GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Paramount’s a pretty timely studio when it comes to 4K Ultra-HD upgrades. If you have a franchise you like or a film that’s getting remade, they probably have a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release ready to go around the time it comes out. With the new GI Joe film Snake Eyes out in theaters, it was high time to get those former entries into the mixer for 4K goodness. Oddly no new Atmos track or bonus features here, so you’ll have to float on whether you think the new transfer alone will do it. This first review will cover 2009’s Stephen Sommers film, GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, which I oddly found myself a fan of when it came out, despite it being largely dismissed. That arrives with the other film, GI Joe: Retaliation, on 4K Ultra-HD Blur-ay July 20th. You can land yourself copy of this one by using the paid Amazon Associates link below.


Armed with the latest in military and spy technology, the team of elite soldiers known as G.I. Joe travel around the globe to wherever their services are needed. In their latest assignment Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid), Duke (Channing Tatum) and the rest of the G.I. Joe team take on Destro (Christopher Eccleston), a corrupt arms dealer, and fight the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization.

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is quite possibly one of the more fun and overlooked blockbusters of this millennium. Nobody’s arguing the film as high art, but it is high fun. Stephen Sommers film embraces the silly and makes a film with a kid’s imagination and a adult’s big budget at the disposal. Somehow this all works for quite an entertaining festival of over the top genre action and decent cartoonish character to the lead the charge.

Of course in the wake of the success of Transformers, you’ll see the likes of GI Joe getting a big budget live action movie. However, the fact they were both toy lines with cartoons is about where their agenda ends. For every bit that the Michael Bay series takes itself super seriously, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra goes into the opposite direction. Whereas the former wants you to believe such a thing could happen and play lifelike if it did happen, GI Joe cares none about that and with such has no limits to which to take every sequence.

When the film had trailers come out, there was a body suit sequence as a sales point and it looked super silly and stupid. However, once you see the movie, not only does it kinda live up to that, but its awesome REALLY awesome and one of the better action sequence of the year the film came out. It has a great mixture of camera ingenuity, CGI, stunts and chases. The sequence works and its a heck of a lot of fun and rocks in terms of sound and visuals.

No, The Rise of Cobra isn’t a masterpiece, but it could be considered a hidden gem amongst similar big franchise blockbusters. What helps is its tongue being firmly held in cheek and never taking itself too seriously. It has some good unintentional humor, including a not quite there yet Channing Tatum unable to handle one-liners and big emotional moments and a SUPER hammed up Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Simply all you gotta do is pop some popcorn, grab a beverage and relax and enjoy this one.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a 4K upscale, with the film having been finished with a 2K digital intermediate. And while not a sweeping upgrade, the differences can be easily scene in a sharper, more texture picture with better black levels and fun usage of HDR.

Depth:  The movie is pretty big and this image helps it to feel opened up and larger scaled. Movements are smooth and cinematic with no issued deriding from motion distortions.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and improve here to more natural levels. No information hidden in shadows, darkness or dark hair/fabric. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong and well saturated. They take a little bit of a bump over the Blu-ray. HDR has clearly been applied to explosions, light beams, displays, lights and more and really radiates the picture, helping it to stand out.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are pretty readily discernible from any reasonable distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Danish, German, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Simplified Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, Thai

Dynamics: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra carries over its 5.1 track found on the standard Blu-ray disc. Its disappointing this was remixed for Atmos, but this 5.1 track does kick some ass. It knows how to make an impact and rather has an awareness of the room when it comes to the speaker channel layout.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, beams, gunfire, punches, crashes, zaps and more good a nice trouncing from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: The film finds itself in a pretty well organized room. Sound travel is fun and accurate, with constant use of the rear channels. Every environment presented has a good accuracy and accounts for every corner of the room/exterior.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra comes with the standard Blu-ray version and a redeemable digital code.

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Stephen Sommers and Producer Bob Ducsay


GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a big load of completely dumb fun and I feel zero guilt in enjoying the film. It manages to go big and silly and never apologize for it. Paramount’s debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray contains the same audio and a video transfer that is a step up in quality but not some gigantic jump. It does tick some nice boxes. Extras stunningly only include a commentary. Worth picking up when it hits a friendly discounted price if you’d like to upgrade.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

  1. No Comments