At the beginning Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins, the hero of the film, Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) is forced to fight 15-20 opponents at once and, against all odds, triumphs. Having so many people fighting a man is the way to tell us that this guy is a force to be reckoned with. But a few scenes later he fights another huge group of people. Then another. And another. Once you build characters and it’s exciting, for the fourth or fifth battle, you do it it loses almost all its power—of couse Snake eyes will make another disproportionate struggle. This mix of partially fresh and partially repetitive is a great example of what you can expect from the latest reboot of the popular Hasbro GI Joe franchise.
Directed by Robert Schwentke (Red) based on a screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel, the film aims to provide a unique introduction to the back door to a much bigger world, where the “Real American Heroes”, GI Joe, fight your enemies in Cobra. Along the way, though, Snake eyes he feels aggressively disinterested in sustained enthusiasm or narrative innovation. Instead, it relies too much on family and meaningless actions that undermine the development of its character and the construction of the world.
After a brief crucial flashback to the start of the film, Snake eyes picks up in present-day Los Angeles, where the title character is being recruited to the Yakuza. He will soon be asked to kill one of his members for insufficient reasons. But he can’t, he’s too moral and honorable, so he and the man he was supposed to kill run away boldly. quickly form a friendship. This other person is Tommy Arashikage (Andrew Koji), who is the heir of one The most powerful sacred clans in Japan. Snake Eyes has no family, so Tommy invites him to go to Japan and be part of his group. And so begins Snake Eyes ’journey from wandering warrior to eventual GI Joe assassin ninja.
This relationship between Snake Eyes and Tommy is the best of the film. The two capable and capable characters have a lot in common, which manifests itself as a tension between them. Each wants and tries to trust the other, but we are not sure if they have the ability to do so. It is a complex dynamic driven by Akiko (Haruka Abe), head of security at the Arashikage, who does not trust both Snake and Tommy. In these relationships and subsequent revelations, Snake eyes shows a huge promise. When the film offers character stories, grows relationships, establishes conflicts, or provokes emotions, it works. Eventually, however, the characters make decisions (too many spoilers to mention) that complicate the plot, but they also emotionally erode much of the character that has already occurred. This is a discordant change that creates a disturbing imbalance in the film’s familiar and trusting themes. On the one hand, it seems that the film tells us that we believe in these characters. But on-screen actions don’t always back up.
The main road Snake eyes attempts to develop themes are made with decorative pieces of action, which is expected (this is one GI Joe film after all). While many of the action scenes are choreographed and staged, very few moments feel specifically adapted to this particular world or franchise. With a few exceptions, the scenes consist mainly of people with swords chasing and jumping. This can be fun, but it can also be exhausting, which is largely due to Schwentke’s almost uninspired direction.
There is very, very little Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins that we have not seen before in any way; from the muted colors at the base of Arashikage to the neon lights of downtown Tokyo and the action scenes full of anonymous villains with motorcycle helmets, everything feels very safe and familiar. Even some of the great moments destined to stand out from the rest don’t really do (tthree words: Well of souls). Finally, when some GI Joe characters start to appear, they fail to impact the unstable dynamic that is developing between Tommy and Snake. The new characters explain some plot points, exploit some things, and mock future films instead of influencing anything specific or significant about it. As beautiful as it is to see the world of GI Joe seeping into this supposedly character-based story, the two pieces don’t fit together and have the feeling that each would be better off without the other.
Golding and Koji do their best to raise the bar in the script and action scenes by putting as much nuance and intensity into their performances as possible. Abe also lends a bit of welcome humanity to the film with its mysterious story and healthy skepticism. But in the end, they are just stuck in a deep pit from which they cannot get out. Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins it’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a good movie either. It’s kind of like sitting in the middle as a proper way to spend a few hours of your time, but something you’ll forget instantly from the second release of the credits. While it would be great to see these characters again, if that happens, I would expect them to arrive with more passion and energy.
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins it only opens in theaters on July 23rd. A Paramount + version not yet announced.
Wondering where our RSS feed was going? You can choose the new one here.