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Film / G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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Real American Heroesnote 

"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

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a 2009 action movie directed by Stephen Sommers, 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 that gets ambushed during an escort of four hi-tech warheads by an enemy with radically advanced weapons, vehicles and ground troops. To Duke's surprise, one of the assailants is his ex-fiancee 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 previous candidate for joining the team, and with his refusal to pass on the warhead mission to the Joes, they let the duo join the team after he reveals his connection to the Baroness. Unfortunately, their enemy is persistent and manages 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.

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.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Arnold Vosloo as Zartan, a master of disguise. Also after the attack on the Pit, Zartan strolling off wearing mid-eastern garb could easily be a callback to another of his stand-out roles.
    • Also, McCullen was "regenerated" into Destro.
    • 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.
  • Ace Custom: The Night Raven, a Mach 6-capable super stealth fighter Ripcord hijacks from the Cobra base to chase down the missiles fired at Moscow and Washington.
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  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Scarlett
  • Adaptational Nationality: Because G.I. Joe is changed from an American organization to a multi-national one, several characters have their nationalities changed:
    • Heavy Duty is changed from an American to a Briton.
    • Breaker is changed from American to Moroccan.
    • Baroness is changed from a French-German aristocrat to an American married into the aristocracy.
    • Zartan is changed from an American to an Amoral Afrikaner.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Baroness forces a woman out of an elevator at gunpoint. Then casually compliments her choice of footwear.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Cobra's siege of the Joes' underground Egypt headquarters, "The Pit".
  • 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 – Geography: Given that the heavy traffic tips the Joes off that the Humvee is deliberately heading for the Eiffel Tower, they're not exactly taking the direct route. They head north-west from the Arc de Triomphe, when they should be heading about two kilometres directly south. They're then seen driving past Notre Dame (on the south side of the river, a good five kilometres to the east), at the Palais Garnier (less east, but a good kilometre north of the river), and then going past the Musée d'Orsay and Louvre (in completely the wrong direction, heading back towards Notre Dame...)
    • The editing team have actually digitally painted out the Eiffel Tower from that last shot, as the top of the tower is visible over the Musée - and in fact, there are a few frames where it does reappear for a brief moment after they pass a tree.
  • 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...
  • Attack Backfire: A literal version.
  • A-Team Firing: A notable aspect of the original animated TV series, averted utterly here.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Stephen Sommers certainly seems to enjoy filming two women beating the stuffing out of each other...
    • Stephen Sommers claimed that the MARS base was set underwater as a homage to his favorite film, Thunderball.
  • 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 Army:
    • The Joes.
    • 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 Biker: Babe: Scarlett
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Storm Shadow is probably the best-dressed person in the film.
    • McCullen deserves notice, too, as his suit is fan-TAS-tic.
  • 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.
  • The Baroness: Guess who?
  • Batman Gambit
    • 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.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished
    • 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.
  • Big Damn Heroes: More than once.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
    • The Baroness, as it turns out.
    • 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 smart 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.
  • The Cameo: Brendan Fraser plays Sgt. Stone in a brief scene involving a spar between Duke and Snake-Eyes.
  • Canon Character All Along: Destro's M.A.R.S. armaments company is the main villain, but the members are the usual members of Cobra (The Baroness, Storm Shadow, Zartan, etc). The only Canon Foreigner is the Doctor...or is he Dr. Mindbender? At the end of the film, the Doctor reveals that he is taking control of M.A.R.S. and turning it into Cobra with himself as Commander. Yes, the Doctor is Cobra Commander.
  • Captain Obvious: "Damn, that ninja's fast."
  • Capture and Replicate: This was Cobra's plot when they used agents in the President's Secret Service detail to capture him so that Zartan can shape his physical appearance after him and use his name to accuse the Joes of being rogue agents in Retaliation.
  • Car Fu: That Hummer2 is deadly.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Joe's stealth suit.note 
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: the tracking device on the warheads' suitcase.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The flames device is seen a couple of times being used to burn things for no apparent reason before it scorches off the Big Bad's face.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Doctor states that 20 Neo-Vipers have been created and 19 were present in their base. The 20th is said to be in Washington, and is later revealed to be in the Secret Service.
