Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
review by Bobby Blakey
Like most boys in my generation we grew up in the awesomeness of G.I. Joe. In 2009 the American Fighting Force hit the big screen in live action with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The success of that film brought a retooled sequel with the 2013 film G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Now they are shining the spotlight on one the most popular characters with Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins featuring Henry Golding in the title role. The film also stars Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, Úrsula Corberó as The Baroness, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master with RED director Robert Schwentke at the helm. Could this origin story of the famed Joe deliver what fans want or will it fail to bring honor to the clan?
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins follows 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.
To say I was stoked to see this film would be an understatement. I love Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and my passion for the martial arts just adds to my love of the character. I know there is a lot of complaints about seeing Snake Eyes out of his mask and him speaking, but we have to remember that this is an origin hence the title so we are on the early journey of the character. That being said I can say that I love the film, but there are definitely some things that didn’t work for me.
This is a full on martial arts flick that has elements that made me feel like the period martial arts epics but infused in a comic book style universe. All of these elements worked for me while there are some aspects that were a bit more rushed that I would have preferred, but that is due mostly to the forced
addition of the G.I. Joe element. This is my big issue being the addition of Scarlett and more notably The Baroness. I get the Scarlet necessity eventually due to her connection with Snake Eyes, but I wish they had gone with some other character than the Baroness. The character itself is fine, but her portrayal and look here from Úrsula Corberó just didn’t work from me. Samara Weaving is fine as Scarlett but just didn’t get much to do to be worthy of her appearance here other than setting up the future.
Outside of those elements I loved the film. I know there is the argument of Snake Eyes origins and how he is supposed to “look”, but I was totally ok with this direction. I also really loved that this is not just an origin story for Snake Eyes, but also one for Storm Shadow as well. This was a great idea since their paths have always been intertwined and it was interesting to see how they got them where we know of them now. There are elements that could have been fleshed out more and not been as predictable, but in the end I was satisfied overall.
There is plenty of action and some fun G.I. Joe references, but the shining star to this film is Golding and Koji. They have great chemistry and carry this movie perfectly. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about these two, but they killed it and I hope we get more of these two facing off in the future whether it shifts into more G.I. Joe stories or in my preference to just stick to the world of Snake Eyes.
In addition to the film the home release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes and featurettes that take you behind bringing the fan favorite ninja to the big screen. Grab your copy of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins available now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD.
In addition to getting the 4K, Blu-ray or DVD you can also get a collectible steelbook and a 3-movie collection that includes Snake Eyes along with G.I. Joe: Retaliation and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra available now.