Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
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Snake Eyes becomes a member of the Arashikage clan, an ancient ninja society, after saving the life of Tommy. But unknown to them, he is working with their enemy to steal a powerful gem.


Warning – Spoilers ahead.

Usually, I would want to sit down and re-watch a movie before I start writing a review, I find this process useful so that I can write notes on the pros and cons that I feel are worth including so that you can decide if it’s a movie you would consider watching. However, after recently watching Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, I have no interest in watching this movie again any time soon. I know that sounds harsh, so let me be clear that this is not a dreadful film, it’s an OK action movie but there are too many moments that frustrated me.

It’s an origin story for a popular character that nobody asked for. Snake Eyes is a mute Ninja working with the G.I. Joe’s and part of the interest for this character was the mystery of the man and his background. I’m sure there are comics, novels and other forms of content that delve into his past, but my introduction was from the previous G.I. Joe movies and only knowing limited information made the character more interesting.

Frustratingly, Snake Eyes had the potential to be a very good martial arts movie but it was executed so poorly. I think part of the problem was hiring Director Robert Schwentke whose filmography includes such films as R.I.P.D, Insurgent and Red, all of which are very bland and boring action films. Also, hired was screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos who had never written an Asian-centred story before, so why did Paramount Pictures and Hasbro think these were the best people to bring the Snake Eye’s origins to the big screen?

The story follows Snake Eyes played by Henry Golding who saw his father murdered by an assassin when he was a child, hell-bent on revenge he agrees to join the Yakuza in exchange for finding the man who killed his father. At the request of the Yakuza, he befriends Tommy Arashikage (Andrew Koji) the heir to a clan of a 600-year-old ninja dynasty. Tommy welcomes Snake Eyes into his home and pledges to teach him the ways of the ninja warrior not knowing that Snake Eyes has a hidden agenda.

On paper, the story sounds intriguing but set pieces that should have been thrilling are dull. Snake Eyes has to complete 3 tests to be accepted into the Ninja clan and this concept sounded exciting. Unfortunately, the 3 tests are anything but exciting, for example, the first test involves exchanging bowls of water with a clan master. I am quoting a definition I found online which states a Ninja is “a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations”, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I fail to see how exchanging a bowl of water would prepare someone for espionage and assassinations!

Another gripe I have is our main protagonist is willingly working for the villains throughout the movie and I understand it’s because he is after revenge but I never found myself rooting for the character. He is given a free pass and forgiven by the clan leader at the end of the movie but why? He literally caused all the chaos in the 3rd act of the movie. The movie is also totally confused, it starts with a realistic feel with underground street fights and the Yakuza’s gun smuggling business but eventually takes a complete U-turn and goes into mystical powers with a Jewel that harnesses the power of the sun.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins suffers from a weak story and annoying characters. It was a shame because I think Henry Golding is a good actor and deserved a better script to work with.

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