Review: Snake Eyes

By Christian DiMartino

There have been two live action G.I. Joe movies. I’m not saying this to remind people, I’m saying it to remind myself, because lord knows that the previous two G.I. Joe movies did anything but leave an impression. So now we’re given the third, a prequel of the sorts, named Snake Eyes. Here is a movie that had little to no interest to me, with the exception of the fact that it starred Henry Golding, who is pretty hot (the sentence could be completed with the words “right now,” but instead it’ll end with the obvious fact). Said exception was enough to get me to the theatre.

What’s funny is that, out of morbid curiosity, F9 is of more interest to me, and yet you’ll notice that it hasn’t been reviewed yet. That’s because it hasn’t been seen yet, because my terms for seeing F9 consisted of yours truly being drunk, and nobody has made this happen yet. This summer has been filled with small gems, but mostly large releases. So it’s weird to me that I got to Snake Eyes, which by Covid standards, is a box-office bomb, before F9. But is anyone in F9 as gorgeous as Henry Golding? Um, no. Charlize Theron is a worthy contender, but she has that horrid Simple Jack hairdo.

Anyways, to Snake Eyes. This has nothing to do with the so-so Brian De Palma vehicle from 1998, but rather, this is a G.I. Joe origin story. There have been two live action G.I. Joe movies, and neither made an impression. Snake Eyes doesn’t make too much of one either. Having not grown up with the property, or really having any connection to this property whatsoever, this clearly wasn’t a movie intended for me. Yet think back to Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie. I didn’t grow up playing with Transformers, and Transformers was still a fun movie (the sequels? Not so much). Or J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. I had never seen a single episode of Star Trek at the time of seeing that movie, nor had I seen a single movie, and it was excellent. The point of one of these movies are to convert non-believers as well as amuse the believers. I have sat through worse movies than Snake Eyes, for sure, but it is for the believers… I assume.

As the film opens, we witness young Snake Eyes’ father murdered. Flash forward to when Snake Eyes is an adult, played by the gorgeous Golding. He is told by a mysterious stranger that he knows the whereabouts of his father’s killer, and will help Snake Eyes kill him if he works for him. Upon rescuing Tommy (Andrew Koji), a friend of his, he is offered the chance to be a part of a secret society, or family, if he is able to pass three missions. Said family is also holding onto a McGuffin, which happens to be a rock that catches people on fire. The aforementioned stranger happens to want said rock, so while Snake Eyes is trying to prove his worth to the family, he is also working against them, and working for a terrorist named the Baroness, who isn’t as interesting as Emma Thompson’s character from Cruella, but at least looks interesting, in that she looks like Gina Gershon if she were a part of The Matrix.

The movie didn’t bore me. It sometimes gives off the vibe that it was written in the 90s, and they’re just now making it. Which, isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s an interesting aspect. I like a scene with these CGI giant anacondas (yeah, they went there). I also like a moment where, in a car getaway, about 12 samurai swords are jabbed into a car at once. It’s cartoonish, but it has some personality. There is also a somewhat neat action sequence (the word “somewhat” is used mostly because some shots look fake) set at night time, on one of those trucks carrying a bunch of cars.

I like the look of Snake Eyes, at least. Sure the CGI anacondas are silly, but there are some nice shots here and the production design, particularly in the fortress where Snake Eyes must complete his tasks, is intricate and eye-popping. Before the film started, a recording of Golding himself addressed the audience, thanking them for coming and acknowledging the effort that went into the movie. In some cases, yeah, I see the effort.

The problem though lies in the fact that I didn’t really care. The story doesn’t exactly grip, and maybe it’s because of my detachment from the source material or maybe it’s because the filmmakers have made a movie that doesn’t have too much in the way of personality. Not sure what the answer is, hence the generous two-star rating. The film could’ve benefitted from either a sense of humor, or an R-rating. Snake Eyes is supposedly fueled by vengeance, but all we really see is a stud who seems a little irritated. It could’ve benefitted from a bit of blood splatter. I’ll stick with Kill Bill.

Snake Eyes wasn’t for me, but it wasn’t made for me either, I suppose. What it is though is probably some great background noise. Imagine working on homework or something, with this movie on in the background. You’d look up occasionally, and yeah, something would probably be happening onscreen. It could also work as an in-flight movie, in that it does pass the time, and the time could be passed in worse ways. It just sort of spins its wheels until an ending that promises a sequel that we’re probably not going to get. At the end of the day though, for us non-believers, the film is only worth watching simply based on the merit that Henry Golding is a complete fox.

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