I’m not sure why G.I. Joe has received so much bad press. It’s better than either Transformer movie in my opinion, and it actually had a plot, so I’m not sure why everyone seems to love the Transformers movies but not this one.

It’s the best action movie for kids that I can remember since Iron Man, and it refreshingly lacks the sexual innuendo of Transformers (and Iron Man for that matter). The fact that it is basically Team America played straight — including the destruction of Paris and a face-disguising operation scene — only makes it better.

But the best part was a flashback of the first time Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow met as children, absolutely beating the crap out of each! I’ve never seen a movie use kids for such a ruthless kung fu style fight before — definitely the epitome of childhood wish-fulfillment as sublimated by playing with action figures!

I’m not saying it’s worth a full-priced theater ticket, but it’s a nice action movie in the classical style of being able to see everything that’s happening instead of it being blurry courtesy of Bourne Again cameramen (cp. Star Trek).

None of the acting stood out as bad, and I was surprised to find Sienna Miller’s American accent inexplicably sexy. Even Marlon Wayans wasn’t very annoying as the institutional comic relief, unlike his robot counterparts in Michael Bay’s parade of vocal stereotypes. None of the actors took it too seriously or not seriously enough; Chris Ecclestone got to chew scenery without turning into John Turturro. If anyone, it was Dennis Quaid seemed the most awkward.

There was an impressive use of multiple characters (such as Zartan) without losing track of them. The revelation of Destro and Cobra Commander were saved for the end (not that their ultimate identities are hidden during the film) so I would enjoy a sequel if the studio has the stomach for another critical beating. A first-place opening weekend and $265 million split evenly between the domestic and foreign box office tells me they wouldn’t mind.

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