So I went to see G.I. Joe and don’t belive the critics because this movie is fantastic. Unless the critics said it was good. Then you can believe them. Those critics! Never know what they’re going to be critical about!
Anyway I know a lot of you are skeptical so sit back. I am going to tell you ALLLLLL about the movie.
So the movie starts out in medieval France and am I thinking “wait, did Stephen Sommers decide to tie in Van Helsing to the G.I. Joe mythos?” and then I spend a few seconds thinking about what would happen if Snake-Eyes fought Dracula (answer: he would chop off Dracula’s head three times before it hit the ground), but really this is just a flashback to how one of Destro’s ancestors got caught by the French in olden times and they put a mask on him. Then, Destro’s ancestor became King of France when musketeers rescued him! No, that didn’t happen either.
Anyway, in modern times, Destro – who isn’t Destro yet, he’s just some Scotsman – has invented nanites that eat things! But then you have a safety command to disable the nanites and make them stop eating things. So MacDestro has basically invented a Grey Goo Gun, which I think they stole from a Paranoia expansion. Anyway, NATO is totally happy that they have paid for this weapon that could destroy the entire world if anything went wrong and they send Duke and Ripcord along with a bunch of GIs to transport it safely out of MacDestro’s weapons factory in Krygystan.
This is when Cobra (who aren’t actually Cobra yet either because this movie is called “The Rise of Cobra” and if they were already Cobra how would they rise?) show up. They kill all the heroic soldiers because they have a super-plane that can maneuver like, well, a super-plane, and their super-plane has this sort of kinetic ray gun which blasts people with force-blasts which, and this may be a side-effect of the kinetic stuff, right before they hit something force the target to go into slow-motion. And all the Cobra soldiers have handheld versions of the kinetic ray gun! Duke and Ripcord barely survive, and then the Baroness jumps out of the super-plane and grabs the briefcase of nano-death-warheads, and it turns out Duke and the Baroness know each other!
I’ll skip ahead a bit and explain this right now: see, before The War (in East Africa, I guess), Duke and the Baroness (who used to be a blonde!) were going to get married, but Duke shipped out just after proposing, with Ripcord (I guess that “Ripcord” is, like, his birthname or something, because everybody calls him that always – maybe he is Ripcord P. Sykes, or similar) and Anna’s brother Max (or possibly Rex, I forget), but Maxorrex got blown up in The War so Anna was distraught and Duke felt guilty and they split up. (There are a lot of flashbacks in this movie.)
Anyway. THAT is when G.I. Joe shows up with THEIR super-plane and they kill lots of Cobras. Snake-Eyes stabs a bunch of them and Mr. Eko (who is British!) shoots a lot of them and Scarlett has trouble killing one lousy Cobra because she’s a girl, see. (In fairness, we are told that Scarlett graduated college when she was twelve, which explains all of the brilliant strategies she comes up with in the movie, like… uh… I’m sure there was one.)
Duke and Ripcord get taken back to The Pit, which is in Egypt for some reason, and they learn about the top-secret existence of G.I. Joe, which is a massive support organization apparently dedicated to mostly just sending out one team of about six people over and over again. General Hawk (which is not his real name but everybody calls him that for some reason) explains how at first it was just the United States doing the joeing, but then a bunch of other countries signed on and now everybody sends their best military operatives to G.I. Joe. (General Hawk’s butler is the best soldier the Maldives have to offer! The quartermaster is the pride of Togo! The janitors are trained Maori warriors!) MacDestro appears in a hologram (there are a lot of people appearing in holograms in this movie, it is great because it’s like a phone that you don’t have to crosscut to use) and tricks the Joes into revealing the location of the Pit, because nobody knows that MacDestro is evil yet.
Then General Hawk says that he invited Duke to join G.I. Joe a few years ago in Thailand, and Duke says he doesn’t remember, and Hawk says he totally did. They did not flashback at this point, but what I bet happened is that Duke and Hawk were at the same Thai stripper orgy and totally partying down and sometime in the middle Hawk, totally wasted, turns to Duke and says “man you should totally join G.I. Joe, it would be a blast” but Duke thought it was a sort of sex act thing, like the mile high club, and did some freaky-ass shit with his strippers, and Hawk was all “….dude.”
Anyway, Duke and Ripcord demand to be let in G.I. Joe because they want REVENGE, and Hawk says no, but then Duke says “aha I know who the Baroness is” and Hawk is convinced by his deliberate withholding of vital strategic information that this guy needs to be on the most important soldier team ever. Also, Ripcord thinks Scarlett is hot but she is all “science says that love makes no sense so I am a robot beep beep boop.”
Duke and Ripcord start training, and all of a sudden Brendan Fraser shows up and says things like “he wants to try again?” and “They’re Joes, man.” And then he disappears, not to be seen again for the rest of the movie. I am not sure why Brendan Fraser shows up, but I have two theories.
1.) Brendan Fraser is wearing a little beret. Therefore, he is Flint.
