The Movie Non-Review: 'GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra'

Sometimes, a film defies conventional narrative and artistic standards so utterly that it seems unfair to judge it by them. G.I. Joe is such a case, a movie that has, through its own inverse accomplishment, earned the right to speak for itself. Consider this a tone poem in 40 scraps of dialogue:

You don't ask to be a part of G.I. Joe. You get asked.

If you're going to shoot something, kill it. Otherwise take up knitting.

The Joes will never know what hit them.

General Hawk is stable now, but he won't be conscious for another day or two.

She was a blonde then.

You have to promise me you will not let my genius egghead little brother get hurt.

I didn't want anyone to see me like this.

I have a target in mind, one the French will never forget.

Got your gum?

Hey, the weapons case.

It's going to be a long five minutes.

No, no, no. It's too early. It's too early.

Technically, G.I. Joe does not exist.

Who says you're not a thinker?

Is that Double Bubble? Yes it is, but it's my last piece.

You in or out? We gotta get in this fight.

Maybe they're not trying to escape. Maybe they're heading somewhere ... somewhere with a lot of metal.

Crush him!

That redhead is really starting to piss me off.

We're running out of time. You've got to do something. It's now or never.

Whoa.

Hey guys. They're alive. And they're on the move. And they have the warhead.

Is that blood? Spaghetti sauce. Don't ask.

The brain survives a couple of minutes after death.

The French have agreed to let you all go, provided you agree never to return. Ever.

I am sorry. I'm sorry about Rex. I'm sorry I couldn't bring Rex home. And I'm sorry I couldn't face you afterwards.

Enough!

It's funny. With the entire balance of power about to shift in the world, two guys can still have a stare-down about who gets the girl.

I have something I have to do that goes against all orders.

That's a Night Raven. They actually built one.

You son of a bitch! Anna buried you!

If we live, I'll show you everything.

Now you'll know what it's like to be a monster.

Deploy the sharks!

Please hurry, Mr. President. We need to get you buttoned up.

Wait, McCullen is Scottish. Maybe the plane responds to Celtic.

When our master was killed you took a vow of silence. Now you will die without a word.

Kill them. Kill all the Joes. Detonate the ice pack.

The time has come for Cobra to rise up and reveal himself.

You and what army? My army.

Heavy Duty thinks you guys should hang around permanently.

This post originally appeared at TNR.com.

Presented by

Christopher Orr is a senior editor and the principal film critic at The Atlantic. He has written on movies for The New Republic, LA Weekly, Salon, and The New York Sun, and has worked as an editor for numerous publications.

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