G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a live-action film directed by Stephen Sommers and released on August 7, 2009. The story involves Conrad "Duke" Hauser and Wallace "Ripcord" Weems being recruited for a special forces team while in the process of trying to protect a military convoy. Set in "the not too distant future," the film features a mixture of realistic military action and sci-fi style weaponry, such as concussion pistols and nanomites.
The movie is the basis of G.I. Joe's Live-action film continuity.
In the near future, weapons expert James McCullen has created a nanotechnology capable of destroying an entire city. He sells four nanomite warheads to NATO, and the U.S. Army is tasked with delivering the warheads.
Duke and Ripcord are delivering the warheads when they are ambushed by the Baroness and several Cobra Vipers. In the ensuing firefight, many of Duke and Ripcord's teammates are killed or severely wounded, and both of their AH-64 Apache gunships are destroyed, along with all of their ground vehicles. Before Duke and Ripcord meet a similar fate, they are rescued by Scarlett, Snake-Eyes and Heavy Duty. They take the warheads to General Hawk, head of the G.I. Joe Team, at their headquarters, The Pit, in Egypt.
Hawk takes command of the warheads and excuses Duke and Ripcord, but when Duke reveals that he knows the Baroness, Hawk allows them to train to join G.I. Joe.
McCullen and his mysterious associate, the Doctor, are revealed to be using the same nanotechnology to build an army of soldiers. McCullen plans on using the warheads to cause a panic, causing the world to turn to the President of the United States for guidance. Using a tracking device, McCullen locates the G.I. Joe base and sends Storm Shadow, the Baroness and Zartan with the enhanced Neo-Vipers to retrieve the warheads. After a fight, Storm Shadow and the Baroness retrieve the warheads and take them to Baron DeCobray, the Baroness's husband, for him to weaponize. After which, Baron DeCobray is murdered by Storm Shadow under orders from McCullen if he touched the Baroness again. They then plan to attack the Eiffel Tower.
G.I. Joe track down the Baroness and Storm Shadow and pursue them through the streets of Paris, but are unsuccessful in stopping them from launching the missile. The nanomites eat through part of the tower before Duke hits the kill switch, but in doing so he is captured and taken to McCullen's base under the Arctic Circle. Although Duke is successful in preventing widespread destruction across Paris, the damage is sufficient to collapse the Eiffel Tower, destroying it utterly. Breaker then manages to extract memory engrams from one of the Neo-Vipers indicating the location of the Arctic base and the remaining targets. Following this, the Joes are arrested by French authorities, believing them to be the ones who damaged the Eiffel Tower.
Thanks to some diplomatic wrangling, the Joes are released from their arrest by the French. The release, however, comes with strict orders that none of them are ever to return to France. Furthermore, Hawk tells them that they have each been recalled by their respective heads of state. While the Joes scramble to try to find a way around this, Duke is imprisoned at the M.A.R.S. base, where the Doctor intends to turn him into a Neo-Viper.
Hawk comments that the Joes have been ordered recalled, but have been given no specific timetable, giving them implicit permission to proceed with a rescue mission to the Arctic Circle. McCullen loads three missiles with nanomite warheads.
The Doctor reveals he is Rex Lewis, the Baroness's brother that Duke left for dead on a mission four years ago. He was trapped in a bunker with Dr. Mindbender and learned about the nanotechnology. He was disfigured in a blast which Duke and the Baroness believed killed him. The Baroness tries to free Duke but the Doctor reveals he has implanted her with nanomites.
McCullen tries to kill Duke, but he is unsuccessful and his face is burned as he flees with the Doctor to an escape vessel. Duke and the Baroness pursue him while Scarlett, Heavy Duty and Snake-Eyes attempt to stop the missiles and shut down the Arctic base.
Snake-Eyes destroys the first missile using his Ice Sabre. Ripcord takes off in a prototype jet, and destroys the second missile before it reaches Moscow. The third missile is targeted towards the White House in the United States. Upon learning of this, the President's Secret Service team escorts him to an underground bunker to either wait for the crisis to be resolved or the missile to hit. The bunker, however, turns out to have been built by M.A.R.S. Industries and one of the President's Secret Service team is now a Neo-Viper. The Neo-Viper kills the remaining members of the President's team and his staff, then admits a shadowy figure into the room. The President recognizes the man, and is shocked. Breaker finally manages to intercept and destroy the third warhead, but in doing so, he has to take it to the atmosphere. He ejects and lands outside the White House, where he is arrested by the Secret Service, who are initially unaware of his heroic actions.
