*The title is the spoiler…
An ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage welcomes tenacious loner Snake Eyes after he saves the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach him the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing him something he’s been longing for: a home. However, when secrets from Snake Eyes’ past are revealed, his honor and allegiance get tested — even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
“I can tell, you’re a little impressed with me”
I know you can’t. believe it Juicers, but here we are again talking about the dawn of yet another Cinematic Universe. The latest in the long line is the rebirth of the stagnant G.I. Joe Universe with the origin story of the popular character of Snake Eyes. Sure we had the two movies earlier in the 2000s but those honestly are not great and feel stuck in that era. So, it is not out of the question to reboot the franchise.
To be honest I was not a G.I. Joe guy growing up, so I do not understand the lore or any of the mythology behind the characters. So, I am not judging these characters like say Marvel or DC characters who I have a long history with. Still though the only way to make these Universes work is to make good movies and this Snake Eyes movie in my opinion is just fine.
What we get in this story is really similar I felt to the story we got in the recent Mortal Kombat movie. We see our young fighter Snake Eyes (after a quick name origin) getting his ass beat in a cage match. He comes back to win and immediately is recruited by the Yakuza in order to find his fathers killer. His allegiance is soon tested though when he falls in with the Arashikage Clan in Japan. There he learns how to be a Ninja and befriends future Clan leader Tommy. Unknowingly, though he becomes the centerpiece of a war between the Clan and the Yakuza and has to become the hero he needs to in order to come out on the right side.
What is being marketed about this movie is the fight scenes and the fight choreography. The influence is clearly samurai movies but the filming honestly feels lie an early 2000s Bourne movie. Most of the action filmmaking is shaky cam and is hard to follow to be honest. I get that directors feel like this technique brings the tension to the scene, but to me it just makes it feel dizzying.
Stock Up – Henry Golding
This guy is so clearly a movie star with every movie that goes by. Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, Last Christmas, The Gentlemen, what a crazy couple years it has been for the former travel show host. There is even talks now he could be the next James Bond. After this performance I could see it, because he is really the only character to care about here. Sure Tommy’s fall is interesting but Golding just drips swagger at all times.
*A couple other tidbits
- The G.I. Joe section of the movie with Samara Weaving felt so out of place and so forced due to this being the dawn of a new Universe.
- I think taking this story to a more mystical area of storytelling is dangerous for the future stories in this world.
This is a solid start to a new Universe but again if they want to continue successfully then the movies need to be better than this. I enjoyed the backstory but the action and the predictable twists really bring the score down for me though. However, I will still follow Henry Golding to the end of the earth.
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