Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins


‘…the result should be considered inessential for all but the most devoted action hounds…’

Sigh. Of all the benighted franchises that Hollywood has offered, few are comprehensibly unloved as the GI Joe films from toy-makers Hasbro, whose Transformers movies have similarly gone off the boil. Creating a franchise looks easy until you try it, but the third GI Joe movie bears only tangential connections to the first two efforts. Set in a world before 2009’s Rise of the Cobra and 2013’s Retaliation, Snake Eyes seems to be the origin story of the Snake Eyes character, now recast as the smouldering Henry Golding.

After witnessing the murder of his father by a villainous character called Snake Eyes (he rolls his dice to score Snake Eyes before he kills), Snake Eyes adopts the name Snake Eyes as he sets off on a quest to kill Snake Eyes. Got that? Nope, not me either, and we’ve barely started. Snake Eyes makes a living as some kind of illegal MMS fighter before being recruited to some kind of Yakusa crime-ring. Clonked on the head, Snake Eyes wakes up in a Tokyo ninja palace where he picks up the trail of those who killed his father…

That’s not the most coherent summary I’ve ever written, but then again, Robert Schwentke’s film isn’t the most coherent film I’ve seen. The first hour is serious minded Japanese crim-movie stuff, and unlikely to appeal to kids or families. But the second half of the film throws up motorbikes chases and giant snakes, and offers some eye-candy to waken up slumbering punters. There’s some waffle about the origins of the Cobra organisation featured in the other films, but these questions are less-than-compelling. The only people asking questions about the continuity of the GI Joe films are those unfortunate enough to have the job of writing about it.

One critic has suggested that Golding should send a copy of this movie to the James Bond producers as an audition tape; that would certainly be the case if he doesn’t want the job, since the star is alternately shrill and dour in equal measures. Golding has presence, but there’s nothing he can do with such a half-assed role in a half-assed film; money has clearly been thrown at the screen, but even without a pandemic, the result should be considered inessential for all but the most devoted action hounds. Right up there with the XXX films in terms of skewhiff continuity, Snake Eyes is some seriously shonky product that you should find easy enough to avoid.


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    • If you skip all three, I estimate you will have saved 7 hours of your life to dedicate to more important things…

  1. I enjoyed the first GI Joe movie, but when they killed off the major players in the second and introduced a team of no-names played by big stars, I gave up all hope.

    Honestly, I’m surprised anyone thought there was still interest in the franchise, as far as movies go. I’ll be skipping this, even if it shows up on prime for free…

    • …is the correct answer. They could have made half a dozen movies with the same money, and chances are one of them would have landed. I’m guessing that this is a prequel in the timeline, but I’m lost by now, since I can barely remember the others. This one certainly won’t work for fans of the first film, it’s mainly a dark and dank Yakusa movie which is anything but family fare.

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