Another chance to capitalize from a toy brand begun in the 1960s by Hasbro is this ‘prequel’ from director Robert Schwentke (Red and R.I.P.D)
Snake Eyes with smaller subtitling ‘G.I. Joe Origins’ in its advertising refrains from the heavy-duty visual effects. Well, there’s the shiny, magical jewel of a deadly MacGuffin and computer-generated mammoth anacondas. But, this Henry Golding starrer (he pleased many distaff audiences in Crazy Rich Asians) takes its time through betrayals, trusts and retribution in standard-issue, uninspired fashion.
The moniker comes from what he witnessed as a lad (Max Archibald) when an assassin (Samuel Finzi), with his loaded dice determined the demise of his father (Steven Allerick).
A couple of decades hereafter the underground fighter (Golding) is drawn into a shadowy, illicit yakuza enterprise by its boss Kenta, a glowering Takehiro Hiro. Supposedly, a peculiar gun smuggling ring will get him what drives him to his closure. But, coming to the aid of the chieftain’s turncoat Tommy is an heir to the custodian of the precious jewel outside Tokyo in a walled compound, his grandmother (Eri Ishida).
The script concocted by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse, has the dashing, though conflicted eponymous protagonist going through a series of crucibles from Tommy’s nomination. Noted martial artist Iko Uwais is Hard Master, Peter Mensah is Blind Master and Haruko Abe is security head Akiko who’’ll make sure if he’s worthy of inclusion.
Remember those imposing, slithering reptiles?
Yet, where Kenta’s allegiances really ie given who he turns out to e allows Snake be a parts of his scheme against the clan through extremists known as Cobra with their Baroness (Ursula Corbero) emoting in ultra-high heels. The Baroness is trailed by Samara Weaving’s Scarletts, a member of the G. I. Joes, a kind of justice league to which Snake’s dad once belonged.
Schwentke and his writers adorn it all in a kind of artificially solemn way that includes outrageous chase sequences but more martial-arts and swordplay that will easily pass muster with devoted fans of the series (that previously included actors Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park as Snake Eyes, and Sienna Miller as the Baroness).