26 September 2023

Snake Eyes – G.I.Joe Origins

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Robert Schwentke, MGM & Paramount Pictures, PG 101 Minutes.

This exhilarating sci – fi fantasy from Divergent director Robert Schwentke is the latest instalment in the G.I.Joe franchise, an origin story focused on Snake Eyes, one of its main characters, following the previous releases of Rise of Cobra and Retaliation.

The movie opens some 20 years earlier as a young boy witnesses his father’s murder by a man rolling a dice that comes up with a pair of ones (known as “snake eyes”) before the boy escapes, vowing vengeance.

Becoming a drifter in adulthood, Snake Eyes (Henry Golding – ‘The Gentlemen’) makes a living through underground cage fights until recruited by the Yakuza boss and weapons smuggler Kenta (Takehiro Hira – Giri/Haji).

When Snake Eyes disobeys Kenta by not killing Tommy (Andrew Koji – TV’s ‘Warrior’), he is duly rewarded by being taken to Tommy’s home to join his Arashikage clan, where he meets his security chief Akiko (Haruka Abe – ‘Dead Unicorns’).

As part of his ninja training Snake Eyes must pass three tests overseen by the Blind Master (Peter Mensah – TV’s ‘Midnight Texas’) and then the Hard Master (Iko Uwais – ‘Stuber’); with the penalty for failure being death.

However, Snake Eyes has not been honest with Tommy or the clan, having secretly agreed with Kenta to steal a special jewel in return for his father’s killer, which climaxes in an all-out confrontation between Kenta’s hired hoods and Tommy’s clan.

When Snake Eyes learns from G.I. Joe member Scarlet (Samara Weaving – ‘Mystery Road’) that Kenta is involved with the Cobra terrorist group he sides with Tommy’s clan to defeat Kenta (having retrieved the stolen jewel).

After proving his loyalty to Tommy’s grandmother and the remaining clan members Tommy abruptly quits the clan to become Storm Shadow and considers joining Cobra just as Snake Eyes prepares to go after him in his new outfit.

Sci-fi supremo Schwentke has crafted an enjoyable origin movie and a worthy addition to the G.I. Joe franchise complete with many entertaining actioned-packed scenes, along with an impressive array of martial arts encounters complemented by the stunning Japanese settings.

Apart from a great cast of international actors, one cannot overlook the pleasing performances of Golding (Snake Eyes), Abe (Akiko), and Koji (Tommy) – not to mention Aussie (and Canberran) Weaving as a Joe.

Vic’s Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

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