Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A G.I. Joe spin-off centered on the character of Snake Eyes.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead
Review: How is it a movie based on arguably the coolest character from the G.I. Joe franchise can be so…uninteresting?! The ingredients are all there. Ninjas? Check. Sleek costumes and over-the-top fight sequences? Check and check. Actors who are believable in their roles? Yep, got that too. But even with the big budget visuals and superb fight choreography there’s a problem with the overall tone of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origin. And that problem is this movie takes itself way too seriously for something based off a line of toys.
The story itself is nothing new. As a child Snake Eyes’ (Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians) father was murdered so he grows up looking for revenge. He saves the life of Tommy “Storm Shadow” Arashikage (Andrew Koji from Warrior), the heir to the Arashikage ninja clan and becomes a member of said clan. But his need to avenge his father clouds his judgment as he makes a deal with the leader of an opposing clan to steal a precious artifact from the Arashikage in exchange for the whereabouts of his father’s killer. It’s all pretty by the numbers, and it could’ve worked if only it didn’t look and feel like so many other movies I’ve seen before.
The entire time I was watching it I kept asking myself, “What exactly would change here if they took out the name ‘Snake Eyes?’” Absolutely nothing. They do, however, add in some moments and characters to link this story to the main G.I. Joe universe. Cobra is mentioned and the Baroness played by Ursula Cobero shows up. From the Joes we have Scarlett O’Hara, played here by the always likeable Samara Weaving (Ready or Not, The Babysitter) but other than that, and of course an ending scene where Snakey suits up and is invited to join the Joes, that’s about all there is.
I’ll say this for the movie, I did enjoy Andrew Koji’s portrayal of Storm Shadow. As a matter of fact, this film makes for a better origin story of Snake Eye’s main nemesis than it did for Snake Eyes himself! We have a character who wants to protect his clan and who values his honour. He’s ultimately betrayed by a man he considers a brother and due to this he loses his clan, his faith and his trust in others. So he walks away from it all vowing revenge against Snake Eyes as he takes up the mantle of Storm Shadow. It’s a much better story than the generic one we got and is the main reason I didn’t write this movie off as a total failure.
Say what you will about the G.I. Joe movies that came before, but at least they were highly energetic. And they understood this isn’t meant to be realistic so let’s have fun with the whole thing. While I’m positive there are a lot of viewers who will enjoy this movie just as it is, I think they played it safe and in doing so sucked a lot of the energy and fun from what could’ve potentially been a solid start (or rather restart) to the G.I. Joe franchise.
Sommer’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
For more of my thoughts on Snake Eyes you can check out my video review below:
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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