There are two questions you must ask before watching “Snake Eyes”:
Is “Snake Eyes” a good movie? Yes.
Is “Snake Eyes” a good G.I.: Joe film? No.
Hasbro’s G.I. Joe film adaptations have not had a good track record with fans of the uber-popular franchise. 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and 2013’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” were both panned by fans and didn’t make a dent in the box office. After eight years, all the interest for another Joe film had evaporated, but that didn’t stop Paramount Pictures from making a third addition to the franchise.
The latest G.I. Joe project has its share of controversy. First and foremost, actor Henry Golding was cast as the main character of Snake Eyes, which signaled a complete change in the character’s origin story. That meant that “Snake Eyes” didn’t follow any of the backstories of the popular character.
G.I. Joe fans will have a hard time coping with the fact that “Snake Eyes” takes the backstory of one of the most popular characters in the franchise and tosses it out the window. Paramount Pictures separated the character so far away from the source material they would have been better off creating their own standalone character from scratch. In addition, the film can’t decide if they want him to be a hero or a villain. The shade of gray screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos tries to play makes audiences unable to connect with Golding’s character and achieves the opposite effect by making you sympathize with the film’s villains.
Snake Eyes overuses the gimmick of shaky cam to emphasize the impact of its action scenes. The film is also about 15 minutes too long, and the pacing is affected by scenes that are nothing but filler. That includes two characters: Samara Weaving as Scarlett and Úrsula Corberó as Baroness. These ladies are inserted into the story at the midway point as a bone to Joe fans, but neither character achieves anything that justifies their place in the story.
“Snake Eyes” is an enjoyable martial arts film with a lot of similarities to Japanese and South Korean thrillers, as long as you ignore the fact that this is supposed to be about a storied G.I. Joe character. The less you know about the G.I. Joe lore, the more you will like this film.