The Doctor heals McCullen's burned face, but in doing so he encases it in silver, and he declares McCullen to now be Destro. He then declares himself to be the Cobra Commander. They are soon captured by G.I. Joe. Duke and the Baroness are forced to part, sharing a last kiss, as the Baroness is sent away in the hopes that the nanomites which have been injected into her can be purged. The Joes then walk together to a helicopter, readying themselves for a new mission: Operation Mongoose. As they step inside, General Hawk wishes them luck. Back at the White House, the President glad-handles a group of reporters before stepping inside the Oval Office. Inside, it becomes clear that he is not actually the President at all, but rather Zartan, and the shadowy figure from before. Whistling to himself "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow", he prepares for word on Cobra's next move.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Technically, G.I. Joe does not exist, but if it did, it'd be comprised of the top men and women from the top military units in the world, the alpha dogs. When all else fails, we don't."
- --General Hawk gives his new recruits the ten-cent tour.
"That redhead is really starting to piss me off!"
- --Way to get catty, Baroness.
Asking where Snake-Eyes is from:
Duke: "What about you?"
Scarlett: "He doesn't speak."
Breaker: "He doesn't say."
"Are they Joes?"
"Hell, no. They're jokes."
- --Sgt. Stone and Heavy Duty are unimpressed.
"Knowing is half the battle."
- --Someone had to work it in, eh Hawk?
"I thought you Special Ops types were supposed to be tough."
"We are, but we're sensitive too."
- --This is Scarlett and Ripcord's idea of flirting.
G.I. Joe references
- While woozy, Ripcord comments on Heavy Duty's "lifelike hair" and "kung-fu grip," both action features on the original 12" G.I. Joe doll.
- The scar under Duke's right eye is an homage to the famous scar on the original 12" G.I. Joe figure, introduced in 1964. It was added as a copyright mark, to prevent unlawful reproduction.
A Real American Hero
- The idea for the nanomites comes from an early issue of the G.I. Joe comic.
- The nanomite injections The Doctor gives the Neo-Vipers leave behind a scar in the shape of the classic Cobra logo.
- There are several RAH references in the Pit's rec room:
- Breaker's love for bubble gum comes directly from the comics and filecards.
- The Baroness describes Duke and his team as "real American heroes."
- When the Baroness suggests that Snake-Eyes has given up his pursuit, Storm Shadow warns her that "he never gives up" - a line from the 1980s cartoon themesong (He never gives up/He's always there/Fighting for freedom/Over land and air.)
- As Duke and Ripcord avoid the missiles launched from the Steel Crusher A.P.V., the camera moves to be in front of them, and the scene briefly freezes, framing the two men with an explosion behind them: just as in the card art for the '80s figures.
- Heavy Duty shouts the team battlecry: "Yo, Joe"!
- At the end, the G.I. Joe team is on at aircraft carrier that appears to be the U.S.S. Flagg, bearing the number 99. The toy line and comic books featured the same ship.
- Many old G.I. Joe stickers are visible during the end credits.
- The U.S. "flying star" logo is visible during the end credits.
- According to Brian Goldner, the writers took their inspiration mostly from Larry Hama's G.I. Joe comics, and not the animated series. Lorenzo di Bonaventura admits he feels the Cobra Organization, as depicted in the cartoon, was "probably the stupidest evil organization out there!"
- The Delta-6 Accelerator Suits are a reference to Sigma 6's Sigma Suits.
- The Sigma 6 logo is visible during the end credits.
- The interior of Destro's submarine was based on a Handley Page Jetsream plane.
- The active nanites are colored green to suggest mold decomposing whatever it grows on.
- When given a painkiller on the G.I. Joe transport after Ripcord and Duke's unit is ambushed, Ripcord jokes that Duke was "Government Issued", which is what the G.I. stands for.
- Destro is the head of M.A.R.S., which stands for "Military Armaments Research Syndicate;" it is also a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.
- When Scarlett uses the chameleon suit, her hands are bare. However, when she activates its cloaking feature, her hands disappear as well.
