G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a 2009 action movie directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy Trilogy and Van Helsing), based on the G.I. Joe franchise by Hasbro. The story follows two soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), part of a squad which gets ambushed while delivering four hi-tech warheads by an enemy deploying radically advanced weapons, vehicles and ground troops. To Duke's surprise, one of the assailants is his ex-girlfriend Ana, now going as "The Baroness" (Sienna Miller). Duke and Ripcord are saved from the attack by an secret elite squad of soldiers called G.I. Joe, who take over the warhead mission.Duke was already a candidate for joining the team and with his refusal to pass the warhead mission on to someone else, they let the duo join the team. Unfortunately, their enemy is persistent and managed to complete their mission of stealing the warheads, planning to use it against Paris and other major cities. The only lead they have is Duke's familiarity with The Baroness, and tracking down The Mastermind behind this worldwide terrorist organization.Was followed by a sequel in March 2013, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.Has a Character Page.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra provides examples of the following tropes:
The Ace: Scarlett is so used to being one of the best that she takes any failure much harder than anyone else.
Ace Pilot: Ripcord, despite supposedly being U.S. Army Special Forces rather than a pilot (Handwaved early on by a mention of him scoring really high in a flight training program, and wanting all along to go into the Air Force). He's even openly referred to as "Ace" once or twice by other characters.
It's worth noting that the Big Bad goes by 'the Doctor' before being outed as Cobra Commander.
Storm Shadow puts his swords together into a double-sided staff thing when fighting Snake Eyes at the end. Snake Eyes is played by Ray Park, who did Darth Maul, who was armed with a double-sided lightsabre staff.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Used as a motto by the Joes. Seen on a wall of The Pit at one point. Sadly lacking a PSA at the end of the credits, though. And, someone FINALLY asks what the other half is: 50% knowing, 25% red lasers, 25% blue lasers.
Artistic License - Physics: The polar base is destroyed, and the ice cap above sinks into water. While it's mentioned that it's been laced with steel, a few chunks are pure ice...
A-Team Firing: A notable aspect of the original animated TV series, averted utterly here.
Awesome but Impractical: The powered suits in the Paris chase scene. They can't catch up with a vehicle that is weaving through heavy traffic. After the chase, they can't even properly catch up with two people on foot.
Badass: Almost everyone, but especially Zartan, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow.
Cobra's Neo-Vipers would be this if they had the numbers (only 26 were made at the time of the movie, though there appear to be more). The "More than 26" part was because the Vipers (normal soldiers) and the Neo-Vipers look the same (Neo-Vipers have metal color chest armour while Vipers are all black, and in the game blue, like they should be).
Badass Longcoat: Snake Eyes has one, Storm Shadow has one, and the Baroness wears one in Paris.
Badass Normal: Snake-Eyes in particular (Storm Shadow is his Cobra counterpart), specifically when dealing with the Neo-Vipers. In the Paris chase he manages to do a lot more to try and stop Storm Shadow and Ana than his teammates in Powered Armor. All without having anything special besides a gun and his sword.
McCullen's master plan is actually a pretty good one, to create global fear of terrorism so the entire world will seek unifying leadership from the most powerful man on the planet. Duke wrongly assumes that McCullen delusionally thinks he's that man. Nope, it's the President of the United States, who's really McCullen's man Zartan.
Cobra Commander's was even better: he was planning on the larger scheme failing so he could take over McCullen's position as leader and form MARS into COBRA. With Zartan impersonating the President this basically gives the United States to him.
Averted, momentarily. Scarlet takes a metal pan to the face, and it actually bruises her and leaves scratches, for one scene only. Next we see her, it's like she's had weeks of recovery, or very heavy makeup for a girl who has no interest in physical attraction.
Averted again later after the train crash. The Baroness and Storm Shadow both have head wounds, and seem dazed. They are fully healed by the time they get back to their base, but they might have had high-tech first aid kits in their vehicle.
Bloodless Carnage: Despite a body count the size of a small town you can count on one hand how many times you see blood in this movie. Maybe everyone in the Joeverse bleeds an invisible liquid mixture of Rule of Cool+Awesomeness.