2.) Brendan Fraser is actually Brendan Fraser and in the G.I. Joe universe Brendan Fraser is a member of G.I. Joe, much in the same way that Sgt. Slaughter was. Like, G.I. Joe was sitting around one week and somebody popped in a copy of The Mummy and they were all watching it and somebody said, “hey, we need this guy. What if we have to fight a mummy?” And then somebody else was like “And what if one of us was actually raised in a bombshelter until the age of thirty and suffers from severe culture shock? He could help with that too!” So they invited Brendan Fraser to join G.I. Joe, and he spends most of his time hanging around the Joe compound saying things like “They’re Joes, man,” and hoping he never actually gets sent into combat because he would die.
Duke aces all his tests. Ripcord does okay. So they say “Duke, you’re the best candidate we’ve ever had. Ripcord… you’re okay, and normally we would flunk you for not meeting our super-high standards, but you DO know how to unjam the pinball machine in the lounge, so you can stay too.”
Meanwhile, Not-Cobra prepares their attack. Cobra Commander (who is not called that yet because they aren’t actually Cobra yet) shows MacDestro how he can use nanites to turn people into totally loyal super-soldiers with no fear who are immune to snake bites (because if there’s one thing you want to be prepared for, it’s the enemy throwing snakes at you). And they are going to attack!
In The Pit, The Un-Cobra attacks with big drilly things and kills this one Dutch soldier girl who got a line previously. Storm Shadow cuts up General Hawk with his swords and looks disapproving when Zartan kills the Dutch soldier girl, because slaughtering millions with a nanite bomb is one thing, but come on, if you’re gonna stab somebody, have some standards. There is a whole lot of fighting and blowing shit up and Cobra escapes with the nanites and G.I. Joe looks stupid. Scarlett is all MAD because she couldn’t use her university degrees to beat up the Baroness, but Ripcord is there for her emotionally and she smiles so now you know they’re IN LOVE.
Meanwhile, the President is concerned! And for some reason, British. INTERNATIONAL HEROES! Meanwhile, Not Yet Cobra Commander implants Zartan (this is the first point we learn he is in fact Zartan, although given his fetish for putting on dead people’s clothes you probably could have guessed) with nanites so he can have shapechange powers like in the cartoon. Nanites! Is there anything they can’t do?
MacDestro still hates the French for what they did to Van Helsing hundreds of years ago, and he needs to use the Baroness’ Baron husband, who runs a particle accelerator, to make the inactive nanite warheads into active super-nanite death bombs. MacDestro sends Baroness and Storm Shadow and some Diet Cobra troopers to Paris (where the particle accelerator is – Paris has lots of them!) but SUPER COINCIDENCE this is exactly when G.I. Joe’s crack intel division figure out that the Baroness is married to the Baron (it only took them a few weeks!) so they send the usual bunch of guys to Paris too. Baroness and Storm Shadow get the nanite bombs made up and kill some people and head to their truck, but Breaker (who is that French Arab-lookin guy who is in that movie, you know the one) sees them and the Joes give chase!
Duke and Ripcord have these super-accelerator suits which let them do all sorts of amazing things like dodge rockets and jump through trains and cause incredible amounts of unneccessary harm to helpless bystanders, but even with the super-accelerator suits they never so much as get close to the Diet Cobra SUV of Doom which has rockets and a snowplow and armor and shit like that. Snake-Eyes, meanwhile, gets on top of the SUV without trying hard and effortlessly dodges when the bad guys throw cars at him, because Duke and Ripcord are bitches and Snake-Eyes is king shit.
Anyway all you really need to know is that the SortaCobras manage to blow up the Eiffel Tower with nanites and Duke gets taken prisoner by the ChupaCobras but they don’t kill him because they have evil plans for him. Meanwhile the French are really really really upset and want the Joes decommissioned and also they kick the Joes out of France FOREVER. Breaker is particularly distraught about this, possibly because he doesn’t realize that he can get all the trashy Euro-tail he wants in Amsterdam. Mr. Eko (who is British!) is impassive. Ripcord just wants to go save Duke. And fuck Scarlett.
At the North Pole where the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cobra base is, Duke manages to send a signal to G.I. Joe. General Hawk is all “well, they said you had to be decommissioned once you GOT BACK TO BASE and I said I WOULD SEND YOU BACK TO THE BASE but I didn’t say I would do it immediately or ever!” And then he sends the guys who had incredibly maneuverable man-tanks and still failed to stop a couple of terrorists from blowing up the Eiffel Tower as his advance strike team, because he believes in them.
Meanwhile, under the sea in the North Pole is the C0br4 base and Duke is going to get the full-on nanite-zombie-slave treatment. MacDestro gloats that Duke doesn’t even understand that destroying cities with the warheads isn’t the point and neither is putting MacDestro in charge. MacDestro has an EVEN SECRETER plan! And then he gloats that now he has the Baroness! But Baroness is conflicted!
