Run Time: 2 Hours 1 Minute
Genre: Action, Adventure
Snake Eyes opens with a scene of a young boy and his father. Retreating to a safe house, the boy is awoken in the middle of the night due to an attack. Instructed to hide by his father, the killer breaches the house and holds the father captive. To survive, the killer gives the father a pair of dice to roll. When the father rolls, a pair of ones, or snake eyes, appear. The boy attempts to save his father, but the attempt is in vain. Skipping forward 20 years, the young boy takes up the name Snake Eyes and participates in an underground fight club. There, he is recruited into the Yakuza by Kenta. That is where his story begins during his tale of vengeance.
Snake Eyes is our protagonist and after witnessing his father’s murder grows up fighting in the streets trying to get to be a better fighter. Snake Eyes has one goal in life and that is to avenge his father and find the killer so he is willing to compromise his morals to achieve said goal. We see he can be focused, well disciplined, and smart but his anger can tend to pull him to be a darker side. Tommy is an honorable man who is trained in martial arts and is all about respect. After being saved by Snake Eyes he decides to bring him in and train him as a way to show his thanks. He too has an emotional side that can drive him to go too far but that’s what makes him and Snake Eyes great friends.
Alright, Snake Eyes time. Now, before we start, I have to say that I never really grew up with the G.I. Joe series. I also have a soft spot for katanas, so this movie has already tickled my fancy since the first trailer.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about Snake Eyes.
As usual, the negatives to start. The first thing I noticed was some of the earlier fight scenes felt choppy due to constantly changing camera angles. The camera would move sporadically, which made each fight feel a bit rough. Besides that, I also wish there was a bit of blood in this movie. For a movie with a bunch of fight scenes, the lack of blood made the movie feel a bit childish. I would have enjoyed some extra grit in the fights. Besides the fights, there were plenty of times throughout the movie that felt slow. The pacing in some areas kind of fades, however, most of this is fixed in the last act of the movie.
Now, positives. I know I mentioned the choppiness was annoying in some fights, but there were some fights that I genuinely enjoyed. For one, the fight scene in the beginning mused shaky cam quite well. The blows from each strike were conveyed perfectly. The fight scenes near the end smooth out as well. With less camera angle changes, the fights move fluidly. Besides fights, the characters were amazing. The actors did a good job bringing each character to life and I loved watching all the interactions. Each character was given a moment to shine, which is something I appreciate.
Overall, Snake Eyes was a fun movie to watch. Even though I’m not well verse in the G.I. Joe universe, I still enjoyed everything the movie had to offer. Besides a few choppy fights, slight confusion in plot, and some slow moments, Snake Eyes was still a joy to watch, and anyone who knows the series should check it out.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
My favourite moment in Snake Eyes is when the fight scene starting from the tunnel begins. That whole fight felt smooth, and action packed. Compared to some of the earlier fights that felt choppy, this one felt whole and complete. It also featured all the characters fighting. I especially loved when the grandmother started fighting as well.
Snake Eyes was a pretty darn good action movie, but it had some glaring flaws. I thought the characters were spectacular, and the way they were developed was great. It has twists and turns, and some really great character moments. We went in directions I would have never seen coming, and I thought the emotional moments were great. While this movie hangs on the action scenes, I thought they were pretty bad, to begin with. The camera work was sloppy, and it was hard to watch. The shaky-cam can be well used, but when I can’t see what is happening in the first two major action scenes, that’s not awesome. It gets a lot better as the movie progresses, but it’s a rough way to start this movie.
The plot follows the normal pattern we see in an action movie, fast-slow fast. Snake Eyes jumps out to a hot start with an interesting plot, filled with character interactions and great moments. The middle chunk isn’t bad, but it isn’t nearly as good as the start or the end. I found myself struggling to keep up with the plot at times, and feeling a little bit bored. That feeling does shake itself off as we lead into the last half an hour. The action is fantastic, and the way this movie ends is fantastic. I don’t want to discuss it too much, but I loved the way it opened a few doors for G.I. Joe moving forward.
Snake Eyes is a pretty good movie that starts off shaky, no pun intended, but then finds its footing. The middle hour isn’t the most entertaining for an action movie, but it’s still enjoyable and the ending makes up for it. Some of the stunts were remarkable and it was fun to watch the sword fights. With the reopening of theatres, this is a pretty fun one.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
My favourite moment is kind of a multiple part moment. I thought the snakes were so damn cool. The way they were in tune with each other, super intense, and the way everything slowed down was just super cool. That was the greatest part of this movie hands down. You could pick which snake scene was better, but I loved them all.
To start with a flaw this movie has is that this is almost exactly the type of film I thought I was going to get and while sometimes that’s perfect this felt unoriginal. The story has been done before and while I still think it was done well very few of the plot developments were surprising to me. I have seen a bit of previous G.I. Joe content so I know a bit about Snake Eyes and I did enjoy the references and I liked seeing the way they set up the character and his future companions for the rest of the series. The characters were easily the best part of the film with Henry Golding doing a great job as the titular character as he was an interesting and dynamic character with an inherent flaw that I enjoyed seeing him overcome. Tommy played by Andrew Koji was also an interesting character and I thought his character’s arc in the story was well done and it felt justified. The action is also quite good in this film except for a few of the action scenes in the middle which had a lot of shaky-cam making it hard to see what was going on or to focus on the great stunt work that was being done. Not despite me saying I did not love the story I always love a training movie where we see a character go through challenges designed to test them and I really thought the challenges in this were quite interesting and intense. I would say that I felt the film ended on a high note with a cool climax and an easy setup for future installments.
All in all, this is a good, if not a bit predictable, film with some great characters and cool action that makes for a good time. So if you’re looking for a new action film this certainly provides entertainment.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
I really enjoyed the fight on top of the cars in the third act as I thought the action became more focused and clear and I thought there were some cool stunts. I also liked the reluctance of Tommy’s truce with him saying to Snake-Eyes that this wasn’t over.