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G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes - Movie Review

G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes

These are STILL not the ninjas you are looking for.  Sure, they might go by the same names as those in the outstanding G.I. Joe universe, as developed by Marvel Comics from 1982 to 1994 in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic series, but the film adaptations have yet to do Hasbro or Marvel correct. These action films seem to be blockbusters, but they crack easily when examined, making the original animated series look a bit more sturdy.

"Unfortunately, nothing creative has changed since 2013 when G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened and hurt our eyes."


Unfortunately, nothing creative has changed since 2013 when G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened and hurt our eyes.

Consider G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes a bubblegum chewing version of James Mangold’s Logan and (maybe) you can get along with its bubble blowing take on this Real American Hero. The bottom line is that G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes is not the movie it needs to be in order to reboot this film franchise.  It’s that simple of an observation.

At the conclusion of the movie, when you finally get to see Snake Eyes in his familiar all-black suit, fans are going to feel robbed.  Yes, this is one of those “formation of a hero” flicks that ends right where we want to see the story begin.  Someone thinks we need an entire movie devoted to a backstory built upon a backstory, so here we go . . . 

Snake Eyes lost his father 20 years prior to the start of the movie.  As the movie opens, the wounded young man who incredibly pissed off. He spends his time beating ass in underground fight tournaments and dwells in the past as this wound has only grown and shaped him.  He wants his chance at revenge so when Kenta (Takehiro Hira, Giri/Haji) approaches him for recruitment with the promise to help him find his father’s killer, he finds himself hiding guns in the bellies of fish for the Yakuza, just waiting for the chance to strike at his father’s killer.

But when he refuses to kill Tommy (Andrew Koji), the heir-apparent to the Arashikage clan, lines are seemingly drawn in the sand and the era of the Jewel in the Sun begins as a defect to another way of the warrior seems to make a lot of sense for Snake Eyes.G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes

Starring Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) as Snake Eyes, G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes makes fans sit through cage fights, tense homoerotic situations, and some really bad attitudes as our anti-hero attempts to pass the three challenges and join the Arashikage clan before making tough choices about betrayal (or not) and, ultimately, finding himself as our black suited, full body-armor wearing, sword slinging, uzi-blasting hero.  Roll credits.

Directed by Robert Schwentke, Snake Eyes is a shaky cam mess of spectacle and blurriness as we have some non-stop action sequences that, while exciting when it comes to Yakuza and samurai lore (and absolutely unbelievable at times), are hard to follow due to the hyper-realistic camera stylings because the euphoric feeling of being right in the middle of the fight is traded for confusion as the incredibly-detailed choreography and stunts fly by in record time.  

Can someone please remind Schwentke and his DP that static and dynamic shots work, too?  Oh, wait.  This reboot was produced by those responsible for the Transformers series.  Asking for action scenes we can actually watch is a lost cause.

Complete with sun jewel gobbledygook, new creatures that can somehow tell if someone is pure of heart, and some brief scenes implying Cobra’s involvement, G.I Joe: Origins: Snake Eyes has more to do with a PG-13 tale of loyalty and betrayal among the Yakuza then it does with the Real American Hero mythos.  

Sure, we have a slinky villainess showing up, Úrsula Corberó as The Baroness (one of my favorite characters from the comics) and an underused Samara Weaving as Scarlet, but this flick has a long way to go before it actually feels like a G.I. Joe film.  Oh, well.  That doesn’t seem to bother it from setting up more characters.

Yo Joe?  Asking for a friend.

2/5 stars

Film Details

G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of strong violence and brief strong language.
Runtime:
121 mins
Director
: Robert Schwentke
Writer:
Evan Spiliotopoulos; Joe Shrapnel; Anna Waterhouse
Cast:
Henry Golding; Andrew Koji; Haruka Abe
Genre
: Action | Sci-fi
Tagline:
GI Joe Origins.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site: https://www.snakeeyesmovie.com/home
Release Date:
July 23, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A G.I. Joe spin-off centered around the character of Snake Eyes.

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