Presumably, the rest of the Neo Vipers as well to some degree (although most were presumably already M.A.R.S. Industries mooks in the first place). Neo-Vipers are brainwashed, feel no pain, have a minor healing factor, etc.; as Cobra Commander stated, the normal Vipers have Baroness level of brainwashing.
Zartan, for his part, is Genre Savvy enough to casually smash his control chip just before implantation.
Break the Haughty: Apparently what happened in Storm Shadow's backstory, what with his being surpassed by some random street-kid and their teacher being a wonderful example of a "Well Done, Son!" Guy. This is well in accordance with several previous versions of their backstory, though the Old Master is sometimes Stormy's uncle.
Chameleon Camouflage: The Joe's stealth suit.note It's active camouflage, a type of stealth that's being researched right now. Nothing that can be mass produced yet, but possible in "the near future".
Charles Atlas Superpower: Most of the Joes are pretty impressive, but Snake Eyes takes the cake. He does more during the Paris chase scene than the rest of his team combined (including catching up to Baroness' Humvee on foot... faster than his teammates in Powered Armor and a motorcycle.
Baroness, a strong female villain, is reduced to being nothing more than a love interest who is bandied about between Destro, her husband who her brother and Destro forced her to marry just to steal his research, and Duke. Not to mention the BS that is the reveal that she was never on their side of her own volition, and that her brother had used nanites to brainwash her into becoming evil.note Baroness was actually brainwashed at first in one continuity (at least); it just so happens when it wore off nobody noticed because she liked Destro enough to stay.
Cool Shades / Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Baroness never forgets hers... even after a train collision. She also wears them at night, but that is justified by their high-tech use: they double as night-goggles.
The opening shows the U.S. Army stands no chance of winning against Cobra and its technology, the bullets from their rifles pinging off mook armor while they're torn apart by "pulse weapons". They can even ignore grenades exploding next to them without breaking their stride.
Darker and Edgier: The original animated series was known for elements such as A-Team Firing, as the members of the Joes were shown to be fair fighters who never killed anyone. Scarlet's body count alone (including several Cobra soldiers taking crossbows in the eyes) is enough to demonstrate the darker and edgier direction of the live-action film. (Though it should be noted the animated and comic book franchise had already moved in this direction prior to this film.)
Dark Is Not Evil / Light Is Not Good: Storm Shadow is the ninja in white, and a Cobra-aligned terrorist; the silent black ninja is a Joe and a damn good one. Although Storm Shadow also is shown to be one of the few on the side of Cobra with a moral code (he doesn't kill women or children and is angry when Zartan does so).
Deceptive Disciple / Green-Eyed Monster: Storm Shadow, annoyed that his position as his master's best student got usurped by a street urchin who came in to steal food. May turn out to be subverted, if the sequel follows the novel.
Designated Girl Fight: A rather brutal example involving Baroness, Scarlett, a chain, a screwdriver, and a pan of motor oil. The motor oil is only used to defeat the "invisibility suit" though. Played with in that Scarlett is wearing BDUs instead of, say, her workout clothes, and Baroness hits her in the face with the pan.
Dirty Coward: Zartan, especially when he knifes Cover Girl in the back.
Dramatic Gun Cock: During the raid on the pit, Duke has the Baroness and Storm Shadow at gunpoint; when the Baroness approaches him, he thumbs back the hammer on his 1911, which means, up to that point, it was incapable of firing.
Dual Tonfas: Snake Eyes uses these when fighting Storm Shadow as a child in the backstory. And again with bladed tonfas to defeat Storm Shadow at the movie's climax.
Even Evil Has Standards: Storm Shadow is a ruthless assassin, but refuses to kill women — and is disgusted by Zartan's murder of Cover Girl.
Every Car Is a Pinto: There are ample cars blowing up in the Parisian chase scene. Partially justified, in that some of them were blown up by missiles launched from Cobra's modified Hummer (although how they managed to fit those missile racks in the doors is beyond us) and others were shot with the roof-mounted pulse cannon.
Evil Sounds Deep: The Doctor's voice is one part crazy snake and two parts Darth Vader, and he even manages to drop it an octave lower when he upgrades to Cobra Commander.
