Denied advance press-screening access (like everyone else) to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Variety has enlisted Aussie staffer/stringer Richard Kuipers to write a review off a screening at the Birch Carroll & Coyle Myer Center Cinemas in Brisbane. But Kuipers’ reactions seem, by my sights and expectations, overly moderate.

A super-sized $175 million CG movie that Paramount refuses to screen for any press whatsoever must be seriously flawed from not only a critical perspective but, one would think, from the easy-lay standards of Joe Popcorn. At the very least a film of this type warrants a little John Anderson sarcasm or some Todd McCarthy-esque haute disdain. But all Kuipers can muster is a few wan laments.

He says that Stephen Sommers‘ film plays “more like a highlights reel from an established franchise than a movie intended to launch it” and that it “interrupts its barrage of CGI action for only the barest minimum of anything resembling character development.” Let me explain something. People like myself want to see tough critics ripping Sommers’ lungs out here. We want razor-tipped savagery. We want intestines and other internal organs splattered all over on the floor.

Kuipers says the film is “edited as if the audience wouldn’t watch unless every scene were switched to overdrive” and that the “not-bad basic plot never gets much of a chance to be anything more.” He also complains about “uninspired flashbacks to the characters’ pasts [arriving] like commercial breaks slotted into what seems to one long setpiece.”

Okay, I get it, fine. I’m sure Kuipers is expressing his reservations as plainly and comprehensively as he knows how. Now can we have some fun here?