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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra


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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Movies)
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Information about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a 2009 (12 years ago) American live-action movie adaptation of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy franchise. The movie is directed by Stephen Sommers, produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and co-written by Stuart Beattie, based on a 1998 (23 years ago) screenplay by John Paul Kay. G.I. Joe features an ensemble cast based on the various characters of the franchise. The story follows two American soldiers, Duke and Ripcord, who join the G.I. Joe Team after being attacked by Cobra troops. Filming took place in Downey, California and Prague's Barrandov Studios. The movie was released on Aug. 5, 2009 (12 years ago), in France and Belgium, Aug. 6 in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and Aug. 7 in the United States and other English-speaking countries. Despite The Rise of Cobra having mixed critical reviews, it opened at the top of the box office.



In the near future, weapons expert James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) has created a nanotechnology-based weapon capable of destroying an entire city. His company MARS sells four warheads to NATO, and the U.S. Army is tasked with delivering the warheads. Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are delivering the warheads when they are ambushed by the Baroness (Sienna Miller (33 walls)), whom Duke recognizes to be his ex-fiancee Ana Lewis. Duke and Ripcord are rescued by Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). They take the warheads to The Pit, G.I. Joe's command center in North Africa, and upon arriving rendezvous with the head of the G.I. Joe Team, General Hawk (Dennis Quaid). Hawk takes command of the warheads and excuses Duke and Ripcord, only to be convinced to let them join his group after Duke reveals that he knows the Baroness.

McCullen is revealed to be using the same nanotechnology to build an army of soldiers with the aid of the Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), planning on using the warheads to cause panic and bring about a new world order. Using a tracking device, McCullen locates the G.I. Joe base and sends Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and the Baroness to retrieve the warheads with assistance from Zartan (Arnold Vosloo). After a fight, Storm Shadow and the Baroness retrieve the warheads and take them to Baron DeCobray, the Baroness's husband, for him to weaponize, and use them to destroy the Eiffel Tower to serve as a show of the warhead's destructive power. Making their way to Paris, the Joes pursue them through the streets but are unsuccessful in stopping them from launching the missile. The nanomites destroy the Eiffel Tower and much of the surrounding area before Duke manages to hit the kill switch, but in doing so he is captured and taken to McCullen's base under the Arctic.

G.I. Joe locates the secret base and fly there as McCullen loads three missiles with nano-mite warheads. After Snake Eyes takes out one, Ripcord pursues the remaining missiles in a stolen M.A.R.S. prototype Night Raven jet while Scarlett and her group infiltrate the base. While Scarlett, Breaker and Snake Eyes attempt to shut down the Arctic base, with Heavy Duty leading an attack on Cobra's forces, Duke learns that the Doctor is Rex Lewis, Ana's brother believed to have been killed on a mission led by Duke four years ago. He was trapped in a bunker with Doctor Mindbender (Kevin O'Connor), disfigured in the blast which everyone presumed had killed him. The Baroness tries to free Duke but the Doctor reveals he has implanted her with nano-mites which has put her under his control for the past four years, admitting his amazement that she is resisting the programming. Attempting to kill Duke, McCullen ends up being facially burned as he flees with Rex to an escape vessel. Duke and the Baroness pursue him while the Joes fall back when Rex activated the base's self destruct sequence. During this Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes Face off. Snake Eyes stabs Storm Shadow and presumably kills him.

Rex then heals McCullen's burned face with nano-mites, encasing it in silver as he christens McCullen "Destro" and assumes the identity of Cobra Commander before they are captured by G.I. Joe soon after. On board the supercarrier USS Flagg, Baroness is placed in protective custody until they can remove the nano-mites from her body. Meanwhile, Zartan, having been earlier operated on by Rex, infiltrates the White House during the missile crisis and assumes the identity of the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce).


