“Snake Eyes” is quintessentially that deflating moment when a bad guy or gal — or a good guy etc. — hisses “This isn’t over.” And your heart sinks because of how dismayingly dull the movie’s been up to that point, with the threat of more to come.
This G.I. Joe universe “origin story” has so little going for it that you give yourself a headache wondering “Who thought this was a good idea?”
This isn’t fan-generated “Give us RYAN REYNOLDS as DEADPOOL,” or anything the universe ordained, just an outgrowth of a Hasbro toy/comic book/TV cartoon property that’s produced crap movies that made money. Somehow.
The screenplay gives us yet another tale of a boy who “sees his father killed” — Google that phrase — and who vows revenge on the killer, after he grows up and becomes Henry Golding of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Gentlemen.”
All the kid remembers is that Dad’s killer (Samuel Finzi) stole his overcoat from Elton John and made his father roll a pair of dice to decide his fate. But that keeps the lad going for decades, getting by as a bare knuckle, underground MMA brawler.
Seen that before, maybe sixty times? Google that, too.
Snake Eyes throws in with a yakuza thug (Takehiro Hira), then with a young heir (Andrew Koji) to a Japanese ninja clan, all with an idea of finishing the job of tracking down the Eastern European who rolled the dice and executed his father.
We’re treated to derivative, sleep-inducing “tests” that might allow admission to the clan and intrigues and double-crosses that eventually introduce assorted G.I. Joe characters —
Úrsula Corberó is the Baroness, Samara Weaving is Scarlett.
Snake Eyes appears to be a ninja in training in some scenes, and some supernaturally-gifted master of martial arts and Bugs Bunny physics in many others. Is he a pupil of “Hard Master” (Iko Uwais, not bad) and “Blind Master” (Peter Mensah) or not?
A magical talisman sits at the end of the rainbow — or locked in a super-secure vault in a building no one bothers to lock.
If this picture had anything to it, it might have furthered Golding’s transition from sensitive romantic lead to tough guy. It doesn’t. He manages the fight choreography well enough, and looks at home on the assorted seriously-sharp electric motorcycles (and cars) trotted out for product placement purposes.
What kind of whisky do the villains drink? Stay for the after-credits teaser for that.
Blase villains and seriously underwhelming supporting players flesh out a supporting cast that is in no danger of upstaging our lead.
Sorry for any feelings that get hurt over this, but as source material goes, this feeble-minded garbage makes even the weakest “comic book movie” seem like a loving adaptation of a literary classic.
There isn’t an original idea in “Snake Eyes,” so even if the first big brawl is cool enough to give one false hope, the puerile story leaves our star and the director of “RED” (and “R.I.P.D.”) nowhere to go, even on a cool, whining electric street bike.
Pretty much from the get-go, “Snake Eyes” craps out.
MPA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of strong violence and brief strong language
Cast: Henry Golding, Haruka Abe, Samara Weaving, Andrew Koji, Peter Mensah, Samuel Finzi
Credits: Directed by Robert Schwentke, script by Evan Spiliotopoulus, Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel. A Paramount release.
Running time: 2:01