  • Chickification
    • A mild example with Baroness, who despite initially seeming to be a strong antagonist loyal to M.A.R.S and resentful of Duke, is ultimately made out to be a pawn thanks to 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. The Power of Love basically snaps her out of her brainwashing, instigating a full-fledged Heel–Face Turn, and she ultimately does her bit to kick the asses of her former employers while escaping with Duke.note 
    • Scarlett survives more-or-less intact, but Cover Girl (ex-model turned tank driver turned spy) gets reduced to being Hawk's assistant and killed without being given a chance to defend herself. (In CG's case, it's explained in the prequel novel that she had been critically injured on a mission and was no longer physically capable of being a field operative.)
  • Cool Boat: Cobra...
  • Cool Plane: ...has some very nice toys.
  • 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.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After Baroness's failure to retrieve the warheads, Storm Shadow tells McCullen he should have sent him instead. So McCullen sends him to retrieve it from G.I. Joe's base.
  • Creator Cameo: Larry Hama as a NATO general.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: 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.
  • Cute Mute: L'il Snake Eyes.
  • Cutting the Knot: How Snake Eyes deals with a control panel, as Breaker is trying to tell him how to disable it, then after the fact finishes helplessly with, "...Or you could just stab it."
  • Dark Action Girl: Baroness
  • 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).
  • Dating Catwoman: Duke and the Baroness.
  • Deadly Hug: A different take when Storm Shadow stabs The Baroness' husband while she's kissing him.
  • Death by Looking Up: Twice in the opening battle to Scarlett's arrows.
  • 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.
  • Diving Save / Suggestive Collision: Ripcord catches Scarlett when a pulse blast destroys her bike.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ripcord thinks he's this to Scarlett.
  • Dragon Their Feet: By the end of the movie, both Destro and Cobra Commander have been captured, but Zartan, who hasn't been around for the final battle, escaped justice and is now the President of the United States. Now wait for the sequel.
  • 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 firingnote .
  • 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.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Pit, and how! Cobra's Underwater Base too.
  • Elective Mute: Snake Eyes. 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.
  • 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.
  • Facial Recognition Software
  • Fakeout Opening: The film begins in 17th century France.
  • 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: Ana 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 as the Baroness. Subverted, he didn't actually die, and in fact abducted his sister in order to...accelerate her descent into evil. Drastically.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: James McCullen's medieval ancestor was expected to be executed for selling weapons to opposing nations, so he intended to be Defiant to the End. Instead, the French forced him to wear an iron mask for the rest of his life to Make an Example of Them.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flynning: And how!
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Scarlett, who seems to have one several times larger than her actual cup size.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Zartan's reading material when he's introduced makes a lot of sense given the ending.
    • "Construction of the presidential bunker has just been completed".
    • In one scene, The Doctor is fiddling around with an odd looking mask... his COMMANDER mask
    • The very first words the Doctor utters onscreen are "the King Cobra;" Fitting, since he's Cobra Commander.
    • At the beginning, Duke doesn't like talking about the Air Force, because the airstrike he ordered arrived too early and blew up the building Rex was in. It's unclear if he still feels this way even after learning that Rex survived.
  • Forklift Fu: Ripcord kills a Viper with a forklift.
  • Gainaxing: Scarlett. On a treadmill.
  • 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.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Baroness was blonde before she turned to evil, now she has black hair.
  • Grey Goo: The Nanomite warheads (technically Green Goo).
  • Guns Akimbo: Baroness seems fond of this. Although when using ballistic weaponry rather than scifi "pulse pistols" she realistically fires them two-handed.
  • Head Butt Of Love: Ripcord bumps his suit helmet on Scarlett's motorcycle helmet after his Diving Save.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Specifically, a High-Heel–Face Turn.
  • Healing Factor: A light version is used by the Cobra Elites. Works great against cobra venom, but not exploding heads or laser weaponry.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: As pointed out quite clearly, Ripcord was attracted to Scarlett.
  • 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.
  • Highly Visible Ninja
    • 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.
    • McCullen got his face burned trying to stop the Doctor from killing Ana and Duke for taking her back.
  • 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.
  • Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: Oh, boy, is there ever. So much so it only have been even a more clear imitation of Return of the Jedi if it had been in space.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Mind Control, Money and Sadism.
  • 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 McCullen's ancestor, the original Destro, for a short prologue before his visa expired. Christopher Eccleston was cast as the modern James McCullen/Destro in his place; while he and Murray look similar enough to pass as distant relatives, they certainly aren't clones of each other.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Several examples.
  • 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 four Laser 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.
  • 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.
    • "Science requires sacrifice" First McCullen to Mindbender, then later, Rex to McCullen.
  • It's Going Down: The Eiffel Tower and Cobra's base at the end of the film.
  • 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.