  • Channing Tatum as Conrad Hauser / Duke: The lead soldier. Lorenzo di Bonaventura wanted to cast Mark Wahlberg (4 walls) in the role when the script was not about the origin story, while the studio met with Sam Worthington when it was rewritten by Beattie in its final incarnation. Tatum had played a soldier in Stop-Loss, an anti-war film, and originally wanted no part in G.I. Joe, which he felt glorified war. Once he read the script though, he realized the franchise was a fantasy akin to X-Men, Mission: Impossible and Star Wars rather than a war film.
  • Dennis Quaid as General Clayton Abernathy / Hawk: The team leader. Quaid described Hawk as "a cross between Chuck Yeager and Sgt. Rock and maybe a naïve Hugh Hefner". Quaid's son convinced him to take on the part, and the filmmakers enjoyed working with him so much that Stuart Beattie wrote "ten to fifteen more scenes" for the character. He filmed all his scenes within the first two months of production. Quaid is signed on for two sequels.
  • Marlon Wayans as Wallace Weems / Ripcord: He has a crush on Scarlett, which she is aware of but, has no interest in him to begin with. A fan of the franchise, Wayans was cast on the strength of his performance in Requiem for a Dream. Bonaventura said that movie showed Wayans could be serious as well as funny. In the film, he invites Duke to join the Air Force with him. He also told Scarlett that he can fly almost any aircraft. When Ripcord was able to stop the missile launched to hit Washington DC, Scarlett calls him Ace.
  • Rachel Nichols as Shana M. O'Hara / Scarlett: She graduated college at age twelve and became the team's intelligence expert. Having left school so early, she does not understand men's attraction to her. Nichols was the first choice for the role. Nichols had dyed her blonde hair red – Scarlett's hair color – for her role in Star Trek, which she filmed before G.I. Joe. She burned herself filming an action sequence with Sienna Miller.
  • Ray Park as Snake Eyes: A mysterious ninja commando who took a vow of silence, a departure from the character's traditional difficulty in speaking due to grievous vocal wounds. Like his character, Park is a martial arts expert and specifically practiced wushu for the role, as well as studying the character's comic book poses. Park had known of Snake-Eyes having played with the toys as a child, but he knew very little of the surrounding saga of G.I. Joe versus Cobra, so he read the comics to further understand the character. He was nervous about wearing the "inexplicably silly redesign of [the character's] classic mask", so he requested to practice wearing it at home. He found the full costume, including the visor, very heavy to wear and akin to a rubber band; he had to put effort into moving in it.
  • Leo Howard as a 10-year-old Snake Eyes
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Hershel Dalton / Heavy Duty: An ordnance expert. Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock, although Bonaventura previously indicated Heavy Duty was being used in that character's stead. Stuart Beattie ultimately chose to have Heavy Duty instead of Roadblock.
  • Saïd Taghmaoui as Abel Shaz / Breaker: He is the team's communications specialist and hacker. In the film, he is Moroccan rather than an American but retains his characteristic love of bubble gum.
  • Karolína Kurková as Courtney A. Kreiger / Cover Girl: Hawk's aide-de-camp.
  • Brendan Fraser as Sgt. Stone: At first, it was reported he was going to play Gung-Ho, but it was later revealed he plays Sergeant Stone. Fraser is quoted as saying he'd like to think his character is a descendant of Rick O'Connell, Fraser's character in Sommers' The Mummy movie series.
  • Christopher Eccleston as James McCullen / Destro: A weapons designer and founder of the Military Armament Research Syndicate (MARS) and the main villain of the film. Irish actor David Murray was cast as Destro, but was forced to drop it when he had problems with his visa. Murray was later cast as an ancestor of James McCullen in a flashback scene.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Rex Lewis / The Doctor / Cobra Commander: The Baroness's brother, a former mild-mannered U.S. Soldier who was thought to be killed during an operation - instead, he became the insane disfigured MARS head scientist. USA Today reported that Gordon-Levitt will play multiple roles. Levitt wore a mask – which was redesigned from the comics because the crew found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan – and prosthetic makeup underneath it. Upon seeing concept art of the role he was being offered, Levitt signed on because; "I was like, 'I get to be that? You're going to make that [makeup] in real life and stick it on me? Cool. Let me do it.' That's a once-in-lifetime opportunity." Levitt is a friend of Tatum and they co-starred in Stop-Loss and Havoc. His casting provided extra incentive for Tatum to join the film. Levitt described his vocal performance as being half reminiscent of Chris Latta's voice for the 1980 (41 years ago) cartoon, but also half his own ideas, because he felt rendering it fully would sound ridiculous.
  • Sienna Miller (33 walls) as Ana Lewis / Anastacia DeCobray / The Baroness: A spy and sister of Cobra Commander. Years before the film, The Baroness was going to marry Duke, but he left her at the altar, due to his guilt over the apparent death of her brother Rex Lewis. Miller auditioned for the part because it did not involve "having a breakdown or addicted to heroin or dying at the end, something that was just maybe really great fun and that people went to see and actually just had a great time seeing". Miller prepared with four months of weight training, boxing sessions and learned to fire live ammunition, gaining five pounds of muscle. She sprained her wrist after slipping on a rubber bullet while filming a fight scene with Rachel Nichols.
  • Lee Byung-hun as Thomas Arashikage / Storm Shadow: Snake-Eyes' rival, both were close members of the Arashikage ninja clan. Lee said he did not know G.I. Joe because it is an unknown series in Korea. Sommers and Bonaventura told him to watch the cartoons to prepare for the role. Lee was attracted to Storm Shadow's "dual personality", which he stated has "huge pride and honor".
  • Brandon Soo Hoo as 10-year-old Storm Shadow/Thomas Arashikage
  • Arnold Vosloo as Zartan: An expert in make-up and disguises serving Destro.


