecracking buddy, “Ripcord” (Marlon Wayans).
Obviously the delivery does not go well with most of the defence team spectacularly wiped out in typical brutal but PG friendly style, lots of swishing of blades and stabbing but no blood.
Orchestrating this mayhem is the “Baroness” (Sienna Miller), clad in very tight leather and with more than a little back history with “Duke”.
McCullen who makes Bond Villains appear like low rent paupers, has managed to build not just the usual underwater lair but seemingly an entire city in the ocean. Luckily this building work was not spotted by anyone and the only thing he lacks is a cat to stroke. Ecclestone plays the part in no way modifying his Scottish accent.
Unfortunately “Austin Powers” has somewhat queered this pitch some time ago. No longer villainous, most super baddies are now looked upon by audiences as figures of fun and this is true here, draining the screen of any menace.
Luckily, following their humiliating defeat, Duke and Ripcord are picked up and absorbed into the ultra secret defence military team, headed by a rather portly Dennis Quaid, who does not appear fully engaged in a role several levels beneath his talents.
McCullen switching sides in heartbeat to “Destro”, which is obvious from the start, then has to retrieve the warheads. Fortifying his soldiers with Nano technology so they know no fear, McCullen despatches the Baroness and Zartan (Vosloo of “The Mummy” fame) to retrieve the weapons. A lengthy battle ensues before we are then whisked off to a CGI filled chase scene in Paris and then before catching breath we are off to the climax in the Arctic.
There is no question the action scenes are quite fun, in a completely vacuous way, with lots of colourful explosions and completely preposterous scenes.
At no point do any of the characters appear to be in any real danger. To add some depth, each is fleshed out in flashback to show why they, do not talk, hate each other etc. There is a slight reveal later in the movie which goes some way to explaining why a character does what they do.
Does anyone under 12 really care? Probably not.
Summers has not had a good run (“Van Helsing” and “The Mummy” sequel) despite a promising start to his career and this film does nothing to stop the rot. It’s ok in a pleasant waste of two hours sort of way but it could have been a lot better. It appears lazy and CGI fills in the cracks that are all too evident.
Ecclestone, Pryce (President, nothing to do), Gordon Levitt and Quaid escape with their honour intact, just. Presumably with their tax bills or Swimming Pools paid for. Wayans is just this side of bearable as comic relief, Storm Shadow is very white and buff, Snake Eyes looks menacing in Black and doesn’t say anything, Duke is wooden and the girls (Scarlett and Baroness) appear to be there for decoration only. Army enlistment would surely rise if their outfits became standard infantry uniform, it’s obviously sexist and the film makes no pretence to be otherwise.
A soulless action packed extravaganza of special effects and wooden performances.
Not without some moderately exciting scenes but overall, disappointing.
No sequels please, put G.I. Joe back in the packet and keep him “mint in the box”