Thursday 22 July 2021

Snake Eyes (Movie Review)

The G.I. Joe movie franchise receives another shot in the arm with Snake Eyes, its third entry and second attempt at a soft reboot. The two previous films had been met with a largely negative reception, despite scoring some measure of success at the box office. So for this new one, the hope was that it would finally get things right and set the franchise up with a solid foundation for future installments.

The movie stars Henry Golding as the titular Snake Eyes, a man that is taken in by an ancient Japanese ninja clan after saving the life of one of its high-ranking members. There he must not only earn their trust, but he must also undergo training and pass through a series of grueling tests in order to prove his loyalty. But after witnessing the death of his father at a young age, he'll be forced to choose between fulfilling his quest for revenge and his ties to his new family.

I'd gone into Snake Eyes with lowered expectations, based mainly on the quality of the two previous G.I. Joe movies. Because let's face it, those movies weren't exactly great, meaning that this latest film had a very low bar to scale to be considered an improvement. And in a way, it was this very fact that had helped to cushion my disappointment at its otherwise bland story and muddled execution. 
The film simply lacks the kind of spark you'd want to see in a movie about ninjas doing ninja stuff. Not that anyone should be going into a movie based on a Hasbro toyline expecting anything particularly groundbreaking, but still. Its one saving grace should have been its action scenes, but even those were marred by an overreliance on fast cuts and shaky cameras. What little could be seen of its fight choreography and wire stunts was awesome though, channeling the kinetic energy of classic ninja films. 
But when otherwise competent martial artists like The Raid's Iko Uwais are made to look uncharacteristically slow, then there is something clearly wrong with the way their actions are being presented. Speaking of which, the film does boast a solid overall ensemble, with Henry Golding bringing much of the same level of charisma he had shown in Crazy Rich Asians. But the true standout was Andrew Koji who plays Thomas Arashikage, the man who would eventually become his archrival, Storm Shadow.

Snake Eyes is easily the best film in the G.I. Joe movie franchise thus far. But considering how poorly put together the last two films were, that's not saying much. The film squanders its great ensemble on a generic plot that barely manages to get the job done. That said, there's certainly some enjoyment to be had with the movie. And while it might not on its own fully revitalize the franchise in the way its filmmakers had no doubt hoped, I am still more than curious to see what comes next.


  1. How can you mess up ninjas? Bummed to hear it's not very good. This summer's movie picks have been slim.

    1. Lol. Indeed they have. We still have The Suicide Squad to look forward to though. Hopefully that delivers.