G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

Viewed – 22 Jan 2010  Blu-ray

Over here in the UK, I don’t think the G.I. Joe toys really caught on as well as in the states.  Re-branded Action Force, I was a big fan of them and the subsequent cartoon TV series as a kid.  Yet that seems a long time ago now, and their nostalgia value is clouded at best.  So here we have, much belated I might add, the big budget movie adaptation.  Best approached as a sort of X-Men meets Mission Impossible, this follows a young soldier named Duke (Channing Tatum) who along with his best bud Ripcord (a for once, not annoying Marlon Wayans) becomes embroiled in the search for a missing, high tech warhead after a team of highly advanced super-solders steal it during a routine escort mission.  Soon our naive solder, is drafted into the ranks of a secret government squad known as G.I. Joe; the only guys with the skills, training and the technology to take on this new threat.

Basically, like any movie with aspirations of becoming a franchise, this is mostly an origins story with a few flash backs thrown in for key characters, helping to flesh out the band of likable, colourful characters.  Christopher Eccleston heads up the bad guys as a megalomania arms-dealer, aided by a sultry, dark-haired Sienna Miller and a band of souped up grunts, with the odd white ninja thrown in for good measure.  On the side of the Joe’s we have a very sexy Rachel Nichols and kung-fu genius for hire Ray Park, lead by Dennis Quaid which made me wonder what the hell this once big name actor has been doing for god knows how many years.  Directed by The Mummy’s Stephen Summers, this is a fast, fun and exciting movie, with some great set-pieces (especially the Paris-set chase) and impressive special effects.  At times the story seems a little confusing and I did lose my way at times, but then again, this one was so packed with action, it was hard to ponder the finer points of the plot.  So again, another 2009 summer event movie that knocks Transformers 2 out of the water, and hopefully a sequel is already in the pipeline!

Verdict:  4 /5

P2 – Parking Level Two

Viewed – 18 Jan 2009  DVD

Ok this set up is as derivative as they come…a beautiful career girl, working late at the office becomes locked in the building as she attempts to leave on, wait for it – Christmas Eve!  A kindly parking attendant comes to her rescue, and soon she’s waiting in the lobby for her cab.  Yet shock – all the doors are locked and she can’t leave, so again she goes looking for said parking attendant, and suddenly falls victim to an unhinged psychopath – cue cat & mouse thrills mixed with some genuine scares and wince-inducing gore.

This at first seen it all before horror breaks out from similar straight to DVD fair by having a thoroughly believable performance from Rachel Nichols as the hunted heroine.  This girl sure knows how to look scared!  But thankfully she also has enough brass-balls to be more than a match for said psychopath.  There’s some great moments, some eye catching camera work and a genuinely unnerving atmosphere.  Making this one of those horrors you’ll have never heard of, thats actually worth picking up.

Verdict:  3 /5