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Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins – Review: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji and Karuka Abe Shine. But, the Poorly Edited and Choppy Action Scenes Let Them Down

July 23, 2021

Quick Thoughts – Grade – B- – Snake Eyes is a fun ride that is massively let down by its action scenes that are choppily edited, shakily filmed, and in no way showcase the talents of Iko Uwais, Peter Mensah, Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, and Karuka Abe. Hopefully, the film will be a success (in spite of its flaws), and propels the excellent cast to bigger and better things. 

Directed by Robert Schwentke (RED, R.I.P.D.) and written by Anna Waterhouse (Rebecca, Race), Joe Shrapnel (Rebecca, Race), Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty and the Beast, The Huntsman: Winter War), Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins tells the story of how Snake Eyes, the fan favorite G.I. Joe character became a world-renowned hero. In terms of acting, costumes, and production design, the movie is a success as Henry Golding proves himself to be a capable action hero, and his costumes and surrounding locations all look great. However, the action scenes are wildly bad, as they are edited into oblivion, and don’t give the actors any room to shine. The ideas behind fight coordinator Kenji Tanigaki (Enter the Fat Dragon, Monster Hunt 2, Flash Point) brawls are sound, but any semblance of coherence is lost as it looks like Schwentke wanted the action scenes to look like a Bourne movie chugged Red Bull, then watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and chugged more Red Bull. the over-edited fights are baffling when you have special talents like Iko Uwais (The Raid, Triple Threat, The Night Comes for Us), Peter Mensah (Spartacus) and Andrew Koji (Warrior), and you never let a shot linger for more than one-fifth of a second. Why not set up a wide-shot, get all the coverage, and let audiences see what the actors trained months to do. 

Action aside, Snake Eyes is a lot of fun as it tells the story of how Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) goes from being an angry orphan to becoming a super soldier. After his father is killed by some gangsters, Snake Eyes becomes a pit fighter who is hired by the Yakuza to assist in sneaking automatic weapons into Japan. However, after he fails to pass his initiation by refusing to kill a guy named Tommy (Andrew Koji), the two escape to Japan where Snake Eyes learns that Tommy is part of the Clan Arashikage, a powerful family who protect Japan from evildoers who threaten violence. From there, nothing else will be spoiled, just know that Cobra gets involved, there is a cup fight, Samara Weaving has a bathroom fight, and we get to meet some beautiful ancient creatures. 

Most importantly, Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Iko Uwais, Karuka Abe all shine. They are legit actors who must’ve trained hard for this film. All of their fights (when we can see them) showcase their skills, and it would be nice to see a sequel that showcases their physical talents more. 

Final thoughts: Go watch it, and support the excellent actors.

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