Eye Scream: Because of their body armor, the best way to kill Viper Commandos (from the opening battle) or Neo-Vipers is through the eye cover of their helmets. Snake-Eyes and Scarlett are particularly proficient at this, but Duke gets one too.
Faceless Goons: The Vipers wear full-face masks that cover everything but their eyes.
Family-Unfriendly Violence: Similar to the live-action Transformers films, the film has plenty of it. Case in point, a majority of characters are killed by having their heads shot or blown off. Not graphic of course, but still.
Fanservice: The scene with the Joes working out. All of the men are shirtless, and Scarlett is in a sports bra and track pants. Storm Shadow strips off his shirt during his second fight with Snake Eyes.
Fatal Family Photo: The Baroness makes Duke promise that he'll take care of brother and not let him get hurt. He is of course killed, and is her Start of Darkness. Subverted, he didn't actually die.
Fighting from the Inside: The Baroness was apparently the only person to ever fight off the nanomites' brainwashing at all.
Flashback: Quite a few, detailing the relationships and origins of basically everyone.
For Science!: The reason Rex turns evil and does not reveal to his sister that he survived. Cobra Commander even gives "science requires sacrifice" (or words to that effect) as his explanation for his actions.
Gatling Good: Heavy Duty's weapons and the Delta-6 "Accelerator Suit" powered armors. Heavy Duty describes the Delta's gatlings as gatling sub-machine guns that fire at 50 rounds a second, presumably with an internal magazine with thousands of rounds.
Destro's ancestor finds out the hard way that the French are not falling for the My Death Is Just the Beginning trap and decide to make an example of him by forcing a red hot metal mask on his face. Unfortunately for them, shoving red-hot metal around his face is clearly going to kill him.
Cobra Commander is planning on the evil scheme that he supports failing.
Hero Insurance: Somewhere between this and a "Get out of Jail Free" Card. During the Paris escapade the Joes cause minimal damage compared to the Baroness and Storm Shadow (a few yards of pavement, a train window and a few dozen cars). General Hawk is able to get them freed from the Paris Police but the French give the team involved a permanent travel ban as a "thank you for saving our most famous city" present. Of course, to a large degree they were enacting a Godzilla Threshold; stopping them was more important than a few million dollars of property damage.
Storm Shadow. Because nobody will ever notice a dude in a blinding white terrycloth ninja outfit...
Snake Eyes all the way during a mission to Paris. Black-clad hight-tech ninja on the crowded sunny streets?
Hoist by His Own Petard: More of a "Hoist By Their Own Petard" version; Duke activates the tracking beacon so the Joes can find Destro's base, just like Destro did so the Baroness' strike team could find the pit.
Hologram: A device projects a holographic image for visioconferences many time in the movie. Notably of General Hawk at the beginning.
Hollywood Healing: Scarlett's face, badly battered by a brutal beating from the Baroness, is magically all better in time for the next big action set-piece.
Identical Grandson: Averted here, but not through design. Irish actor David Murray was originally cast to play Destro but could not take the role due to problems with his visa. He only had time to play the McCullen ancestor from the beginning of the film before his visa expired. Christopher Eccleston ended up playing the role of the modern McCullen/Destro, and while he and Murray look somewhat similar, they at least aren't clones of each other.
Implacable Man: The Neo-Vipers, at least until the Joes figure out how to put them down quicker (really big guns help).
Impossibly Cool Weapon: Scarlett's crossbow. It has two bows, one on top of the other, like a double-barreled shotgun. It has fourLaser Sights. It has a hi-def camera to allow you to target specific body parts. Its arrows are somehow guided using the camera and onboard computers. The arrows also explode.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Quite literally as Scarlett's crossbow has the ability to take video of her opponent, and from that image is able to select where she wants the target to be hit, so that no matter what she aims at, it will hit that exact spot on the target. She doesn't even have to aim in the right direction; they're rocket-powered arrows!
Incendiary Exponent: During Cobra's assault on the Joes, a random Viper gets set on fire in the background and continues as normal. He dies when he reappears, because they stick a grenade in his neck guard.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Ripcord and Duke pull off some pretty awesome stuff in their Alpha 6 Accelerator Suits. Snake-Eyes, pulls off the same and/or more awesome stunts, without them. The audience doesn't question that because he's a goddamn Ninja.
