Snake Eyes (2021)

snake eyes poster 2021 review
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Decent casting

Meandering plot, dull

Movie Info

Movie Name: Snake Eyes

Studio:  Paramount Pictures/MGM/Skydance Media

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Comic Book

Release Date(s): July 23, 2021

MPAA Rating: PG-13

snake eyes storm shadow tommy andrew koji henry golden

I’m being followed by a Storm Shadow…(the less popular Cat Stevens song)

When his father is killed, Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) finds himself trying to survive on his own as a child and grows to be a man with skills of survival.  The search for his father’s killer leads him to working with underworld gangster Kenta Takamura (Takehiro Hira) who has his own nefarious ties.  Snake Eyes must infiltrate the home of Tomisaburo “Tommy” Arashikage (Andrew Koji) and find a hidden jewel if he hopes to locate the man who killed his father…but Cobra could be lurking in the grass.

Directed by Robert Schwentke, Snake Eyes (also called Snake Eyes:  G.I. Joe Origins) is an action adventure movie based upon the Hasbro toyline.  The movie is a reboot of the G.I. Joe film series which ended with G.I. Joe:  Retaliation in 2013.  It was met with negative reviews.

snake eyes giant snakes

Hey, big guy….would you like to admire the irony of me being called “Snake Eyes” and you being a snake?

I went into Snake Eyes not expecting much and did not get much from it.  Having low-expectations however allowed me to have some fun with the movie which often just slogged by through its over two hour runtime.

The movie is an origins movie with Snake Eyes being probably the most popular of the G.I. Joe characters.  It has the character being amoral for most of the film for a moral reason which puts the character in a strange light.  He wants to kill the man who killed his father and he’s willing to betray a man who is genuinely welcoming and brotherly toward him…Snake Eyes is the villain and Tommy (aka Storm Shadow) is the hero.  This of course reverse by the end of the film (though Tommy’s turn to “evil” isn’t as well built or logical…nor is it complete).  It just takes too long to get there.

snake eyes cast final battle


The film’s casting did cause controversy.  Henry Golding’s casting of Snake Eyes bothered some traditionalist fans (the character was white), but as a so-so G.I. Joe follower, I had forgotten that since the normally mute character is clad in all black with a face mask.  Golding does give Snake Eyes some heart, but the story saps most of it from the characters.  I like Andrew Koji ask Storm Shadow, but like Snake Eyes, it takes too long for the character to develop.  Ana DeCobray plays a so-so Baroness though she has the look right and the same is true of Samara Weaving’s Scarlett.  Scarlett’s issue is that the filmmakers try hard to give a Black Widow with no-nonsense tough character who can’t be bothered by a fight…but it makes Weaving come off as wooden instead of skilled.

snake eyes kenta jewel takehiro hira

The Fire Clan will defeat the last Airbender!!!

The movie also lacks energy.  There are fight scenes and some of them are choreographed well, but the editing and the shooting style don’t bring out this kinetic energy.  The fight with the snakes also feels a bit out of place due to the non-fantasy aspects of this entry in the series.  Oddly enough the use of electric motorcycles also takes away from the movie…the whirl of an electric bike doesn’t have the energy that a great motorcycle scene has (though I commend them for trying to be more environmentally aware).

Snake Eyes is fine if you want some mindless action without a lot of commitment.  It had the potential to be a lot more fun and feels rather empty by the end due to the fact it feels like set-up for future movies (that probably won’t happen).  The movie introduces a lot of things like the Joes, Cobra, Storm Shadow, and Snake Eyes, but doesn’t keep its promises that we’ll ever see them fully functional.  I wouldn’t mind another stab and a continuation of the movie series, but with the lackluster outing here, I’m guessing they rolled snake eyes.

Related Links:

G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra (2009)

G.I. Joe:  Retaliation (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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