In 2003 (18 years ago), Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interested in making a movie about advanced military technology; Hasbro's Brian Goldner called him and suggested to base the movie on the G.I. Joe toy line. Goldner and Bonaventura worked together before, creating toy lines for movies Bonaventura produced as CEO of Warner Bros. Goldner and Bonaventura spent three months working out a story, and chose Michael B. Gordon as screenwriter, because they liked his script for 300. Bonaventura wanted to depict the origin story of certain characters, and introduced the new character of Rex, to allow an exploration of Duke. Rex's name came from Hasbro. Beforehand, Don Murphy was interested in filming the property, but when the Iraq War broke out, he considered the subject matter inappropriate, and chose to develop Transformers (5 walls) (another Hasbro toy line) instead. Bonaventura felt, "What [the Joes] stand for, and what Duke stands for specifically in the movie, is something that I'd like to think a worldwide audience might connect with."

By Feb. 2005 (16 years ago), Paul Lovett and David Elliot, who wrote Bonaventura's Four Brothers, were rewriting Gordon's draft. In their script, the Rex character is corrupted and mutated into the Cobra Commander, whom Destro needs to lead an army of supersoldiers. Skip Woods was rewriting the script by Mar. 2007 (14 years ago), and he added the Alex Mann character from the British Action Man toy line. Bonaventura explained, "Unfortunately, our president has put us in a position internationally where it would be very difficult to release a movie called G.I. Joe. To add one character to the mix is sort of a fun thing to do." The script was leaked online by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who revealed Woods had dropped the Cobra Organization in favor of the Naja / Ryan, a crooked CIA agent. In this draft, Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake-Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute. Mayimbe suggested Stuart Beattie rewrite the script. Fan response to the movie following the script review was negative. Bonaventura promised with subsequent rewrites, "I'm hoping we're going to get it right this time." He admitted he had problems with Cobra, concurring with an interviewer "they were probably the stupidest evil organization out there [as depicted in the cartoon]". Hasbro promised they would write Cobra back into the script.

In Aug. 2007 (14 years ago), Paramount pictures (wallpaper) hired Stephen Sommers to direct the movie after his presentation to CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston was well-received. Sommers had been inspired to explore the G.I. Joe universe after visiting Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island. The project had found the momentum based on the success of Transformers (5 walls), which Bonaventura produced with Murphy. Sommers partly signed on to direct because the concept reminded him of James Bond, and he described an underwater battle in the story as a tribute to Thunderball. Stuart Beattie was hired to write a new script for Sommers's film, and G.I. Joe creator Larry Hama was hired as creative consultant. Hama helped them change story elements that fans would have disliked and made it closer to the comics, ultimately deciding fans would enjoy the script. He persuaded them to drop a comic scene at the film's end, where Snake-Eyes speaks. To speed up production before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, John Lee Hancock, Brian Koppelman and David Levien also assisted in writing various scenes. Goldner said their inspiration was generally Hama's comics and not the cartoon. Sommers said had it not been for the rich backstory in the franchise, the movie would have fallen behind schedule because of the strike.


Paramount decided to not screen the movie for print critics before its release and wanted to focus on internet critics. The movie has received mixed reviews. Based on 138 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has a 'rotten' 37% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 4.6/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics, which consists of notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, TV and radio programs, the movie holds a 26% rating, with an average score of 3.9/10. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the movie has received an average score of 32, based on 25 reviews.

Matthew Leyland from Total movie called it "a throwaway blast of solid, stupid fun" and gave it three out of five stars, particularly praising Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance as the treacherous Cobra Commander. Sister publication SFX called the movie "dumb and dopey, with plenty of bumpy bits" and that "GI Joe has a genuine cliffhanger charm, especially when the last act becomes a whole string of pulp plot twists. The ending screams “To Be Continued”; we could do worse.", finally awarding the score of three stars out of five. Reviewers also criticized the movie for the scientific impossibility of sinking ocean ice.

Christopher Monfette of IGN also gave the movie a positive review, saying "This is an adult's interpretation of a childhood phenomenon, and if you're willing to give it a shot, one suspects that you'll find yourself entertained enough to give your best, "Yo, Joe!" He gave the movie three and a half out of five stars.

Dan Jolin of Empire magazine commented that it was "Bond without the style and Team America without the bellylaughs". The Daily Telegraph reviewer said, "The taint of cruddiness extends everywhere in this joyless stinker." James Berardinelli said the characters were "as plastic as the toys that inspired them" and considered Tatum "wooden" and that his character was "more animated in sequences when he is rendered by special effects than when being portrayed by Tatum". Roger Ebert described that "there is never any clear sense in the action of where anything is in relation to anything else", but stated that he considered The Rise of Cobra better than Transformers (5 walls): Revenge of the Fallen.


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