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GOING HELL FOR LEATHER; THE BIG RELEASE.

Byline: DAVID EDWARDS

G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

118mins ***

The last time Paramount made a movie based on toys, we got this summer's God-awful Transformers sequel, a $200million actioner that, despite lots of explosions, somehow managed to be boring.

The studio's latest is anything but. Sure, it's big, it's dumb and its cast won't be winning any acting awards, but for all that, the film delivers a two-hour blast of fun sure to delight the kid in all of us. Bristling with guns, girls and gadgets and never taking itself too seriously, it's a pleasure of the guiltiest variety.

Co-produced by Hasbro, who created the titular action figure in the 1960s, Channing Tatum (Stop-Loss, Step Up) is US soldier Duke who, with pal Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), joins the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity - or GIJOE - special-ops team. Just in time, too, because an arms dealer called Destro (former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston) has joined the evil COBRA organisation to take over the world by unleashing billions of building-chomping nanorobots. With his top operatives The Baroness (a raven-haired Sienna Miller) and the ninja Storm Shadow planning to destroy the Eiffel Tower, it's up to Duke and co to lock, load and kick all manner of butt.

The plot's pure Saturday-morning serial but G.I. Joe never gets boring. When not zipping around shooting stuff in futuristic aeroplanes or subs, our heroes are donning Accelerator Suits that allow them to run faster than cars. And the clobber comes into its own during that Paris showdown as Duke and Ripcord run through traffic to stop the tower being toppled in a tinnitus-inducing race against time. The irony may be that we saw something similar in Team America, but then director Stephen Sommers doesn't do subtle, as we saw in The Mummy and Van Helsing.

And criticising the acting is like questioning the nutrition in a Wham bar. Tatum is beefcake bland, the most memorable thing about Miller is her leather catsuit, while Eccleston probably wishes he'd stuck with the Time Lord gig. Meanwhile, Dennis Quaid as Duke's boss and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (so good in Brick) as an evil scientist probably won't be sticking this on their CVs.

Yet the gung-ho plot and dodgy thesping matter little for here's a film perfectly pitched at its young audience - and one guaranteed to delight 10-years-olds of all ages.

THE REEL LOWDOWN

BEST QUOTE: "Duke wasn't born, he was Government-issued."

BEST BIT: Our heroes' race through Paris traffic in Accelerator Suits.

WORST BIT: Not exactly thought-provoking stuff.

IF YOU LIKED... Stealth, Iron Eagle, Firefox... YOU'LL LIKE THIS.

CAPTION(S):

ACTION HEROES: Sienna Miller (left) as The Baroness. COBRA agents wreak havoc (above)
COPYRIGHT 2009 MGN LTD
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2009
Words:447
Previous Article:Walks on the wild side; MOVIES.
Next Article:You've got to be kidding; MOVIES.


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