- When Snake Eyes has a flashback to the first time he and Storm Shadow met and fought in the dojo, Storm Shadow hits the burners on the stove, and the burners turn on as Snake Eyes runs on them. However, in the next shot, all of the burners are off.
The development of a live-action feature film goes back to the height of G.I. Joe's popularity back in the 1980s. For many reasons, the project went into what is called "development hell," a term referring to the difficulties of getting a planned feature film into actual production. Other possible reasons may be the toyline's popularity started to ebb on its entry into the 1990s, and the failure of other toy-based feature films, notably Masters of the Universe.
In 2003, Paramount Pictures obtained the entertainment rights for some of Hasbro's properties. Producer Don Murphy originally negotiated for the rights to develop a live-action G.I. Joe feature film following the success of the toy's relaunch and the direct-to-video animated movies. However, following the United States' war in Iraq, the live-action project stalled and the option was given to develop Transformers instead.
In an ironic twist, the success of the 2007 Transformers feature film helped Paramount regain interest in developing G.I. Joe once more. The film was slated for a 2009 release date with Stephen Sommers as the director and Stuart Beattie as the scriptwriter.Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, who served as producer for Transformers, produced this film. Hasbro executive Brian Goldner was also onboard as executive producer. Di Bonaventura, in an interview, said that if the original cartoon movie was like the 1989 Batman film, this film was more akin to Batman Begins. To help achieve this claim, di Bonaventura signed on famed G.I. Joe comics writer Larry Hama as a creative consultant.
Initial details said the film was to feature an international task force based in Brussels. Reports said the team would be called called G.I.J.O.E. (Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity) and composed of members from different countries. The primary villains were to be Destro and the Baroness, with Cobra Commander in control behind-the-scenes.
Rampant speculation forced Hasbro to clarify the story. They assured fans that the film would still feature the familiar G.I. Joe vs. Cobra concept; the Joes' headquarters will be called the Pit as it was in the comics; there will be characters from the U.S. and locations around the world, but "G.I. Joe" will not be an acronym; and that Duke would be the lead character. The story setup would be based on the theme and feel of the comic series published by Marvel. Addressing the rumored toned-down patriotic feel, Brian Goldner reiterated that this would not be an issue.
In June of 2009, there were rumors that, due to the film getting record low scores from test screenings, the director and editor had been fired, and a new editor had been brought in to attempt to save the film. However, these rumors turned out to not be true.
In the last quarter of 2007, Sienna Miller was the first actor to be confirmed for a role in the movie. Not long after, Ray Park was announced for the role of Snake-Eyes. Before the year was over, the Hollywood Reporter released to press three more actors, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Said Taghmaoui as Scarlett, Heavy Duty and Breaker respectively. Byung-Hun Lee was said to be in the running for the role of Storm Shadow. It was finally confirmed on Arirang Radio.
Actor Sam Worthington was apparently, at one point, the choice for Duke, a role that eventually went to Channing Tatum. Though Marlon Wayans was indeed the final choice as Ripcord, an erroneous report by Variety upset and confused fans as the Ripcord character was described as the "leader" of the Joe Team.
By end of January 2008, Variety reported Dennis Quaid was cast as Hawk and a quick follow up from IESB revealed Arnold Vosloo as Zartan. David Murray was reported to have signed on as Destro. However, the role eventually went to Christopher Eccleston. The rumor was that Murray's work visa had not been approved for the February 13 shooting start date.
The one role that received the most speculation was that of Cobra Commander. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's name was attached to the project very early on. The Official G.I. Joe Club was among the number of websites to confirm Gordon-Levitt's role as Cobra Commander but quickly removed the news soon thereafter, leaving many to think it was erroneous information. However, the presentation at the International Toy Fair 2008 in New York confirmed Gordon-Levitt as having signed on to play the Cobra leader.
The lineup of cast is as follows:
For toys, a series of action figures based on the actors and vehicles as they are seen in the movie are guaranteed for sure. Other possible tie-ins are comicbooks, movie novelizations and product placements. Electronic Arts recently acquired the license to produce games based on Hasbro's properties from rival publisher Activision, the video game version of The Rise of Cobra being the first game made under this new deal. Before the release of the movie, a prequel comicbook mini-series written by Chuck Dixon was released by IDW Publishing.
