G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Hr GI Joe Exclusive Poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Bob Ducsay
Brian Goldner
Screenplay by Stuart Beattie
David Elliot
Paul Lovett
Story by Michael B. Gordon
Stuart Beattie
Stephen Sommers
Based on G.I. Joe
Starring Channing Tatum
Marlon Wayans
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Christopher Eccleston
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Lee Byung-hun
Sienna Miller
Rachel Nichols
Jonathan Pryce
Said Taghmaoui
Dennis Quaid
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Mitchell Amundsen
Production company Spyglass Entertainment
Di Bonaventura Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates July 22, 2009
Running time 118 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million[2]
Box office $687.8 million[3]

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a 2009 American military science fiction action film based on the G.I. Joe toy franchise, with particular inspiration from the comic book and cartoon series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The film was directed by Stephen Sommers, produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and co-written by Stuart Beattie. The film is a sequel to the 2007 film G.I. Joe, the second film in the G.I. Joe film series, and the sixth film in the Hasbro Cinematic Universe.

In the film, Duke and the G.I. Joe Team confront Cobra as they intent to launch global destruction around the world. Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, and Dennis Quad reprise their roles from the first film.

Production began after the release of the first G.I. Joe film. Most of production was put on hold due to the Writers Guild of America strike, but was able to be finished before the deadline.

The Rise of Cobra was released worldwide on July 22, 2009, following an extensive marketing campaign focused on the Mid-American public. The film grossed a total of $302 million in the U.S. and Canada and $385 million in other territories, for a total of $687 million worldwide. With over 10 million home media sales in 2009, it was also the second-selling film of the year in the United States.

Metacritic said the film received "generally unfavorable reviews". Criticism was directed at the bland story, melodramatic acting, romantic scenes, crude humor, overall length, and anti-climactic action sequences. However, critics praised the visual effects, and music.

A crossover with the Transformers series, Transformers & G.I. Joe: Renegation, was released on July 1, 2011. The sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was released on February 15, 2013.

Plot Edit

Cast Edit

G.I. Joe Edit

  • Channing Tatum as Duke/Conrad S. Hauser
  • Marlon Wayans as Ripcord/Wallace Weems
  • Rachel Nichols as Scarlett/Shana O’Hara
  • Dennis Quaid as General Hawk/General Clayton M. Abernathy

Cobra Edit

Other characters Edit

Production Edit

Development Edit

In August 2007, Paramount Pictures announced that a sequel to the first G.I. Joe film, would be released alongside Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In September 2007, Paramount announced a late July 2009 release date for the sequel.[4] A major hurdle that was overcome during the film's production was the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, as well as possible strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild.[5][6]

Filming Edit

Release Edit

Marketing Edit

The film's actors were scanned for Hasbro's toy line,[7] which began in July 2009 with the release of 3 3/4-inch tall action figures. The Rise of Cobra toy line also includes 12-inch figures, and vehicles, including the first play set based on the Pit in the franchise's history.[8] Electronic Arts developed a video game sequel to the film, also titled G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.[9]

IDW Publishing released a four-issue prequel written by Chuck Dixon. Each issue focuses on Duke, Destro, The Baroness and Snake Eyes respectively.[10] It began publication in March 2009.[11] The weekly film adaptation was written by Denton J. Tipton and drawn by Casey Maloney. The film's universe continued in a limited series about Snake Eyes later in 2009: Ray Park enjoyed playing the character and approached writer Kevin VanHook and artist S. L. Gallant with the idea of a comic further exploring his incarnation of the character.[12]

As part of the movie launch campaign, over 300 12-inch, parachute-equipped, G.I. Joe action figures were dropped from a 42-story Kansas City hotel roof and soar over 500 feet to the ground at 16th Annual International G.I. Joe Convention.[13] For viral marketing, black helicopters with "G.I. Joe" written on them flew over American beaches.[14][15] Tie-ins were made with Symantec,[16] 7-Eleven,[17] and Burger King.[18]

Paramount's vice chairman Rob Moore claimed the movie was prioritized for mid-Americans, and thus marketing was more focused on cities such as Kansas City and Columbus. In Europe, the marketing was focused on action sequences set in Paris, Egypt and Tokyo, and emphasizes that G.I. Joe is an international team of elite operatives and not "about beefy guys on steroids who all met each other in the Vietnam War."[19]

G.I. Joe: The Invasion of Cobra IslandEdit

In 2009, R.M. Productions Ltd. was contracted by Paramount Pictures Corp. to produce a viral marketing campaign for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This resulted in the creation of G.I. Joe: The Invasion of Cobra Island, a two-part animated web video, which eventually went viral.[20] The plot has G.I. Joe called in to stop Cobra when they develop a secret bio-weapon on their hidden island base. It was done in the style of Team America: World Police and Thunderbirds, using a mix of vintage Hasbro G.I. Joe vehicles of the 1980s, and the newly produced 25th-anniversary G.I. Joe figures. The characters were animated using custom puppetry techniques, while their faces and other special effects were done using 3D animation software packages.[21]

