G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 

You can probably tell by the subtitle of this movie that at least one sequel is in the planning stages already. You can also tell that, like "Transformers," the film is inspired by a line of toys. You also know whether or not you want to see it. If you do, you should; if you don't, I'm not going to change your mind.

"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" is directed by Stephen Sommers ("The Mummy," "Van Helsing") who is one-fourth of the most hated quartet of contemporary American filmmakers, along with Brett Ratner, Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich.

Why? Because their movies are big crowd-pleasers full of sound and fury that signify nothing but huge popcorn sales. A lot of people would avoid "G.I. Joe" because of Sommers' involvement. I say the flick would have been better had he been involved more.

Sommers is also a writer, and his scripts for "The Mummy" and "Deep Rising" are a lot of fun. Scribbling for "Joe" was provided by Stuart Beattie ("Australia," "30 Days of Night"), David Elliot and Paul Lovett ("Four Brothers"), and they don't capture the goofy fun with which Sommers enlivens his screenplays.

As it is, "Joe" is a bombastic entertainment, eye candy with some spectacular special effects "? although it is already beaten by the trailer for Emmerich's "2012." If you go see Sommers' latest, do you need a brain? Yes, but only to find your way back to your car when it's over.

I guess you want to know a little about the plot? I'm trying to remember if it had one. Oh, yeah, Duke (Channing Tatum, "Fighting") and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans, "Dance Flick") are special ops soldiers on a mission to deliver something to Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid, "The Express"), but it is almost taken away from them by Duke's ex-girlfriend, Ana (Sienna Miller, "Stardust"). She's the obligatory bad girl in hot black leather. Insert your own "worth the price of admission" joke here.

So Duke joins Hawk's team led by another attractive female "? the good one "? Scarlett (Rachel Nichols, "Star Trek"), and the rest of the movie is taken up by Bad Guys, led by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo, "Blood Diamond") and his minion, Dr. Mindbender (Kevin J. O'Connor, "There Will Be Blood"); stealing the MacGuffin; and Good Guys getting it back again. Chase. Explosion. Destruction of Eiffel Tower for the second time this summer. (Do we really hate the French, or what?) It all concludes when one of the villains takes the place of the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce, "Bedtime Stories"). What is the real nature of his evil plan?

To be continued.

It's an old-fashioned Saturday matinee serial writ large. You don't have to feel embarrassed by enjoying this kind of movie as long as you don't try to convince your friends that it would make an ideal topic for a doctoral dissertation. Having fun with a Sommers movie doesn't disqualify you from pondering the meaning of Bergman and Fellini any more than your taste for fine wine will be corrupted by a cold beer. Just add a hot dog to the beer and kick back.

"?Doug Bentin

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