Interrogating the Dead: Breaker can download images from a dead guy's brain to his palm pilot with the help of a pair of knitting needles.
Ironic Echo: "This will only hurt a little. What comes next... more so." First said by Dr. Mindbender to a test subject, then by Rex to McCullen.
Just Between You and Me: Lampshaded and partially subverted. While Duke is being taken in for Viper conversion, he tries to grill McCullen on his master plan. McCullen sees through the attempt and indulges him anyway, but leaves the critical detail out to avoid spoiling the surprise.
Storm Shadow is slammed through a wall by Ripcord wearing an Accelerator Suit, which moves at least as fast as a car, and he comes out almost unscathed.
The Hummer from the Paris chase scene; it takes a crash against a tramway to stop it, and even then the body survives for the most part.
Male Gaze: The final poster of features all of the main characters, including The Baroness, but she is the only one facing the viewer, along with her body twisted in a Rob Liefield-style pose so her ass is as well. Then again, it's more or less in-character.
The crazy scientist performing illicit nanobot experiments happens to be named Dr. Mindbender.
Also Cobra Commander's real name is "Rex", which means "King"
Merchandise-Driven: The movie is sometimes only one step away from slapping "IN STORES NOW" on the bottom of the screen... which is perfectly in line with much of the G.I. Joe franchise.
Mighty Whitey: Anyone else notice that Snake Eyes, who is in the top percentile of his class, happens to be a white former street urchin? Amusingly, Snake Eyes being a white super-ninja comes directly from the comics, which were written by a Japanese-American. Well, at least Storm Shadow was Japanese-American too... Oddly, it seems in the movie version both of the top ninjas aren't Japanese, given that both actors for Storm Shadow are Korean; he even speaks Korean in the movie. And the actor who plays the younger Storm Shadow is Chinese American. So everyone but the Japanese are awesome ninjas. Good to know.
Mobstacle Course: The Joes use the Accelerator suits going through traffic chasing after Cobra, causing massive crunches in cars that get in the way and ending with them stopped cold on their backs a couple times.
Rex calls Duke "a real American hero" (as does Baroness in a commercial).
He wasn't born, he's Government Issue.
Let us not forget when Ripcord is being treated for injuries en route to the Pit, while hepped up on copious amounts of Morphine, he notes that Heavy Duty has "lifelike hair" and a "kung fu grip", both of which harken back to the original 1960s toyline.
Scarlett's apparel during the Paris chase matches her original orange-top dark blue-bottom getup, except she's wearing a jacket and jeans as opposed to a leotard and latex leggings.
Snake-Eyes suddenly lets go of the Baroness' SUV during the Paris chase:
The Baroness: He gave up. Storm Shadow: He nevergives up. (the SUV is suddenly blindsided by an oncoming train)
At one point General Hawk is restricted to a wheelchair.
As with Scarlett's "throwback" costuming in the Paris sequence, General Hawk's attire in the "final battle" sequence is a clear nod to his old action figure design (brown leather jacket, green BDU pants).
Breaker taking Duke's last bubblegum. Even though not stated for the movie version, in the comics bubblegum was Breaker's Trademark Favourite Food.
The video over the end credits is loaded with logos from various Joe sub-teams as well as classic Joe vehicle stickers.
The pin on McCullen's tie was designed to match the vintage Destro's pendant.
Snake-Eyes goes through numerous costume variations throughout the movie (the director's commentary points out many that'd be "blink and you miss it" otherwise). Snake-Eyes easily had the most different action figures in G.I. Joe's history.
Ninjas: Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, of course. The toyline adds in the Red Fang Ninjas (ninja mercenaries), the Night Creepers (different ninja mercenaries) and Kamakura (Snake-Eyes' apprentice). One of Duke's figures also included a ninja sword.
Nano Machines: Generally used for a lot of things such as brainwashing, making better soldiers, brainwashing those better soldiers, and trying to take over the world. AND killing cancer cells; we can't forget that since that's what McCullen says the nanomites were originally used for. Basically, they're the movie series all purpose Applied Phlebotinum. Much like futurists in real life.