  • Karma Houdini: Zartan, who got away with killing Cover Girl, is the only Cobra member to escape justice by the end of the movie and has now become the President of the United States. Now wait for the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • Karmic Transformation: Destro
  • Katanas Are Just Better: That's some sword Snake Eyes has... Subverted later, when Storm Shadow breaks it in half, and Snake Eyes proceeds to use Bladed Dual Tonfas to take him apart.
  • Kill and Replace: What Zartan plans to do to the president. However, as revealed in the trailer of its sequel, Retaliation, he just replaces him and takes him prisoner
  • Large Ham
    • Well, they certainly got the right guy to play Cobra Commander. And Destro.
    • Honorable mention to Snake Eyes, who hams it up without speaking.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: The Cobra gunship demonstrates this.
  • Line in the Sand: General Hawk tells the Joes they've been ordered to stand down, but he's going to attack the Cobra base anyway and anyone who wants to leave can do so. Needless to say no-one does.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Scarlett claims she and Snake Eyes are like this, presumably as a way of Ship Sinking for any fans who know about their relationship in other continuities.
  • Look Both Ways: A Rule of Threes version in Paris, the first two times Played for Laughs. Ripcord gets hit by a car right after he promises not to harm his multi-million dollar Powered Armor, then Duke gets run over by the Hummer right after asking where the bad guys are, and the third involves the Hummer being hit by a train, causing the Joes to gape in astonishment.
  • Mad Scientist: Rex and Dr. Mindbender.
  • Made of Explodium: Most of Paris appears to be.
  • Made of Iron
    • 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.
  • Master of Disguise: Zartan
  • Meaningful Name
    • 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.
  • Mixed Metaphor: A non-native speaker of English tries to make a metaphor, is told they got it wrong, and corrects himself:
    Man: He's going to be hard to spot, like a needle in a coal mine.
    Joe: You mean, "haystack."
    Man: Right, sorry. He's going to be as hard to spot as a haystack in a coal mine.
  • 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.
  • Moe Greene Special: One of the ways to stop a Neo-Viper.
  • Mole in Charge: Zartan has replaced the US President at the end of the film.
  • Monumental Damage: The Eiffel Tower gets eaten by nanomites and falls on a bridge full of people.
  • Mooks: Naturally, Cobra has them.
  • More Than Mind Control: The Baroness.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: All the GI Joes were put in black spy catsuits for the movie, rather than each having a distinct, unique, and colorful military uniform as they have in other adaptations.
  • Multinational Team: They're real International Heroes, G.I. Joe is there!
  • Mythology Gag
    • General Hawk's "Knowing is half the battle!"
    • 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 never gives 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 Favorite 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.
    • Bazooka's red jersey can be seen in a display case in the PITT rec room.
  • 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.
  • Never My Fault: The Doctor never truly acknowledges Duke's protests that he could have ended Ana's emotional pain by revealing that he was her still-living brother, instead accusing Duke of abandoning her and causing that pain in the first place.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Joes (particularly Scarlett on her motorcycle) do an awful lot of damage and rank up the number of serious collisions in traffic while chasing down Cobra in Paris, France. Although, it's nothing compared to what Cobra does with the Eiffel Tower.
  • 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.
  • Non-Action Guy: Breaker. Scarlett and Snake Eyes are Storming The Control Room, bullets are flying everywhere, and what does he do? He's standing there calm as you please, fiddling with his Palm Pilot. (It's like he totally knows he has Character Shields or something.)
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent
    • 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 
      • Fortunately corrected (like many things) in the sequel, where he speaks with a southern drawl.
    • 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.
    • "So, that was your plan all along." The President's reaction upon seeing Zartan with his face who revealed that McCullen was the mastermind.
  • One-Way Visor
    • Snake Eyes
    • Mantis fighter sub pilots.
  • Outrun the Fireball
    • Inverted somewhat — Duke runs toward a building to save Rex from an impending airstrike, but is blown backward by the explosion.
    • Played straight during the escape by sub. Yes, underwater fireball.
  • Painful Transformation: Destro getting his metal face.
  • 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.
  • Powered Armor: The aforementioned Accelerator Suits.
  • Power Walk: Near the end. "Damn, we look badass."
  • President Evil: Zartan
  • Product Placement
    • Double Bubble, Norton AntiVirus, Cisco Systems, Chrysler, Hummer, Opel...
    • For Hasbro, the entire movie.
  • Race Lift:
    • The Japanese Storm Shadow is played by South Korean Lee Byung-hun.
