Thursday, July 22, 2021

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Review: An Action Packed, Messy Origin Story

Henry Golding	...	Snake Eyes Andrew Koji	Andrew Koji	...	Tommy / Storm Shadow Haruka Abe	Haruka Abe	...	Akiko Takehiro Hira	Takehiro Hira	...	Kenta Eri Ishida	Eri Ishida	...	Sen Iko Uwais	Iko Uwais	...	Hard Master Peter Mensah	Peter Mensah	...	Blind Master Úrsula Corberó	Úrsula Corberó	...	Baroness Samara Weaving	Samara Weaving	...	Scarlett Samuel Finzi	Samuel Finzi	...	Mr. Augustine Steven Allerick	Steven Allerick	...	Father Max Archibald	Max Archibald	...	Young Snake Eyes Simon Chin	Simon Chin	...	Hama Derrick DeVilliers	Derrick DeVilliers	...	Promoter Kento Matsunami	Kento Matsunami	...	Arashikage Ninja Guard James Hiroyuki Liao	James Hiroyuki Liao	...	Yasuzo Kenji Tanigaki	Kenji Tanigaki	...	Yakuza with Eye Patch Dean Muhtadi	Dean Muhtadi	...	Bruiser Streetfighter (as Mojo Rawley)

Release date: July 23, 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Written By: Evan Spiliotopoulos (screenplay by), Joe Shrapnel (screenplay by), A0nna Waterhouse(screenplay by)
Starring: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Tahehiro Hira, and Iko Uwais

Based on the iconic G.I. Joe character, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins stars Henry Golding as Snake Eyes, a tenacious loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he’s been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested – even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him. 

Sean Owen Roberts	...	Augustine's Hired Thugs Jason Day	Jason Day	...	Augustine's Hired Thugs Kojun Notsu	Kojun Notsu	...	Arashikage Mechanic Neal Honda	Neal Honda	...	Yakuza Ryan Klarenbach	Ryan Klarenbach	...	Cobra Commando 1 Owen Szabo	Owen Szabo	...	Cobra Commando 2 Brandon Melendy	Brandon Melendy	...	Cobra Agent 1 Gui DaSilva-Greene	Gui DaSilva-Greene	...	Cobra Agent 2 (as Gui Dasilva) Solomon Brende	Solomon Brende	...	Cobra Agent 3 Samuel Brasseur	Samuel Brasseur	...	Soccer Player (as Samuel LeBrasseur) Hugh Aodh O'Brien	Hugh Aodh O'Brien	...	Ambulance Driver Michael Gaines	Michael Gaines	...	Police Driver Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Paul Cheng	Paul Cheng	...	Kenta Yakuza 1 (uncredited) Calum Dench	Calum Dench	...	Soccer kid (uncredited) Nicholas Dohy	Nicholas Dohy	...	Security Thug (uncredited) Shota Kakibata	Shota Kakibata	...	Yakuza (uncredited)
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins has the unenviable task of trying to make the 80s kids cartoon translate onto the big screen.  And this effort is a noble one, with lots of hits and misses as a result.  The first thing I'll get to is yes, Henry Golding can play an action hero.  The fighting isn't as fluid as I would have hoped but he moves over into the action realm well with a strong portrayal of Snake Eyes.  And the rest of the cast is enjoyable as well, filling out the G.I. Joe universe with some fun and sometimes overly dramatic characters.  I liked Koji as Storm Shadow, with his intense demeaner at times.  And Weaving as Scarlett was a nice surprise to see.  She had a supreme confidence that comes from being a Joe and it translated perfectly on the screen.  And special shout out to Iko Uwais (from the Raid series) as Hard Master.  

And the setting of the film is a lot of fun as well.  The movie is set in Tokyo, with the energy, lights, and excitement that comes with it.  But after the initial vision of the world, you get a more tranquil Japanese castle setting that is a peaceful respite from the city.  The Japanese influence in this film is apparent, with plenty of Japanese text and a high energy, neon credits sequence that incorporates both Japanese names and the English equivalents.  And the film also takes you into some of the enjoyable aspects of Japan, like neon-soaked alleys and a bath house.  But the setting is also good for some of the noir aspects of the film, with secret meetings in rain soaked alleys and a game of cat and mouse as we discover that there is more to this story than meets the eyes.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.) David Ellison	...	executive producer Dana Goldberg	...	executive producer Brian Goldner	...	producer Don Granger	...	executive producer Erik Howsam	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.) Greg Mooradian	...	executive producer Jeff G. Waxman	...	executive producer
But some of the absurdity of the G.I. Joe universe just leaks in here.  For one, the characters are all called by their callsigns, which makes sense, but some of them are silly.  Snake Eyes gets called "Snake Eyes" or "Snake" even before he has become the iconic hero.  There is a training person named Hard Master and Blind Master, which sound silly when you think that they are Japanese warriors and supreme fighters.  And the film has to tie this into the Joes vs. Cobra mythos, which leads to some odd suspension of disbelief scenes.  This film feels like it was trying to go for a Batman Begins origin story, and succeeds in that respect in a few instances, but has too much overall G.I. Joe baggage to pull it off.  The benefit that Batman Begins had was that that time in Bruce Wayne's life was more free form, all you had to do was have him emerge as Batman.  Here they have to establish the Joes, Cobra, and several main characters, which makes for a messier integration.

But probably most egregious is that the action in this film is hit or miss.  When it hits, it is exciting to see.  Seeing Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow going blade to blade with waves of bad guys is a treat, and there is a car chase that is very well done as well.  But early on, the hand to hand combat has a decidedly shaky cam and blurred look to it.  The action has some sort of motion blur on so that it is tough to focus on what people are doing, and this is not helped by some dark footage and a shaky camera that makes it extra hard to focus.  It was actually a little discomforting to watch since it was hard to focus and frenzied.  And on top of that, there is some CG at the end that is bad and feels wholly unnecessary.  

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins shows Golding as a decidedly more crazy, less rich Asian fighter, with some intense summer action and a neon-drenched Tokyo that ties into the greater G.I. Joe story.

Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is in theaters on July 23, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.  

No comments:

Post a Comment