The third G.I. Joe film, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, is based on the popular toys, comic books, and cartoons. It revolves around the origin of one of the franchise’s most popular and well known characters, Henry Golding, as stated in the title. The character is a positive role model for an Asian action hero, but the film is upsettingly rather disappointing, with dull action scenes and mixed messages about revenge.
Robert Schwentke directs the film, which is based on a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse. The movie is based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe franchise and serves as both an origin tale for Larry Hama’s title character and a reboot of the G.I. Joe film series. In supporting roles, Andrew Koji, rsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, and Iko Uwais appear.
Paramount Pictures released Snake Eyes in theatres on July 23, 2021 in the United States. Critics gave the picture mixed to poor reviews, praising the performers and production qualities but criticising the writing, the editing, and the direction of the action scenes. The film was also a box office disaster, grossing only $35 million versus a $160 million break even.
The film begins with Snake Eyes in a no-holds-barred cage fight before delving into the character’s inner turmoil.
When his father is slain, a young boy is left orphaned. Years later, the young kid has matured into a skilled and lethal martial arts fighter, motivated by a desire to punish his father. To hide his true identity, he goes by the moniker “Snake Eyes,” after witnessing his father’s killer force him to throw two weighted dice to determine his fate, killing him when he rolled double ones.
Kenta, a wealthy Yakuza boss discovers him in an underground Los Angeles fighting circuit, offers to identify his father’s killer if Snake Eyes will work for him. Snake Eyes declines to prove his allegiance by shooting a guy who violated Kenta’s confidence, instead assisting the traitor in escaping.
Tommy, Kenta’s cousin, is the traitor. Tommy and Kenta were both vying for the position of leader of the Arashikage clan, an ancient ninja society dedicated to maintaining order and combating evil. Kenta attempted to assassinate his cousin but failed and was exiled.
Tommy then takes Snake Eyes to his ninja dojo in Japan and requests that he be initiated as a member. Sen, Tommy’s grandmother, the current clan chief, agrees to put Snake Eyes through three trials to see if he is worthy. The clan’s head of security, Akiko, initially has reservations about Snake Eyes, but he earns her trust by exposing his father’s death and explaining why there is no record of him.
Snake Eyes has a scheme to betray his new pals that no one knows about. Kenta arranged Tommy’s attempted murder and escape in order to bring Snake Eyes close enough to steal the clan’s most treasured relic, the “Jewel of the Sun,” which possesses magical abilities.
Snake Eyes returns in secret, and using his knowledge of the clan’s temple to steal the jewel and bring it to Kenta. Kenta claims that he is robbing the jewel on behalf of Cobra, a militant revolutionary group. Cobra has been providing Kenta with weaponry through their liaison, the Baroness, in order for him to take control of the Arashikage clan.
Snake Eyes gets his reward for stealing the jewel: the assassination of his father, who shows out to be a Cobra agent. Snake Eyes spares the guy after realising what his bloodlust has cost him, and instead returns to the Arashikage clan to warn them of Kenta’s attack.
Tommy sets his rage aside and allows Snake Eyes to help him and the rest of the clan’s warriors, including Scarlett, a member of the international peacekeeping group G.I. Joe, fight Kenta’s soldiers. The Baroness makes a brief alliance with the Arashikage clan and Scarlett after Kenta acknowledges he has no intention of turning over the jewel.
Kenta loses the jewel to Tommy, who tries to use its power to kill his cousin after his men are defeated. Kenta manages to flee, but Snake Eyes captures him and throws him into the anaconda pit, where the snakes consume him when they detect his evil spirit. They now consider Snake Eyes to be pure in heart for foregoing his vengeance and hence deserving of membership in the ninja clan.
Sen tells Tommy after the battle that he is no longer fit to head the clan because he broke his commitment to never use the jewel. Tommy abandons the clan, his family, and even swears to kill Snake Eyes if they ever meet again, enraged at the loss of his birthright. After learning that Snake Eyes’ father was a G.I. Joe agent, Scarlett gives him the option to join the Joes.
The Baroness recruits Tommy into Cobra and renames him “Storm Shadow” in a mid-credits scene on a private plane leaving Japan.
Snake Eyes’ past: why is he the way he is?
A youngster walks through the woods with his father 20 years ago in the state of Washington. A noise is heard by the father, but he ignores it for the time being. He speaks with his son, who has overheard the cabin they’re going to be called a “safe place.” They arrive and make themselves at home. The cabin, however, is besieged by a bunch of men later that evening.
Both the father and the youngster attempt to flee, but the father eventually confines the boy to a55 room and orders him not to move. The men all corner the father after that. They compel him to hand over his weapons and drag him into another room. They tell him he has to roll two dice to save his life. The group’s leader, seeing him roll snake eyes, tells him that the house always wins.
He prepares to shoot the man, but Snake Eyes charges out of his room, temporarily distracting them but unable to stop them. He obeys his father’s command to flee, which he accomplishes. Snake Eyes, who is hiding at the edge of the jungle, hears the commander shoot the father in the head. The men then set fire to the house and flee, leaving the child alone and fatherless.
That very same boy is now a cage fighter in underground fights, 20 years later. In honor of his father, he has adopted the moniker “Snake Eyes.” It is a classic story of the abandoned lonely child who has seen his parents die at the hands of villains. We see this trope of a tragic backstory through multiple superhero movies for both the heroes and the villains and that is what this one is as well.
