by Lindsay Bahr | The Associated Press
Henry Golding has an undeniable screen presence. She’s beautiful, sure. There are many actors. But Golding also has that effortless charisma that the biggest movie stars have. It’s no surprise that he was raised from relative, travel show host obscurity to film fame with only one role in “Crazy Rich Asians,” and his name often popped up as a fan choice for the next James Bond. Comes. If the forces of Hollywood don’t mess it up, he’s going to be around for quite some time.
It should also come as no surprise that the industry would capitalize on his moment of success and knock on him with some piece of intellectual property. Unfortunately that IP piece is “Snake Eyes,” an origin story about a GI Joe character who completely misunderstands the star’s appeal. Goulding isn’t the right actor for the role. He’s not bad at all, just misrepresented and misused. And despite the novel trimmings and flashes around him, his character is pretty generic.
“Snake Eyes” has a few things going for it. For one, the names Cobra and GI Joe aren’t spoken for about an hour. Credited screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos, Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel have some understanding that the GI Joe Association alone isn’t enough to bring regular film audiences to theaters. And it’s a breath of fresh air after seeing Atlanta and Vancouver be destroyed over and over again in superhero movies that are taken to Tokyo, where director Robert Schwentke (RED, RIPD) makes sure to shoot both neon and ancient with love. Huh. He leads our rising hero to the Golden Guy and creatively uses the small alley for a fun fight.
In fact, if you can make it to the Tokyo section, which takes about half an hour to arrive, you’ll be in for quite a fun ride as Snake Eyes begins training with an ancient Japanese clan called the Arshikage. . In the unnecessarily dull first part, we learn that the snake-eyed father was murdered in front of him when he was a boy, since he spent his life living in the streets and filling fish with weapons for Jacob. He has lived and saved the life of Arshikage’s heir, Tommy (Andrew Koji).
Is he naturally a good fighter? Did he have training? You won’t learn that answer in “Snake Eyes,” but pretty soon both Arshikage and another well-established crime syndicate are using him as their muscle and brain. In other words, his climb through these established ranks is dangerously fast.
This backstory also requires Goulding to imbue an unsophisticated American accent, which is a stretch and a mistake. His “isn’t” isn’t any “isn’t” like you’ve ever heard before. While this can be forgiven, he is not the first Brit to be in over his head in this regard. The real sin is that snake eyes as a character are so deadly. He’s hardly a personality. She is purely driven by revenge and doesn’t seem to have to work so hard at anything.
It’s disappointing because she’s actually surrounded by some fairly interesting characters, like the naive but arrogant Tommy, who is desperate for his grandmother’s approval (Eri plays Ishida Sen, who leads the clan). And so is Akiko, played by Haruka Abe, who is not a blood relation in the clan, but has grown through skill and patience to become one of the trusted inner circle. It would have been more interesting to focus on any of these women’s stories and hopefully we’ll see Abe again on screen soon.
Ip finally comes to take over the story and we meet the Baroness of Ursula Corbero, a Cobra agent, and Scarlett, a “Joe,” played by Samara Weaving, who marvels at the role as usual without any expectations. does. However, like many toy-based films, “Snake Eyes” may bet too high on audiences who care more about Jose’s connections to the wider universe than the story in front of him.
2 out of 4 stars
Rating: PG-13 (for scenes of strong violence, brief strong language)
running time: 122 minutes