I was on Twitter on Tuesday – I tend to be doing that a lot lately – and there was a contest being held by @aldotcom giving away two free advance screening tickets to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The contest was to ask who among the cast was from Alabama. I answered the question correctly (Channing Tatum is from Cullman, AL), and I ended up on the winning side of the deal. They took down my address and said I would be getting my tickets in the mail. So, I told my wife that I won the tickets and that we were going. The tickets came in the mail this morning, and the time was 7:30 tonight.

We get there, and there are people from Paramount in the theater (how they got that gig was beyond me) thanking us for checking it out and wanting to ask our opinions about it later. I didn’t really care; I just wanted to watch the movie. I had read the prequel and the movie tie-in novelizations, and I had a general idea of what to expect. That being said, I tempered my expectations way back for the movie itself, because those expectations were squashed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

I’m not gonna go into as much detail as I normally do, because the movie hasn’t technically been released yet. But, I will say that the movie sounded amazing, looked amazing, and was fairly well acted. There were enough twists and turns to throw enough people off, and there were plenty of cameo lines for old school fans – including one scene that I actually marked out for. The last time I did that? Seeing the USS Enterprise for the first time in Star Trek. Make of that what you will…

Channing Tatum showed his Alabama roots in the role of Duke. I think he tried to hide his accent for the bulk of the movie, but he couldn’t hide it for long. The Alabama accent is a difficult one to get rid of; trust me, I’ve been trying to get rid of mine for years…to no avail. Anyway, his acting was excellent, and he tried to hide his emotions behind a wall, but he couldn’t do it for long. Certain events of the movie wouldn’t allow that to happen.

Marlon Wayans impressed me with Ripcord. I was able to look at him as a completely serious actor in this with some comedic timing when it fit. He actually looked believable shooting people and even more believable with a bit of a stoic expression on his face. He knew how to turn on the charm his character needed to get his point across. Also, it’s interesting to point out that the original Ripcord was white, and Marlon Wayans is black…of course.

Rachel Nichols was stunningly awesome as Scarlett. The character was required to be emotionless throughout most of the movie, and she did just that. The character was also a child genius who had no clue as to why guys fawn over her, and she pulled that off as well. Nichols was nice as Gaila in Star Trek, but she just blew me away as Scarlett. This was a good choice.

I can’t mention Ray Park as Snake Eyes without mentioning his counterpart Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow. They played their rivalry off very well, and it was a joy to see their fight scenes. There was one issue I had with the Snake Eyes costume, but I’m not gonna go into that here. That being said, the two adults got outdone by their younger counterparts (Leo Howard and Brandon Soo Hoo, respectively). You have to see it for yourself.

Can I just go on record as saying Sienna Miller is hot? Even if I can’t, I’m doing it anyway. My wife even said, “Damn, she got a nice figure!” I think that opens the door for me. That being said, Sienna Miller didn’t do the accent, but that’s okay. She had the look down-pat. I was actually a little disappointed at first, but after seeing some of the promotional images, I softened my stance somewhat. After I saw her in the movie itself, any issues I had with the casting went out of the window. She gets an epic win in my book.

Another person I initially had problems with was Christopher Eccleston being cast as Destro. Those problems began to go away when I read the book, but they went completely away when I saw the movie. Prior to this, the only thing I had seen him in was his bit role on Heroes, but I was impressed with that. So, hearing his Scottish brogue chew up scenery as Destro was cool; the way he gets his trademark mask is even cooler.

Yet another casting problem I had was with Arnold Vosloo playing Zartan (funny enough, that was one of two people my wife recognized; Marlon Wayans being the other one). I figured he would’ve been better suited as Destro, but – not to sound like a broken record – that changed upon watching the movie. His Zartan was quirky and unconcerned with killing people to get their agenda across. It was definitely a win-win situation in the end.

Alan Silvestri was masterful with his scoring of the movie, and Stephen Sommers was wonderful as the director. Neither appeared over their head, and both did a great justice to the job of revitalizing a franchise that appeared next to dead.

Bottom line: if you want to go to a movie and have a good time, go to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. You’ll enjoy yourself, and just maybe end up marking out a bit in the process. I give it 4 dragon heads out of 5, and it just might be worth watching again.

EDIT: I bought this on Blu-Ray and watched it a couple of times.  I don’t have any different an opinion on it now than I did then.  I don’t know if that’s necessarily a GOOD thing, but it be’s like that sometimes.

Yo, JOE!
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