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G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Boom Boom Pow. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Don't go expecting an escapist night at the movies; go expecting to be cudgeled into numb, drooling submission.

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  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    After nearly two hours of nonstop mayhem, the film ends on a surprisingly muted note, though pains have been taken to make sure that the hoped-for sequel has been carefully set up.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Chock full of high-tech action, with a lot of chasing and shooting and explosions.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    G.I. Joe may not be beefier, but it’s cheesier and less aggravating than "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," the summer ’09 headbanger it most resembles.

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  • See all G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Too violent for kids, too childish for grown-ups.

What 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.

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    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.

  • rolemodels true2

    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!).

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    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 false2

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

  • language false3

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

  • consumerism false5

    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.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A super-soldier serum lets people "feel no pain" and has implied adddictive and narcotic effects.