    • Ripcord is played by the black Marlon Wayans (the original character and action figure is a red-headed white male.) Supposedly the original plan was for him to be Stalker.
    • To diversify the cast's international background, Heavy Duty went from a black African-American to a black British man, and Breaker became a French Moroccan.
  • 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.
  • The Reveal
    • "The time has come for the Cobra to rise. You will call me... ''Commander."'
    • "It's good to be back everyone!" Then he sits back down at the President's desk and whistles Zartan's "Jolly Good Fellow"..
    • The Doctor has a lot of these.
  • The Right Hand of Doom: The Gatling gun mentioned above is portable.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Hook
    • 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.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "They're going to use him to weaponize the warheads!" In this context, "activate" is what they're referring to, as the warheads are dormant until run through a particle accelerator.
  • Shooting Superman: An oddly realistic situation. Duke attempts to fire on the Hummer carrying The Baroness and Storm Shadow but fails to penetrate the thick armor plating with his wrist-mounted machine gun. Then Snake Eyes comes along...and attempts to do the same thing at close range with a handgun. If it wasn't going to succumb to a rifle caliber round, a pistol caliber round ain't gonna do it either...
  • Shoot Out the Lock: More like stab the lock. Snake Eyes doesn't think much of M.A.R.S.' security systems.
  • Shout-Out: Many
    • The underwater base is a James Bond homage.
    • 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.
    • When the pulse cannon fires, it makes the sound of programs "de-rezzing".
    • Strip the Night Raven down to bare metal and slap red stars on it, and you have Firefox. Including foreign-language-activated weapons.
    • And, of course, there's The Doctor regenerating as well.
    • Storm Shadow's the one using a double-bladed weapon in a reactor complex, which is funny given Snake Eyes' actor is the one that played Darth Maul.
    • Duke likes to kick ass and Chew Bubblegum. Right before the Paris chase, he runs out of gum.
    • The Eiffel Tower falls in much the same way you can make it fall in Twisted Metal 2
  • Sigil Spam: That M.A.R.S. logo is everywhere.
  • Silent Snarker: Snake Eyes, on occasion.
  • Sinister Whistling: Terrorist organisation Cobra operative Zartan whistles "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow," several times throughout the movie, including when he murdered Cover Girl and the ending where he replaces the President of the United States and takes over the White House.
  • 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.
  • Spoiled by the Merchandise: The action figures for the film include The Doctor. Not bad, except that they give his full name: Rex "The Doctor" Lewis.
  • Spy Catsuit: Both Scarlett and the Baroness. Pretty much everyone, actually.
  • Stalking Is Love
    • 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.
  • Standardized Leader: Duke, who comes off as rather flat compared to his more quirky teammates.
  • The Starscream: Cobra Commander. Quite fitting, actually.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome
    • 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 nanomites 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.
  • Take That!: "American politics. Governors, senators, congressmen. No wonder nothing ever gets done!"
  • 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.
  • There Was a Door
    "Cut through that building across the street!"
    "Where's the door?"
    "Make one!"
    (Duke runs through the building in this powered armor)
  • Title Drop: See The Reveal above.
  • 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.
  • Training Montage: Of course.
  • Uncle Tom Foolery: Averted. He may be the black sidekick, but Ripcord is still allowed to be a hero and have courage rather than just be the movie's comic relief.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted. At first it looks like Destro and Cobra Commander are going to do this, but Duke refuses to let them escape and catches them.
  • Villain Override: And with a dose of Cyanide Pill thrown in for good measure. Nanomites are fun.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Nanomites come in city eating Green Goo form or in Made of Iron / Mind Control injections.
  • Weaponized Car: The Baroness's Hummer.
  • Weapon Stomp: A Cobra Viper soldier steps on Scarlett's dropped pistol in the initial firefight.
  • Wham Line: See The Reveal.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: Nevermind your complicated bypassing of the security system, Breaker. Snake-Eyes can just do what he does best and stab it with a sword.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The device used to arm the nanomite warheads involved lots of spinning.
  • 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?
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl
    • Storm Shadow... but not Zartan!
    Storm Shadow: For you, Zartan, I make an exception.
    • Heavy Duty didn't say that he wouldn't, just that he would prefer not to.
    Heavy Duty: Don't make me shoot a woman.
  • You and What Army?: Used, for a change, by the bad guy... with predictable results.
  • You Killed My Father: The reason for Destro's targeting of Paris (see above).
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): GI Joe Rise Of Cobra


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