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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Blu-ray Review)

19 Nov, 2009 By: John Latchem

G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra

Box Office $150.2 million
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout.
Stars Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Christopher Eccleston, Dennis Quaid.

If you’re going to make a film based on a toy, you better make sure you please the key audience. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has just enough cheesy nostalgia appeal to give longtime fans a reason to smile, but some might resist a few of the changes made to the mythology.

Director Stephen Sommers’ film is as much an homage to James Bond as it is an adaptation of the Hasbro toy line. Given the villain of the franchise, the comparisons aren’t that far off. However, Sommers has crafted an expansive adventure story that is ironically too limited in scope, given the source material. The story focuses on a core team of Joes and Cobra agents but misses the opportunity to include fun cameos from specialist characters from the franchise that might fit a given situation. The single opportunity the filmmakers took to do this involved Brendan Fraser playing a Joe most fans had never heard of.

The special-edition DVD and Blu-ray includes a commentary with the film, and a second disc containing two pretty good featurettes: “The Big Bang Theory: The making of G.I. Joe” and “Next-Gen Action: The Amazing Visual FX and Design of G.I. Joe.” The titles are self-explanatory. The commentary offers a few good insights but is otherwise average.

The second disc also contains a digital copy of the film. The Blu-ray package contains the same DVD-format second disc as the DVD special edition, which means these extras are not presented in HD.

The timing of the release, however, makes November a banner month for “G.I. Joe” fans. In addition to the live-action film, fans can pick up Shout! Factory’s complete-series boxed set of the 1980s cartoon series, as well as Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Resolute, a Web series that presents a more mature update of the ’80s show.

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