Thursday, July 22, 2021

Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins - Movie Review

The Movie: Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins

The Director: Robert Schwentke

The Cast: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Tahehiro Hira, Iko Uwais

The Story: A G.I. Joe spin-off centered around the character of Snake Eyes.

The Review:
I've been looking forward to this movie ever since it was announced and ever since Henry Golding was announced as the most iconic character from one of the most iconic franchises of my childhood. I was really hoping that this movie would live up the the hype as well as my own expectations and I was also a little nervous because previous cinematic iterations of this franchise have not always turned out as well as I had hoped. I mean, even The Rock could only so so much by being added in as Roadblock during one of the movies, I can't remember which one.

For ma bit of context, I should tell you that I have been a fan of GI Joe since reading the comic books and playing with all the toys as a little kid. I was such a hardcore follower of the Real American Heroes that I wrote a letter to Marvel Comics about one of their issues and they actually printed it and responded to my question. The Snake Eyes character has always been a favorite of mine along with Flash, Scarlet, and a few others so it was great to see this movie focus, not only on one of my favorites, but a character that is beloved by so many.

So, here we are, I've watched the movie, I've taken it all in, and as the credits began to roll, I was very happy with the result. This is an origin story of course, I mean it says origins in the title, although it's not just Snake Eyes, we also get to see how Storm Shadow becomes the character we have always known and we are also introduced to Scarlett and Baroness who you could say are each the first ladies of their respective factions, GI Joe and Cobra. There are a lot of other characters and, while probably not part of what will become the larger narrative, they each have an important role to play in this movie.

The casting for this movie I would say is spot on perfect from top to bottom and especially with the four aforementioned character roles filled by Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Samara Weaving, and Úrsula Corberó. Each actor embodies their character about as well as you could hope and I think Koji was an especially inspired choice as Storm Shadow, especially after impressive the work he's been putting into the Warrior TV series. Also strong in support roles are Haruka Abe and Eri Ishida as well as Iko Uwais who you will recognize from The Raid movies. I mean, you better have seen The Raid Movies, they're amazing.

If you weren't aware, GI Joe is a very American property with an emphasis on patriotism and high flying, specially trained elite forces although the roster of characters has always had a fair amount of diversity embedded into it. That being said, it's pretty cool to see this freshly rebooted iteration of  the franchise kick off with a mostly Asian cast and with the story being set primarily in Japan and only hints of the larger world we are sure to see unfold in future installments. I will say that the martial arts action and various fight scenes are lacking a bit in originality but honestly, that wasn't a problem for me as it was all fun to watch.

There are also some supernatural elements to the story which makes me think the GI Joe universe is going to be more than just shooting gun and kicking faces which I'm fine with although I hope the creators don't let that kind of stuff get too out of hand. It's not like all the characters will have superpowers or anything like that, you'll just have to see it for yourself. All that being said, this was a great way to kick off the franchise while focusing on one of the most popular characters the property has ever produced. Is it a bit cheesy at times? Sure. Are bits of the dialog a little silly at times? I would say yes but you know what, the whole thing is based off of kids toys so I can deal with the filmmakers not taking things too seriously.

The Verdict:
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins is the action packed GI Joe movie I've always wanted to see and a great way to reboot the franchise. Powered by a strong cast and a non stop barrage of martial arts mayhem, there's a lot to like and very few complaints. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!

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