To increase anticipation, promotional images were released by the studio. The first of these feature actor Ray Park dressed as Snake-Eyes. The earliest preview of footage from the film was seen in the 2009 Super Bowl TV spots.
Rob Moore, the studio vice chairman stated that a sequel would be developed, with the film's lead actors contractually obligated to return. In January 2010, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Zombieland, were hired to write the script for the sequel. Stephen Sommers was originally going to return as director of the sequel, but as of January 2011, Sommers will not be returning to direct. Production on the film will begin in June and the film will likely be released in 2012, also seeing the return of Storm Shadow actor, Lee Byung-hun. On January 17, 2011, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed once again that Lee Byung-hun will reprise his role as Storm Shadow in the sequel. Channing Tatum and Ray Park are also returning to the film as Duke and Snake-Eyes, respectively. Paramount Pictures announced that Jon Chu will direct the sequel. The film was released on March 29, 2013 as G.I. Joe: Retaliation .
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was poorly received overall by critics. As of June 13, 2021, the film has a score of 34% fresh on the reviewer aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes with 170 reviews. The film fared slightly better with audiences, but is still only about 50% fresh. The site's Critics' Consensus feature states that "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."
|The Rise of Cobra Mission Dossier|
- The action scenes in "Paris" were actually filmed in the town Dejvice, Prague, Czech Republic. Filmmakers built shops with flowers, changed school names and parked mostly old French-manufactured cars on the streets.
- 112 cars were destroyed during filming.
- According to Stephen Sommers on the DVD commentary, one of the studio's executives disliked the idea of Snake-Eyes wearing a mask, and tried to get him to remove it.
- Lorenzo di Bonaventura originally envisioned Mark Wahlberg for the role of Duke.
- The rapper Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock, but when he turned it down the character was changed to Heavy Duty, who was played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
- Dennis Quaid filmed all his scenes in the first two months of production.
- Don Murphy was going to produce the film in 2003, but he made Transformers instead. Mitchell Amundsen was the cinematographer of both films.
- Larry Hama, the creator of most of the G.I. Joe characters, was hired as a creative consultant on the film. He also got a cameo, as a NATO general during the nanomite presentation. The role was cut during editing, and he can only be seen in wide shots of the NATO assembly.
- Michael Benyaer plays a Flight Control Attendant in the film. Benyaer had been involved in the franchise previously in the 1989 series, where he voiced Scoop.
- Channing Tatum originally didn't want to act in this film because he felt it glorified war. He changed his mind when he read the script. His friend and "Stop-Loss"-co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt also encouraged him to sign on.
- Dennis Quaid describes his character Hawk as "a mixture between Chuck Yeager, Sgt. Rock and a naïve Hugh M. Hefner."
- Martial artist/stuntman Ray Park had little knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but as a child he had played with a Snake-Eyes action figure. He was thus delighted to play a childhood hero of his. To prepare for the role, he practiced wushu training and studied Snake-Eyes's appearances in the G.I. Joe comic/television series. **Afterwards he approached writer Kevin VanHook and artist S. L. Gallant with the idea of a G.I. Joe comic further exploring his incarnation of the character.
- Marlon Wayans was cast as Ripcord after his performance in Requiem for a Dream. Wayans is also a fan of G.I. Joe.
- The filmmakers enjoyed working with Dennis Quaid so much that screenwriter Stuart Beattie created 10-15 more scenes for him.
- Dennis Quaid took the role of General Hawk on the insistence of his son, a fan of G.I. Joe.
- Rachel Nichols was the first choice for the role of Scarlett.
- Stephen Sommers felt that this was the closest he would get to making a James Bond film. It pays homage to several 007 films.
- Stephen Sommers took great care over the technology depicted in the film, going through various books/magazines about weapons technology. He feels that almost 100% of the technology can be developed within 10-20 years.
- According to Stephen Sommers, total invisibility is impossible, but the camouflage cameras in the film (they project the view from a soldier's back onto their front) can allow for virtual invisibility.
- The Delta-6 accelerator suits delighted Stuart Beattie and made him write up "a car chase where one guy's not even in a car!" However, they were bulky and heavy for the actors to wear.