What happens in the end? Explained
We don’t see Golding’s Snake Eyes don the character’s iconic helmet until the very end of the film, but it doesn’t take that long for Snake Eyes to start laying the groundwork for the G.I. Joe franchise’s future.
Scarlett, a former member of G.I. Joe, joined the fight as an ally of the Arashikage Clan, probing the furious Kenta’s reasons. Kenta had come to Japan with the intention of stealing the Jewel of the Sun, a powerful stone that the Arashikage Clan had pledged to keep safe. Naturally, Kenta’s scheme is tracked back to Cobra, the terrorist group that has long been the Joes’ adversary.
Kenta’s ally is finally revealed to be the Baroness, a Cobra mainstay. The Baroness, played by rsula Corberó in the film, has linked up with Kenta to assist him usurp the Arashikage Clan in exchange for Cobra’s Sun Jewel. But, being the scenery-chewing 1980s villain he is. Kenta decides to take the Jewel of the Sun for himself, forcing the Baroness and Scarlett to form a brief alliance in order to survive the assault on the Arashikage shrine.
But, just as the conflict heats up, the Baroness leaves, leaving Scarlett to forge a bond with the freshly repentant Snake Eyes. But the most important element of G.I. Joe legend has to do with Tommy Arashikage, AKA Storm Shadow, rather than Snake Eyes. When Tommy obtains the Jewel of the Sun during the temple attack, he is overtaken by wrath and the gem’s power, and he does the unthinkable: he attempts to kill Kenta with it.
Tommy is banned from inheriting his position as the Arashikage Clan’s leader as a result of this. He storms out, enraged, and swears vengeance on the Arashikage and his former blood brother, Snake Eyes.
Mid-credits scene – Storm Shadow
Baroness appears aboard Storm Shadow’s private plane in the mid-credits sequence of Snake Eyes and offers the prodigal ninja membership in Cobra. She sees this as an opportunity to exact vengeance on the Arashikage clan. Cobra seeks control of Japan for unknown reasons, which necessitates the abolition of the Arashikage.
Cobra was funding Kenta’s takeover attempts and supplying the Yakuza with weaponry in exchange for the Jewel of the Sun. The Jewel was re-secured in the Arashikage’s vault at the end of Snake Eyes, but it’s possible that Baroness may urge Storm Shadow to take it because the white ninja is a member of the Arashikage bloodline and could easily gain access to the vault.
Storm Shadow, a.k.a. Tommy Arashikage, is clearly a treasured recruit for Cobra, even more so than Kenta, who betrayed the Baroness after obtaining the Jewel. Storm Shadow, like Kenta, cut connections with the Arashikage, and he’s a competent, powerful, and resourceful warrior with a higher sense of honour than Kenta. Storm Shadow is, of course, a standard Cobra member in G.I. Joe history, and Snake Eyes neatly explains why he joins the terrorist group bent on world dominance.
Meanwhile, Snake Eyes’ version of Cobra’s super weapons from the 1980s G.I. Joe cartoon series, such as the MASS Device and the Weather Dominator, is the Jewel of the Sun. The Jewel could still be a part of a larger Cobra weapon revealed in Snake Eyes 2.
Is it really worth the watch?
Poorly filmed action sequences, a predictable or illogical storyline, and contradictory messages all add to a picture that, alas, fails to capture the calm of its main character. Snake Eyes’ “three challenges” in the third G.I. Joe film — aimed to remove ego, fear, and rage — may have allowed for some fascinating touches.
However, as soon as they’re done, the protagonists chop and slash their way through fight scene after fight scene, fueled solely by ego and rage. Furthermore, Snake Eyes’ vengeance is his primary motivator, and the film’s attempt to reconcile this during the conclusion is uncomfortable and unsatisfactory. To put it another way, the directors didn’t seem to know what their film was intended to be about.
In Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, director Robert Schwentke creates a number of combat scenarios, many of which are bloodless and in which numerous characters appear to be murdered. He uses a lurching shaky-cam to film everything and casts everything in deep shadows.
All of his characters are dressed in black, with motorcycle helmets on occasion, making it practically impossible to discern who’s who or what’s going on. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, on the other hand, is mostly dumb, with characters that are supposed to be wise frequently making bad decisions.
When the characters arrive in the city of Tokyo, they drive by all of the prominent tourist attractions before arriving to the Arashikage family compound, which is another amusing scenario. The initial appearance of the famed Snake Eyes costume is perhaps the most underwhelming: it’s as if he’d simply purchased it from Amazon.
You can also sense that the film is attempting to satisfy fans while still telling its own tale, and to its credit, it isn’t overly concerned with the latter. The Hard Master and the Blind Master (Peter Mensah), as well as the entire Arashikage Clan — including Tommy, who would, of course, become Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes’ erstwhile foe and blood brother — all play important parts in the G.I. Joe universe.
Even attempts to introduce Cobra come across as half-hearted. This is mainly a positive thing, believe it or not, because it allows the filmmakers to do pretty much whatever they want.
The one thing that the movie does get right is that Snake is no longer a white man and is instead shown as an Asian-American which stands as a testament to increased representation in Hollywood.