GI Joe: The Rise of Clichés

Warning: this review spoils the entire film, but it doesn’t matter, because no one should watch it.

In the normal course of things, I like to begin a review with a brief summary of the plot of the film, book or game in question. GI Joe, however, defies conventional reviewing; firstly, because there is no way to summarise the plot, and secondly because it’s simply far more enjoyable to go through the film from start to finish, ripping it to shreds as I go. Don’t worry about the fact that this review will give the entire plot away – just think of as many Hollywood clichés as you can, add a few more for good measure, and you’ve got it.

After a brief prologue in which it’s established that the main foe is descended from a pathological foe with a mask fetish, the film jumps to the present day, where Generic Hero and his Black Buddy kick enough ass to be allowed to join Team Alpha, some super awesome top secret team of, er, ass kickers who get to defend the world with cutting edge technology such as Iron Man reject suits. Naturally, Generic Hero takes to all this like a duck to water and does ridiculously well on the entrance tests, whilst Black Buddy is, as per usual, forever doomed to be in second place. Naturally, this doesn’t stop him from trying his luck with the ladies, specifically the usual Ice Queen, a talented female colleague who believes only in Science, not foolish things like emotions that can’t be measured. Just for the record, I am a female scientist, and yes, I do believe that emotions exist, because, well, it’s pretty damn self-evident.

Then, for no reason I can really discern, we have The Guy With A Past, who refused to utter the ridiculous lines that pass for dialogue in this film (beauties such as the deadpan “You don’t ask to join GI Joe. You get asked.”) and hence has taken a vow of silence. His Past naturally involves one of the bad guys, who murdered their master back when they were both precocious underage apprentices. There’s no real point to the inclusion of this storyline, but then there’s no real point to the film, so they could have just thrown in anything they liked and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

But wait, that’s not all, for every villain team needs a femme fatale, and in this case it is the Evil Ex Girlfriend of Generic Hero. In the past, she was all sweetness and light, which we know because she was blonde and only ever lived in sunshine, whereas these days she stalks about in skintight leather with black hair. Could it be that the catalyst for her turning evil was that fateful mission where Generic Hero promised to bring her brother back alive (a death sentence if ever there was one)?

So, with the forces of evil launching warheads packed with nanomachines that disintegrate everything they touch, it’s time for the heroes to spring into action. What this means is an extended fight/chase scene that ruins much of Paris and culminates in the destruction of the Eiffel Tower. If there was anything that moved me to genuine emotion in this movie, it was surely the callous devastation of this historical landmark. What kind of morally bankrupt writer would put such a thing into a screenplay?

Anyway, having survived the first hour, I knew that if I stopped the film at that point I would never resume it, and so I ploughed on towards the second hour, where from out of nowhere, a complete disjoint set of clichés arrived. Whilst the rest of the team are expelled from Paris forever (an unbearable punishment!), Generic Hero is captured and put under the care of Evil Mad Scientist. But wait, what is this? Not only is Evil Mad Scientist actually the Not Deceased Brother of Evil Ex Girlfriend, but in his bitterness and anger, he was the one who used nefarious Mind Control Techniques to turn her evil in the first place!

Of course, ultimately the power of Love triumphs over Mind Control, and Evil Ex Girlfriend breaks free of it to save Generic Hero, who in turn must save the day. Actually, to be honest, Black Buddy does more than his fair share towards saving the day, even igniting emotions in the Ice Queen. Quelle surprise, eh? In the meantime, Evil Mad Scientist and Main Villain indulge in their fetishes by donning Masks of Evil in preparation for this year’s sequel. I’ll see you at the cinema…or not.


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