- Ray Park was nervous about wearing the ninja suit and asked to practice with it at home so that he could be comfortable with it. He found the suit (composed solely of rubber with a metal visor) like wearing a rubber band, and had to put effort into moving in it.
- Byung-hun Lee, who plays Storm Shadow, had no knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but was advised by the filmmakers not to learn about his character, letting his portrayal stand by itself. He describes Storm Shadow as defined and driven by two conflicting facets: "huge pride and a sense of honour."
- Heavy Duty was originally named Lamont Morris, but the name was changed to Hershel Dalton. However, his code number ("807-46-LM65") contains Morris' initials to honour him.
- Rachel Nichols, a blonde, plays Scarlett, a redhead. Nichols dyed her hair red for her previous film Star Trek.
- The first two levels of the Pit (G.I. Joe's underground base) were constructed at the Downey soundstage; the rest is CGI.
- Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner chose screenwriter Michael Gordon to do the script on the basis of his work for 300.
- Director Trademark (Stephen Sommers: [cast]: Kevin J. O'Connor (Dr. Mindbender - "appeared in several of films, including and played the title character in The Mummy and both of which also starred (Sgt. Stone). Fraser claims his character in this movie is a descendant of Rick O'Connell, his character from The Mummy movies."):
- Olga Kurylenko was considered for the role of the Baroness.
- Not screened for critics.
- The Cobra Night Raven in the film differs greatly from its comic book and "G.I. Joe" TV counterparts. In the comics and the series, it's based on the SR-71 Blackbird. In the movie, it's very much like the MiG-31 from the movie "Firefox".
- Duke and Ripcord train with FN model FS2000 Tactical series assault rifle in NATO 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem). During the elevator sequence, the Baroness uses an H&K MP7 in 4.6x30mm. Both are very real, very successful, futuristic-looking weapons. Snake-Eyes' pistol is modeled on the FN Five Seven semi-auto pistol, which is also a real weapon. Instead of energy-based projectiles, the real gun shoots small-caliber 5.7x28mm rounds.
- Skip Woods wrote an early draft of the film, which featured Alex Mann (aka Britain's Action Man) and the antagonist as the Naja/Ryan, a corrupt CIA agent. Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake-Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute.
- Best friends Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as Duke and Cobra Commander, who were arch-enemies in "G.I. Joe".
- Cobra Commander's mask was redesigned, partly because filmmakers thought the original version was too similar to a Ku Klux Klan mask.
- For the voice of the Cobra Commander, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was partly inspired by Chris Latta's voice from "G.I. Joe", but he also used a bit of his own imagination as he felt that copying Latta's voice fully would be unoriginal and ridiculous.
- A post-credits scene was planned, in which famously mute ninja Snake-Eyes tells a joke to the G.I. Joe team. Larry Hama advised against it because it would detract from the seriousness of the film, as well as go against the core of Snake-Eyes' character, who has always been portrayed as a complete mute.
- There are several connections to the Alexandre Dumas père work 'The Man in the Iron Mask':the obvious mask worn by the elder MacCullen and his descendant's new facethe events involving Franceand the concept of replacing the leader with a perfect double.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt joined the cast when he was shown the mask he would wear as Cobra Commander.
- Though the robots in the comic were not as small as nanomites, the story was specifically cited as a source of inspiration in the DVD special features.
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- Reuters: "G.I. Joe" accepts movie assignment
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- IESB: Larry Hama Boards G.I. Joe!
- Exclusive: Larry Hama Enlists With G.I. Joe Movie!
- IESB.net: Quick Details on Stephen Sommers' GI Joe Feature Film
- IGN.com UK: What Does G.I. Joe Stand For?
- Hasbro Clarifies Some G.I. Joe Speculation
- Exec Producer Reveals Details
- Sienna Miller Recruited for G.I. Joe
- EXCLUSIVE: Ray Park Cast as Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe Movie
- Go 'Joe': 3 more join the action
- Latino Review on Storm Shadow and Scarlett casting
- Sam Worthington in talks for G.I. JOE
- Tatum will Duke it out in 'Joe'
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- IESB Exclusive: G.I. Joe's DESTRO Unmasked!
- IESB Breaking News: G.I. Joe's Destro Has Been Re-Cast!
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Cobra Commander In G.I.Joe
- G.I. Joe's Cover Girl Revealed!
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