Nigh Invulnerable: Apparently Cobra aircraft can withstand gatlings the military uses to destroy tanks without even a scratch.
N.G.O. Superpower: McCullen is able to afford his own personal army and outfit them with technology surpassing every other army on Earth. Given that he basically supplies every other army on Earth, that part at least is sensible.
The President of the United States has an English accent. Rather troublesome since to be eligible to run for President, you have to be born in the United States.note He only has to be a citizen by birth, and to have lived there for 14 years. Nothing about living anywhere else in the meantime.
Same with Channing Tatum as Duke. The character's backstory has him being from St. Louis (which would most likely give him a neutral Midwestern accent) but Tatum gives him a very New Orleans-type accent.
Offhand Backhand: While infiltrating the Pit, Storm Shadow casually kills a guard standing behind a pillar without looking at him or slowing down.
Oh Crap: When Snake Eyes unexpectedly drops out of the Paris car chase, The Baroness gloats "He gave up!" Cue Storm Shadow — "He never gives up." They get blindsided by a train.
Persona Non Grata: France does not appreciate it when Paris is torn half to pieces for an unsuccessful car case. French-Moroccan Breaker is devastated, while all the other characters' reactions can be summed up as "Wait, what?"
Pin-Pulling Teeth: Heavy Duty, before stuffing the grenade into an armored Cobra agent that's already on fire.
Plot Armor: The only possible explanation for the Baroness and Storm Shadow to survive their vehicle being hit by a train and catapulted, spinning 30 feet in the air and back down. While their driver dies they hop right out of the wreck and run a good distance.
Point Defenseless: Averted with the Cobra gunship, which shoots down several SAMs going for it.
Quickly Demoted Woman: Scarlett seems to be afflicted with a version of this. Despite being a (supposedly) brilliant, highly capable operative and well-respected, long-standing member of G.I. Joe, her role in the film is almost entirely limited to serving to enable new recruit Ripcord's various exploits. And, in fairness, shooting guys in the face with exploding bolts from her crossbow.
After The Reveal, the Commander and Destro are promptly captured. Despite Ana breaking free of her mind control, she's still under arrest until they can figure out how to get the nanites out.
Also, both times the Joes save a city, they're arrested immediately afterward for freaking out the cops with supertech antics. The French make it clear that they'd rather have lost Paris than been rescued by the Joes. Zartan didn't seem confident enough in his POTUS disguise to pull anything similar, so he pays off Ripcord's Hero Insurance and sends him back to The Pit.
Red Shirt: Most notable is the guard at The Pit who first witnesses the mole tunnelers arrive. He is not only visibly surprised but doesn't sound the alarm, just nervously levels his gun at them. Yep, G.I. Joe, only recruiting the A-list commandos.
Red Shirt Army: Unnamed Joes and other support staff don't fare too well during Cobra's attack on The Pit.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: General Hawk first subverted his orders by telling the team that they could violate the spirit of the orders without technically violating the letter and later launched an unsanctioned attack on Cobra's Arctic base after the organization was ordered disbanded.
Cobra Commander and Destro are captured, but man, the President knows a catchy tune. Not to mention Storm Shadow's Disney Villain Death. Critically wounded and falling into frozen ice in a collapsing base? Pshaw; he's a ninja.
On the DVD Commentary the filmmakers outright admit it, even very briefly mentioning a way to use Storm Shadow in the next movie.
The comic sequel, Operation HISS, shows that Storm Shadow survived his "death" in the movie.
The battle for the base is one long tribute to Star Wars. When the base's pulse canon first activates, it strongly resembles the Death Star's firing sequence. Duke and Baroness' escape from the exploding tunnel is almost frame for frame Lando's escape from the exploding Death Star II. The entire underwater melee has strong Return of the Jedi echoes.
Smart Ball: Ripcord figuring out the transmitter was still on. Of course, anyone could've realized the only person who's messed with the transmitter since its deactivation was McCullen. Ripcord just figured it out faster.
Something Only They Would Say: Zartan is quite fond of whistling the tune to "Jolly Good Fellow". When the man we think is the President comes out of the bunker, he goes into his office, relaxes and begins whistling. No prizes for guessing the tune.
