G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

  • Review Date: August 6, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Too violent for kids, too childish for grown-ups.
  • Review Date: August 6, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the movie theoretically promotes the concept of international cooperation to defeat threats, any true positive takeaway is neutralized by the movie's total divorce from reality and nonstop violent mayhem.

Positive role models

Duke and the other G.I. Joes are depicted as hard-fighting-yet-sensitive warriors who are focused on their mission and protecting one another. Their Cobra enemies are painted as wholly villainous (no complex bad guys here!).

Violence

Constant extreme -- though generally bloodless -- action violence. A man has a white-hot metal mask affixed to his face. Characters are shot, decapitated, and stabbed and slashed with swords and throwing stars. Characters fight both hand-to-hand and with firearms, and there are intense martial arts sequences. People fall from great heights. Planes, ships, and other vehicles fire on each other with a plethora of weapons and missiles. Lots of general mayhem and destruction. In flashback, children engage in brutal violence involving frying pans, flames, martial arts weapons, and more. A child murders a teacher -- it's off-screen, but the body is seen. Surgical imagery.

Sex

Some kissing, cleavage, and discussion of "touching."

Language

Some strong language, including "s--t," "bastards," "piss," "a--holes," "damn," "hell," "bitch," "crap," "goddamn," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism

The film is based on a cartoon series that itself was based on a toy line (and the movie was actually co-produced by Hasbro, which makes those toys), so you could argue that the whole thing is an exercise in product placement. Other brands visible or mentioned include Hummer, Mercedes-Benz, Double Bubble, and Cisco.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A super-soldier serum lets people "feel no pain" and has implied adddictive and narcotic effects.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this relentless action adventure inspired by the '80s cartoon/toy line is filled with extreme (albeit minimally bloody/gory) violence. Kids will want to see it because they're the ones who play with the toys, but there's no end to the parade of characters who are slashed, stabbed, shot, or dispatched in various other ways. (Unlike in the similarly inspired Transformers movies, most of the victims here are people, not machines). There's also a lot of potentially scary medical imagery -- needles, scalpels, painful-looking procedures, and more -- and some intermittent strong language (including "s--t"). Hasbro, the company that makes G.I. Joe toys, co-produced the movie -- meaning that the story doesn't contain product placement so much as the product placement contains a story.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Set in a hypothetical near-future, G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA pits a multinational, best-of-the-best fighting force ("the Joes") against a high-tech, highly motivated terrorist group intent on shattering civilization with nanotechnology-based armaments that can devour metal nearly instantly. As Duke (Channing Tatum) -- the Joes' newest recruit -- gets closer and closer to the evil plotters, he realizes that one of them, the amoral Baroness (Sienna Miller), is actually his long-lost ex-fiancee.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Combining the globe-trotting style of modern techno thrillers and the cartoony, bloodless, high-tech look of modern effects blockbusters with an unhealthy dose of '80s nostalgia for the original cartoon, G.I. Joe feels like it's trying -- incredibly hard -- to be all things to all people. And so it fails to be anything to anyone. Tatum tries to invest his between-fights dialogue with emotional meaning and sincerity, but it's like trying to stuff vitamins into cotton candy -- futile and messy.

Director Stephen Sommers proved that he could craft decent PG-13 action with the Mummy films; he also proved, with Van Helsing, that he can let his love of effects triumph over the storytelling required to make a real film. Many (infact, almost all) of G.I. Joe's effects-heavy action sequences have the plastic, weightless, meaningless computer-generated emptiness of a video game. And while the costumed, code-named, stylized characters are faithful to the original cartoon, they aren't especially engaging or real beyond their fidelity to the source material. Too cartoony and childish for grown-up action fans and too violent and grisly for kids, G.I. Joe is an action film whose glossy shine is matched only by its glib cynicism.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Despite dozens of on-screen deaths, the movie earned a PG-13 rating -- do you think that's accurate? Do bloodless deaths have less impact than gorier ones?

  • It's also worth talking about the consumerism side of things. What do kids make of the fact that this is a movie based on a line of toys? Is the movie's goal to sell more toys? If not, what is it?

  • Why do you think the movie takes a fantasy-oriented approach to both violence and terrorism? Does it make those issues any less scary?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 19, 2010
DVD release date:November 3, 2009
Cast:Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller
Director:Stephen Sommers
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout

This review of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byperfectionist December 19, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Good movie; get's a little stupid at parts. For tweens and up

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old July 9, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byJamesFord92 November 13, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
It's pretty violent through out, but none of it is done any sort of a realistic way, so most kids in the 11-13 age range can probably handle it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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