Snake Eyes: A GI Joe Origins Review!
PLOT: GI Joe’s first cinematic origin story explores the beginning of the iconic character, SNAKE EYES.
REVISION: It all started well with the occasional entertainment GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra Directed by Stephen Sommers, back in 2009. Things got a little better with the 2013 release of GI Joe: Retaliation with a little help from Dwayne Johnson. The sequel, directed by Jon M. Chu, kept some of the clear but mild charms of the original and added a more satisfying action element. And now, Paramount has yet another offering in the GI Joe universe. Rather than taking on a group of characters, this particular “Origins” story focuses on the main character, Snake Eyes. Considering there was a slight improvement between the first Rise of Cobra and Retaliation, at least for this viewer, hopefully a few years of preparation and a popular actor like Henry Golding would create an action-packed sequel and were at least entertaining. . Unfortunately, the Robert Schwentke-directed sequel takes the franchise down a couple of notches.
The film begins with the introduction of a boy (Max Archibald) and his father (Steven Allerick), who are staying in a cabin deep in the woods. When it becomes clear that the two are in danger, the father tries to hide his son, only to face his own disappearance. The child survives. Years later, that young man grows up to look a lot like Henry Golding, and we meet Snake Eyes. Soon, fate leads him to an ancient Japanese clan named Arashikage after he saves the life of his heir apparent. Once you arrive in Japan, you are trained and tested to be a part of this ancient clan. However, there is a darker desire for him, a need for revenge for what happened to his father. Will he betray those who trusted him? Or will this iconic character find a place with the Joes?
The trailer for Snake Eyes offered a small promise. It helps to cast solid actors like Golding, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Úrsula Corberó as The Baroness, Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, Iko Uwais as Hard Master, Peter Mensah as Blind Master, and more. And there are many interesting stories that could have been told about Snake Eyes in this world. However, this first origin story is mediocre in almost every respect. While Golding is a good actor, the script by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Joe Srapnel did him no favors. If you want the silly little phrases that don’t quite work, you have them in abundance. However, what you don’t get is a movie that really explores Snake Eyes in an exciting way. It also doesn’t do much for the other popular GI Joe characters featured here. There is very little to draw inspiration from in this unexceptional world the filmmakers have created. It’s hard not to see this as a little missed opportunity.
The first major action sequence involves Snake Eyes in a boundless cage fight. The scene is muddy and cluttered, and the shaky camera work is a bit frustrating to watch. Maybe it was simply that the director wanted you to feel what it was like to be in the ring. No. Everything is like that. The action sequences are all a series of close-ups, with the camera constantly moving and shaking as you try to get a glimpse of what is happening. What’s even more frustrating? There are some really inspired images on screen. Some that are so close to bringing this less-than-spectacular feature to life. Ironically, it’s the softer moments that have the most impact. That’s when we get a little more information on Snake Eyes and the struggles he faces.
Oh, and are you ready for weird CGI beasts? Well, there is that too. You see, to earn your place in the clan, you have to face three challenges. One of them involves huge snakes, and it may be one of the weirdest moments at a GI Joe show I’ve ever seen. However, perhaps a little more of the weird has made this feel like a more intriguing exploration of the character. A little more personality would not hurt either. The new movie rarely goes beyond generic fight scenes, cheesy dialogue, and perhaps hope for a better movie. Unfortunately, this is not a good start to getting the Joes back to home territory. If you enjoyed the trailer for this movie, frankly, it’s a lot more satisfying than the actual movie. And if you didn’t like the trailer, I probably recommend that you see something else this weekend.
Snake Eyes it is a huge disappointment. Here are good ideas. Some of the images on display were quite beautiful, and the score had a fun electronic feel to it. Yet even with current star Henry Golding and a strong supporting cast, the first GI Joe Origin story doesn’t light a spark. I’ve certainly appreciated Schwentke’s work before, but perhaps his talents aren’t quite as suited to a nonstop action blockbuster like this one. What’s even more frustrating is that you can see that there was something to this mess. But the ever-moving camera work, generic script, and a possible villain who looks like Lisa Loeb don’t put a lot of weight on this movie. You may appreciate this more than I do, but ultimately, Snake Eyes it’s just a gentle continuation that failed to explore the mystique of a character much more intriguing than the movie named after him.