Based on the comic book series and popular action figure G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins starts off with a lit fuse that never fizzles from the first frame. Starring ‘Crazy Rich Asian’ Henry Golding, this film catapults him into superhero star status immediately. Snake, who watches his Dad (Steven Allerick) burn to death at the hands of assassins, makes it his life’s mission to to avenge that gross injustice. After gaining a prominent lead, he arrives in Japan and is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent (Andrew Koji). Due to an immense amount of trust, the ways of the ninja warrior are bestowed upon him while also providing something he’s been longing for…a place to call home. Honor and allegiance will be tested even at the price of losing the trust of those closest to him.
Directed by Robert Schwentke, action, intrigue and thrills are never lost within this 121 minute roller coaster ride through faith, trust and loyalty. Everything from the casting (Margery Simkin) to the screenplay (Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse) laden with a little humor at just the right moments to the production design (Alec Hammond and David Meyer) to the exquisite costume design (Louise Mingenbach) is top notch.
All of it only pales in comparison to the razor sharp performances from Andrew Koji (Storm Shadow), Úrsula Corberó (Baroness), Haruka Abe (Akiko), Samara Weaving (Scarlett), Eri Ishida (Obake) and led by the fantabulous Henry Golding in the title role.
The stunts are insane including one memorable scene in which Koji literally fights off a whole room with arms being handcuffed behind his back. Not to sound cliché, but being a ginormous fan of the legendary Bruce Lee, I was immediately transported into my first time witnessing martial arts on film with Enter The Dragon. It was a feeling not been duplicated until Andrew Koji inhabited Storm Shadow. His skills are epic and on a whole other level…seriously. Between his stellar acting and fighting, there literally aren’t enough adjectives for me to give him the proper accolades. Henry Golding is no slouch! My man is holding his own and then some. I could definitely use more Snake and Storm in my cinematic life.
Every warrior has a weakness, but it is not in the form of my ninja warrior sista’s Eri Ishida, Úrsula Corberó, Haruka Abe or Samara Weaving. The combo of these ladies was giving me Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on steroids!! Eri Ishida proves that age truly is a mindset, Úrsula is whooping tail in what looks to be at least 6-8 inch stiletto boots and there are simple no words left for the fierceness of Haruka or Samara. Their sheer presence as warrior women who for not one second are treated as second class citizens or subservient was worth the price of admission alone for me. Between the shish-kabob knife truck scene, bowl of water challenge and anaconda snake surprise, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will leave you breathless and wanting more and more when it slithers into theaters on July 23rd.