Review: Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes has always been one of the coolest G.I Joe characters going back to the 80’s series and the Hasbro toys. Fast forward to 2021 and Snake Eyes gets his own origin story in the aptly titled Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.

Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) stars as the loner nicknamed Snake Eyes. After the death of his father when he was a child, Snake Eyes has been living on his own and picking up odd jobs. One day he’s recruited by the Yakuza to help smuggle guns. Snake Eyes meets Tommy aka Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji) who is the heir to Clan Arashikage. After saving Tommy’s life, Snake Eyes is welcomed to join Clan Arashikage. To become part of the clan, Snake Eyes has to pass three tests.

While Snake Eyes works to pass his tests, Kenta (Takehiro Hira) seeks revenge on Clan Arashikage after being cast out.

It’s been 12 years since G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and studios have a better understanding on how to make compelling PG-13 action films. Also, Snake Eyes is a great character for an origin story. Audiences get to see the fire that forged the iconic character.

The story itself is pretty straightforward with a few minor twists. There isn’t much character development outside of how Snake Eyes went from Point A to Point B.

What audiences buy a ticket for is the action…and there is plenty of it. Iko Uwais plays Hard Master – The Raid star puts all of his martial arts skills on display. Golding and Koji do a phenomenal job in their action scenes, but the real star is Haruka Abe as Akiko. Akiko is a great character and has some of the best fight scenes in the film. She has an amazing fight sequence in the alley as well as some great moments in the third act.

The only frustrating part is how tight some of the action sequences were shot. At times, it made it hard to see the action – especially during the big battle scenes.

One thing that’s not frustrating is Henry Golding. Golding is an absolute star. He has the tools to be a leading man in Hollywood for years to come. He can do action, comedy, romance, you name it. Snake Eyes is a silly action film based on a popular cartoon. Yet, Golding’s approach to the character is spot and it gives the character more depth than what most people knew was there.

Snake Eyes is an excellent vehicle for a reboot of the G.I. Joe franchise. In a perfect world, this would lead into a two-part sequel that introduces the G.I Joe vs. Cobra and ends with a showdown vs. Serpentor. Most likely, we’ll get another fight between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. And you know what; I’m ok with that too.

Grade: B-