Director: Stephen Sommers Release Date: 07/08/09 Link: IMDB G.I. Blow: A real American Zero Michael Bay must be breathing a huge sigh of relief right now. That's because his “Transformers: Reverse of the Fallen” is no longer the worst movie of the year based on a 1980s animated series and Hasbro toy line. Nope, that designation now goes to the mind-numbingly atrocious “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Now before I go any further with this review, let's get one thing perfectly clear: Just the idea of a live action “G.I. Joe” film had the 7-year-old living inside me champing at the bit. I was part of the generation that grew up when “G.I. Joe” was at its height of popularity, and there wasn't a day that went by when I wasn't either glued to the television watching the cartoon or playing with the action figures in my basement, bathtub, sandbox or backyard. Heck, I even still have about 20 of the figurines and I plan to give them to my son as soon as he gets to the proper age. So basically, the point of this little trip down memory lane is to illustrate that I really wanted to fall in love with “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” - I honestly did. But as much as it hurts me to say it, director Stephen Sommers' movie is full of so many egregious flaws that I had to put the old cartoon on top of my Netflix queue list just so I could erase this horrible film version from my brain. Much like the '80s animated franchise, “The Rise of Cobra” follows the adventures of G.I. Joe, an elite military organization that uses intricate equipment to fight evil across the globe. Led by Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid), G.I. Joe - which consists of All-American Duke (charisma vacuum Channing Tatum), pilot Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), mute super-ninja Snake Eyes (Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace”), weapons expert Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), communications officer Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui) and the crossbow-wielding Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) - faces a new enemy when the world is introduced to a new type of missile that contains nanotechnology. Created by M.A.R.S. president James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston), the innovative warheads release a large number of material eating nanomites upon detonation, and when they land in hands of the sleek and sexy Baroness (Sienna Miller), ninja warrior Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), the identity-changing Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) and the mysterious Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), G.I. Joe must stop all the carnage before major cities are disintegrated. The one thing I will give Sommers (The first two “Mummy” movies and “Van Helsing”) credit for is at times he successfully depicts the goofiness and absurdity of “G.I. Joe” by including such things as secret underground lairs and high-powered jet packs. (Although the way he botched Cobra Commander's mask is reprehensible.) Who knows, maybe if this movie was released 25 years ago I could have enjoyed it. After all, “The Rise of Cobra” is essentially a cartoon itself seeing as it is completely overloaded with computer generated imagery. I have no quarrels with Sommers going that route, but he should've at least made sure the CGI did not look so amateur. With a movie like “The Rise of Cobra” you really need to suspend your disbelief in order to take the material seriously, and that's virtually impossible because the CGI looks like it was lifted straight from the “G.I. Joe” video game Nintendo released in 1991. (That might be exaggerating it just a little bit, but “The Rise of Cobra” undoubtedly has some of the most deplorable special effects I have seen in recent memory.) The action scenes are also kind of bland and unimaginative and the only sequences that really stuck out to me involved Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow trying to slice and dice each other with their katana swords. And don't get me started on the acting. It's not like we have Academy Award-winning actors here, but some of the performances are unquestionably cringe-inducing, especially from Tatum, who is more lifeless than the plastic toy he is attempting to portray. I can't fault anyone for liking “The Rise of Cobra” because we are all entitled to our own opinions, but I am getting a little tired of people defending brainless action movies like these by saying they are made just to entertain and not to win Oscars. Well, with “The Rise of Cobra” I was hardly entertained and I am not going to give it a free pass and look the other way just because it wasn't made with awards in mind. I am all for motion pictures that are dumb fun, but I can't appreciate a movie when the filmmaker neglects to add some fun to that dumb. So, now you know, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is about as uncomfortable to sit through as running in a marathon with a bad case of the trots - and knowing is half the battle. Rating: 3/10