G.I. Joe A Must-See for People (Such as Myself) Who Enjoy Watching Cars Get Tossed Around Like Toys

8 08 2009

Airborne Cars Galore For, Like, Fifteen Minutes Straight

Well, I saw G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra last night, and I am still high from it, so here’s a new post. I guess I should issue a spoiler alert just in case I give something away; consider yourself warned. Okay, so the action is straight-up non-stop, which is really rare, but the highlight for me was a protracted car chase scene situated squarely in the middle of the film. I actually believed it, even though it was centered around an outlandish plot for world domination. During this soon-to-be legendary Paris sequence, director Stephen Sommers pulverizes more sedans in fifteen minutes than Michael Bay has managed over the course of his entire filmography. And this is a fan of the highway chase scene from Bay’s The Island talking.

Anyway, the Baroness jumps into her getaway car, which is an utterly sick humvee (Storm Shadow gets shotgun), and “the Joes” (this term gets bandied about quite a bit, unfortunately) are in close pursuit. Almost at the onset of the chase, and long before she resorts to using the guided missiles and other weaponry with which the humvee is equipped (naturally),  the Baroness presses a button and a cowcatcher-like pilot sort of constructs itself (think CGI) at the front of the humvee.  As she literally plows through traffic at obscene speeds, you can only imagine the carnage. Well, no, wait, you don’t have to imagine it; look:


We’re talking from intersection to intersection. For blocks. Almost uninterrupted.

Now I’m not sure that I qualify as a nerd, so I can’t speak for the person going into this thing with Simpsons-comic-book-store-guy evaluation criteria, but I was a nerdy kid who played with the action figures (a.k.a. “my G.I. Joe guys”) and watched the cartoon—even though after a point this conflicted with my paper route. So I was psyched to see many of the bigger code names as well as some of the more soap opera-esque back-stories and origin stories. Also, remember how, even as a kid, the G.I. Joe cartoon was “so fake” because nobody ever died? Both sides had at their disposal state-of-the-art laser pistols, which were 100% accurate when it came to inanimate objects, yet both sides somehow always seemed to just miss human targets. Well, thanks to the miracle of the PG-13 rating category, in the live-action version of this saga I lost track of the body count by the fourth or fifth extended sequence. Actually, I didn’t lose track so much as lost interest in keeping track, since the Cobra “guys” were so awesomely interpreted that I was paying more attention to their evildoing. Suffice it to say, in the film people never miss their targets. Be it by hand-to-hand combat, exotic throwing weapon (yes, Storm Shadow has and uses his “Chinese star”, the one you lost within five minutes of unwrapping him at your birthday party), or ambiguous but punch-packing “pulse” ray, people drop like flies here–sometimes gruesomely and almost always lethally. So that was refreshing.

This blockbuster, coupled with District 9, should totally tide me over until 2012.

I guess in closing I have to “add a layer”, or connect all of this to something else, in order for it to be relevant to this blog. Here’s a drawing from David Macaulay’s 1978 collection Great Moments in Architecture that should make sense to you even if you’ve only seen the trailer for this film.

Nice and Neat

I also recommend Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries. It’s even weirder.

P.S.: Storm Shadow so totally could’ve survived that fall.




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