Critic reviews Edit

Paramount decided to not screen the film for print critics before its release and wanted to focus on internet critics.[22] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 35% approval rating with an average rating of 4.6/10 based on 159 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "While fans of the Hasbro toy franchise may revel in a bit of nostalgia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is largely a cartoonish, over-the-top action fest propelled by silly writing, inconsistent visual effects, and merely passable performances."[23] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 32 out of 100, based on 25 reviews.[24]

One of the many complaints made by fans was that the film failed to relate to the G.I. Joe franchise. stated that, "[the studio] actually went out of their way to butcher the G.I. Joe mythos in favor of derivative storyline devices." They cited the Baroness, who was changed from an East European noble in the comics to Duke's brainwashed ex-girlfriend in the film.[25]

Dan Jolin of Empire magazine commented that it was "Bond without the style and Team America without the bellylaughs".[26] The Daily Telegraph reviewer said, "The taint of cruddiness extends everywhere in this joyless stinker."[27] 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".[28] Roger Ebert described that "there is never any clear sense in the action of where anything is in relation to anything else".[29] Chuck Wilson of The Village Voice criticized the dialogue and described the underwater battle as "absurdly overproduced, momentarily diverting, and then instantly forgettable".[30] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times considered the plot "at once elemental and incomprehensible",[31] and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone thought that, despite the high budget, the special effects "look shockingly crappy; the Eiffel Tower appears to be destroyed by some green slime left over from the Ghostbusters films".[32] Reviewers also criticized the film for the scientific impossibility of sinking ocean ice.[29]

Matthew Leyland from Total Film 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.[33] Sister publication SFX called the film "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.[34] Christopher Monfette of IGN also gave the film 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 film three and a half out of five stars.[35] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times criticized the excessive flashbacks, but praised the action scenes and design, and considered that Marlon Wayans "steals the show".[36] Dan Kois of The Washington Post describing it as "loudest, flashiest, silliest and longest blockbuster in a summer full of long, silly, flashy, loud blockbusters" thought it was "as polished and entertaining as war-mongering toy commercials get".[37]

Box officeEdit

Despite mostly negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success. The Rise of Cobra grossed $15 million from midnight showings, at the time the most ever for a Wednesday midnight debut.[38] The film proceeded to beat the biggest Friday opening in history,[39] bringing in $61 million in total receipts on its first day.[40][41] The film grossed $91.9 million on its first weekend, the seventh-largest in history at the time, and brought in $100 million in its first five days, putting it in second place behind Transformers: Revenge of the FallenTemplate:'s $108.3 million for the all-time biggest five-day opening.[42]

The Rise of Cobra remained #1 at the box office for two weeks straight by a close margin. On August 27, a month after its release, the movie reached $186.2 million in the US, which brought it into the top 10 highest-grossing movies ever in that country as of September 2009.[43] The Rise of Cobra closed its box office run with $302,342,100 in the US & Canada and $687,852,100 worldwide, being the twenty-eighth highest-grossing film of all time domestically, and the 84th highest-grossing film of all time.[44] Among 2009 films, it was the fifth highest grossing in the United States and Canada,[45] and eleventh globally.[46] As of 2013, the film marks as the fifth highest-grossing Hasbro film of all time, behind only its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 40 million tickets in the US.[47]

Home mediaEdit

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was released on November 3, 2009 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, in regular and two-disc editions.[48] Both editions include an audio commentary by Stephen Sommers and Bob Ducsay, and two making-of featurettes, with the second disk of the special edition holding a digital copy of the film.[49] The film opened at #1 at the DVD sales chart, making $40.9 million off 2,538,000 DVD units in the first week of release.[50] The film sold over 3.8 million discs, 500,000 of them on Blu-ray, during its first week.[51]

Accolades Edit

Tatum won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor: Action for his performance as Duke and the film also received three other Teen Choice Award nominations: Choice Movie: Action, Choice Movie Actress: Action for Sienna Miller, and Choice Movie: Villain for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.[52][53] However, the film was also nominated for six Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor for Marlon Wayans and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, with Sienna Miller "winning" the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress at the 30th Golden Raspberry Awards.[54]

Sequel Edit

Main article: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

A sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was released on February 15, 2013,[55][56] directed by Jon M. Chu.[57][58] In the film, the Joes are framed as traitors by Zartan, who is still impersonating the President of the United States, and Cobra Commander now has all the world leaders under Cobra's control, with their advanced warheads aimed at innocent populaces around the world. Outnumbered and out gunned, the Joes form a plan with the original G.I. Joe General Joseph Colton to overthrow the Cobra Commander and his allies Zartan, Storm Shadow, and Firefly.[59]