Privately, Not Quite Cobra Commander gloats as well, and reveals to Duke that he is actually Maxorrex! Which is not surprising really because you know Joseph Gordon Levitt when you see him, even if you missed the five thousand articles that mention that he was playing Cobra Commander. But Channing Tatum really brings it in this scene because he is all “NOOOO MAX(orrex) YOU BASTARD.” Maxorrex explains that when Duke thought he died, what actually happened is that he met Dr. Mindbender and instantly realized that science is awesome when you kill people with it.
But then Baroness interrupts the evil nanite-slaving because she still loves Duke deep down! And then it turns out that ALL ALONG Baroness was in fact a nanite zombie slave the whole time! This is awesome because instead of having Baroness be an independent woman who has chosen a malicious path, this confirms that secretly all along she wanted to be a good upstanding wife and have babies and salute the flag and be blonde.
Anyway Maxorrex threatens his OWN SISTER (eeeeevil) and then McDestro launches the nanite missiles. Luckily the Joes (all five of them) have shown up at the top of the undersea ice base, and they see the rockets taking off! They’re too late! But wait, as it turns out MacDestro built the only fighter plane in the whole world that can catch the missiles AND he left it right in the ice cave at the entrance to the base where anybody could take it! Which was pretty sloppy of MacDestro, I tell you what. Anyhow this is awesome because now Ripcord gets to fly the plane because all movie he has been saying “I love planes” and “planes are great” and “I wish I was a plane” and “planey planey plane plane.” But not before he makes out with Scarlett! HOW YOU LIKE THAT SCIENCE NOW?
Snake-Eyes, Scarlett and Breaker descend into the Cobra: Year One undersea base while Mr. Eko (who is British!) goes off to find the other three billion Joes who are advancing on the ice base in war submarines and fight a lot of people and kill a lot of people. Meanwhile, Duke and Baroness fight a lot of people and kill a lot of people. Then Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes have a ninja fight which is even better than the ninja fights they had when they were kids! (You get to see a lot of the latter in this movie, because who doesn’t like to see nine-year-olds in bloody mortal combat, am I right?) And MacDestro gets horribly mutilated by burning!
Meanwhile, Mr. Eko (who is British!) and the G.I. Joe Anonymous Assault Squad get in a massive sub fight with the Almost Cobra Troopers and it is the best thing ever. One guy yells “I’m hit!” and then his sub explodes! Other guys’ subs explode too but they don’t get any dialogue. Way to go, Anonymous Joe #461!
Ripcord catches up to the missiles in his plane and can’t figure out how to shoot them, and this is when Scarlett gets her moment, showing that graduating university when she was twelve totally paid off because she guesses that the firing control is voice-activated AND that it’s in Celtic, which she happens to know! Scarlett is all “and they told me my linguistics major could never save the world, well HA ON THEM.” Ripcord blows up the first of the two missiles, but one is still headed for Washington!
The President hustles into a bunker… but it’s a bunker built by MacDestro! OOOooooOOOOoooooOOOOO!
Snake-Eyes kills Storm Shadow, or more accurately “stabs him and then Storm Shadow falls through to the icy waters below.” But there’s no way a ninja could survive THAT. Meanwhile, Maxorrex and MacDestro escape to their escape submarine to escape. Maxorrex uses nanites to give MacDestro a metal face like in the cartoons! (Nanites can do anything!) Then he puts on a helmet that, I have to admit, looks kinda like a penis, and more or less says he is Cobra Commander and he is in charge now.
Ripcord misses the second missile and it’s oh so close to destroying Washington, so he chases it down the Potomac River and then blows it up and catches all the nanites with his plane and flies them up into the upper atmosphere where they, I dunno, freeze or something. Meanwhile, one of the Secret Service agents guarding the President in the bunker is actually a nanite slave and he kills all the other agents and the President is scared (and British) and then a secret door in the bunker opens and Zartan says hello! Boy, Zartan sure is lucky that Ripcord barely managed to destroy that nanite missile.
The base starts blowing up and Mr. Eko (who is British!) warns all the Joes to get away because the ice above is going to crack and fall down into the ocean, which I thought was odd because ice, as I understand it, traditionally floats on top of water, but maybe it is special ice Cobra made with nanites. Anyway the Joes all pull away from the base and the Joes still in the base escape the base in their submarines and Duke and Baroness chase after Cobra Commander and MacDestro and finally Cobra Commander is all “my submarine is bigger than yours is” and Duke is all “well look at this army I have with me.” OH SNAP!
So Cobra Commander and MacDestro get tossed in jail. Baroness is in jail too but it’s only until they can get rid of all the nanites in her that made her evil and capable of killing thousands of people. Duke and Ripcord are now full-time Joes, period. Breaker is still not happy that he can never go to France. And Zartan is now the President of the United States! That’s an awesome setup for G.I. Joe: The Revenge Of The Rise of Cobra!