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‘Snake Eyes’ a winner of a summer action flick


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Ingredients for the perfect summer movie include the following:

  • An attractive cast who play their roles well enough not to distract you from the plot.
  • Exotic locales.
  • A lot of action. A seriously large dollop of action.
  • Something visually stimulating to look at, whether it’s pretty cinematography or epic spectacle.
  • An explosion or two.
  • A brisk, engaging pace. It can never be boring.

I’m happy to report that “Snakes Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” has just about everything listed above, making it just about as much fun as I’ve had at the movies in 2021.

“Snake Eyes” follows the titular character (Henry Golding) as he is brought into the Arashikage clan by his friend, Tommy (Andrew Koji). While trying to pass tests to become a full-fledged member of the clan, he stumbles across a plot involving a worldwide network of villainy.

There are three major reasons why “Snake Eyes” works as well as it does. First, Golding is a terrific actor with a ton of charisma. As written, Snake Eyes isn’t all that interesting of a character but Golding does a great job playing thoughtful moments so you can actually see his thought process play out across his face. It’s a better performance than a silly action flick like this deserves.

Secondly, “Snake Eyes” has the visual sizzle to keep audiences engaged. Most of the film takes place in Japan and there is rarely a plain-looking frame. Scenes shot at the Arashikage castle are majestic. Scenes taking place in the woods around the castle have an eerie beauty to them. Sequences set in downtown Tokyo are filled with vivid, colorful neon bringing the frame to life. There’s always something interesting to look at in this flick.

Third, while the action scenes aren’t groundbreaking, they are well-performed and always feature that little extra something that makes them memorable. From the neon-soaked shoot-out and duel between Tommy and bad guy Kenta (Takehiro Hira) to a punch-up staged in a restroom to a fight that takes place on a moving car hauler trailer, “Snake Eyes” has a ton of well-staged, easy-to-follow action.

While all that stuff is great, what really puts “Snakes Eyes” over the top is that its stakes are more personal and easy to relate to. Too many big action films end with the heroes trying to stop some world-ending weapon from wiping out all life as we know it.

The world is on the line in “Snake Eyes,” too, but first, they have to stop Kenta and save the Arashikage family. It’s hard to feel anything about the complete cessation of life on Planet Earth but it’s easy to relate to wanting to put the smackdown on someone who is messing with your family. Because “Snake Eyes” keeps the stakes smaller and more personal, they’re more relatable and thus more effective.

“Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” is as fun as summer movies get. You get gun-toting, sword-swinging action along with a great performance from a young star with a ton of potential. If you’re looking for a movie that’s a good time from start to finish, look no further.

3 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on