Ripcord's amorous designs on Scarlett tend to come off as being this, despite most likely being meant to be charmingly goofy.
Destro has this sort of relationship with the Baroness. Unlike traditional versions of the romance where it's entirely consensual, he seems very interested in the current one despite her showing only marginal interest in return. He even has her husband killed for touching her. However, he also knows she's mind controlled.
Straw Vulcan: Scarlet, little miss "If it's not quantifiable, it doesn't exist. Therefore emotions aren't real." Yeah, because that makes sense. Although conceivably she just said it to rebuff Ripcord, who was hitting on her at the time. Considering that she had tried to pretend she was busy seconds earlier, that was probably just the next level.
Super Soldier: The Neo-Vipers stroll through massed assault rifle fire without any apparent ill effect, and one even continues on as normal even after being set on fire. More or less you have to shoot them in the eye (the only part without armour) or use anti-tank weapons to kill one. At the very least with Joe tech, aim for the head.
Super Window Jump: Performed by Strom Shadow during the last parts of the Paris chase.
(Duke runs through the building in this powered armor)
Tempting Fate: This film offers a classic example of an enemy who appears to be retreating, but is actually just getting out of the way of something worse. At the climax of the rather lengthy Paris chase scene, Snake Eyes abruptly lets go of the Cobra operatives' car after hanging on to it for the entire chase.
Baroness: He gave up!
Storm Shadow: He never gives up.
WHAM! [their car gets brutally T-boned by an oncoming train]
Testosterone Poisoning: McCullen notes that with the fate of the world at stake, he and Duke can still get into a spat over Ana's affections.
Too Dumb to Live: The fatal flaw of the Neo-Vipers. The loss of their self-preservation instincts might make them determined, but it also makes them much more likely to make fatal mistakes.
Trademark Favorite Food: Both Duke and Breaker. Tatum's kicked-puppy-dog face when Breaker asks for his last piece of Double-Bubble is hilarious. Breaker's doubles as a Mythology Gag.
Trailers Always Lie: The trailers painted McCullen as Big Bad, which he was, so most people assumed he would be Cobra Commander. He wasn't.
Trailers Always Spoil: Despite being played as a high-tension race against the villains, everyone already knows that the Joes do not prevent the attack on the Eiffel Tower. In fact, most of the plot twists were in the trailers or promo clips.
Visual Pun/Stealth Pun: The Doctor injects McCullen with nanomites to repair severe burns in his face, which turns silver, and right away the nanomites allowed the Doctor to control McCullen's, or Destro's, mind. Hence, the Doctor "regenerated" the Ninth Doctor.
The Voiceless: Snake Eyes, although his reason for being so is different than other continuities. While he's usually rendered mute by an injury, in the film it's mentioned he took a vow of silence after Storm Shadow apparently killed their master. Originally, the end of the movie was going to have him speak to tell a joke, but it was cut, probably for the best.
Water Is Air: While not obvious, the effects of particles in the underwater fight scene moved very much like they were in air, not accounting for the difference in density, especially in cold water. In fact, the speed at which it moved was comparable to that in air.
Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Duke to the Baroness. Occurs so many times it almost crosses over into Wouldn't Hit a Girl. The Baroness does the same to Duke as well. Granted, the two used to be massively in love. Heavy Duty, on the other hand, has absolutely no excuse for what happens near the beginning of the movie (apparently the Baroness was unarmed at the time, but that really doesn't count for much in the middle of a shootout, especially when she's escaping with the multi-billion dollar mission objective). To be fair, it was a weapon of mass destruction. Remember the comment by the scientist to avoid potholes?
What Measure Is a Mook?: Vipers and Neo Vipers are mind controlled drones. Granted the Joes don't know about this, but combined with Destro's plan for Duke who is to say he is the first unwilling recruit?
Your Head Asplode: Along with Eye Scream, one of the best way to dispatch Viper Commandos or Neo-Vipers. Scarlett's exploding arrow went through a Viper Commando's eye before blowing his head up, and Heavy Duty jams a grenade in a Neo-Viper's neck guard to do away with his head. OWCH. During the Paris chase, Scarlett targets an unarmored Neo-Viper in the head too, suggesting this is her preferred M.O.