Recently, I’ve been keeping track of a new upcoming movie for one of my ( and many others) favourite G.I. Joe characters, Snake Eyes. The franchise has been on the back burner since the lackluster G.I. Joe – Retaliation from 2013, starring Dwayne Johnson, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, DJ Cortrona, Elodie Yung and Ray Park. I personally liked the movie. I know a lot of people didn’t for various reasons. Lots of critics cited the incomprehensible story line, the ridiculous amount of CGI and the lack of depth to the story but did praise the choreography and the overall fun that the movie provides. There was also brief talk for a few hot months about Hasbro making a crossover film featuring both G.I. Joe and their Transformers properties, which they’ve done multiple times in comic form. Obviously, I want to see it in live action but come on…this would never have worked! They’re two completely different properties with very little in common. It’s the same as Sony announcing a crossover between MIB (Men in Black) and the Jump Street franchise (21 & 22). Honestly, who thought of that shit? but I digress….
This upcoming Snake Eyes movie is set to be released in time for my birthday in October and I for one am very excited to see it. I am a little disappointed that Ray Park will not be reprising the role of Snake Eyes for the movie, but for obvious reasons I understand the choice. In the previous live action Joe movies, Snake Eyes was his fully formed and ready Ninja Commando that we all know and love. He had already taken his vow of silence and wore a mask that he never takes off, so casting Park was easy. This movie is going to focus on his origins past the original toy line where he was a blonde haired, blue eyed Caucasian commando. For the spin-off film, Hasbro and Paramount, decided to go with a more ethnic depiction of the character to fit with the modern societal climate and have cast, Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) in the title role. The film will also star: Andrew Koji (Peaky Blinders) as Storm Shadow, Iko Uwais (Mile 22, The Raid franchise) as Hard Master, Úrsula Corberó Delgado (La Casa de Papel “Money Heist” on Netflix) as Baroness and Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) as Scarlett.
Time to run through a quick history of our favourite Ninja Commando, yes… that’s actually what he is called in the franchise. There’s regular commandos and when those aren’t enough… there’s Ninja Commandos!
*This history is based off his original “Real American Hero” origin*
Snake Eyes was a member of the LLRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) during the Vietnam War. He was just one of several members in his unit with other notable members being Stalker and Storm Shadow. While on patrol, the unit was attacked and only Snake Eyes, Stalker and Storm Shadow made it out. Snake Eyes always carried a photo of his twin sister with him believing that if nothing happened to the photo he would come home in one piece. After they called for evac and were moving to board the chopper, the enemy had tracked them and attacked again. Snake Eyes was hit and the photo he treasured was damaged by the bullet that dropped him. Thinking that Snake Eyes had died from his injury, Stalker told the chopper to take off. Storm Shadow refused to believe that Snake Eyes was dead (they shared a very close friendship) and so Storm Shadow charged through the fray, killing dozens of enemies to recover Snake Eyes and bring him back to the chopper for evac. When he returned home after some recovery time at a field hospital, he found his family was not waiting for him at the airport as they had promised they would. He stood there waiting for 4 hours before a young Commander Hawk arrived to tell him that his family had been killed in a car accident when they were struck by another veteran who was high at the time.
Snake Eyes found that his life in America would never be the same. He was constantly ridiculed and targeted by anti-war protesters who would shout and spit at him calling him names like “baby killer”. He decided to accept an offer that Storm Shadow had offered him during their last tour to work with his family in Japan. Snake Eyes left the USA to train with the Arashikage Clan in Japan. Under the tutelage of the Hard Master and the Soft Master, Snake Eyes excelled in his ninjitsu training and in several instances proved to be better than Storm Shadow “Young Master”. Despite being the better fighter, Snake Eyes would sometimes let Storm Shadow win during sparring matches to save face in front of his family. While Snake Eyes was better in hand to hand combat, Storm Shadow was much better with the bow. The Hard Master took an interest in Snake Eyes and was training him privately in the “Blind Sword” technique (using sound to fight your enemy in near complete darkness). Storm Shadow shot hard master with a bow and fled the scene leaving Snake Eyes to stand over his mentors body. The Clan disbanded after that with Snake Eyes returning to America to live in seclusion in the High Sierras with a wolf named Timber for company.
Stalker and Hawk were forming the Joe team when Stalker mentioned they should try and recruit Snake Eyes. Hawk reluctantly agreed and they tracked Snake Eyes to his cabin where he was returning from hunting rabbits with his bare hands. Hawk and Stalker convinced Snake Eyes to join G.I. Joe and Snake Eyes left Timber up at his cabin to watch over things until he returned. Through the initial recruitment, Snake Eyes met Scarlett who was training the new recruits. After letting her win a sparring match, they became fast friends. Secretly, Scarlett hoped that something more would come out of their friendship even after Snake eyes told her she reminds him of his sister.
LOSING HIS VOICE
Cobra operatives had taken a hostage and were threatening to kill them on live TV, so Hawk dispatched a strike team to assault the compound and rescue the hostage. The strike team consisted of two helicopters filled with operatives, one of the helicopters had Scarlett and Snake Eyes leading the charge. As they approached the facility Snake Eyes’ chopper began to experience malfunctions and started spinning. The Pilot ordered a bail out but Scarlett got stuck on her web gear which had become entangled on the door of the chopper. Snake Eyes refused to leave her and stayed to try and help her get free when the helicopters collided in the air. The fuel was ignited as it sprayed on Snake Eyes’ face and neck giving him third degree burns and massive trauma to his vocal chords. He managed to get Scarlett free of the crash unscathed but when he was found by Hawk and Stalker things didn’t look good for him. Doc urged Snake Eyes to undergo immediate surgery so they could hopefully save his vocal chords and facial skin, but that would mean nobody could rescue the hostage and Cobra would win. Despite the doctor’s orders, Snake Eyes convinced Hawk to let him assault the compound to rescue the hostage. Snake Eyes joined Stalker and together they assaulted the compound by themselves and rescued the hostage. Snake Eyes spent 6 months in a hospital trying to get the function back in vocal chords and to hopefully mend some of the damage done to his face, to no avail. He was offered to retire with a full pension but he refused knowing the only person he had in his life was Scarlett.
Snake Eyes went on to work with the G.I. Joe team for several years and even solved the murder of Hard Master (Zartan had murdered him not Storm Shadow as previously thought), though it was sadly after his best friend/rival Storm Shadow had been killed by Baroness. As it stands Snake Eyes is one of the most active members of the Joe roster and has appeared in every iteration of the team.
WEAPONS & ARMOUR
Snake Eyes was known to employ a wide wariety of weapons in his various missions and adventures. That being said he did always have certain staples that he kept with him during every mission:
- Dual Colt 1911 .45 caliber hand guns
- M67 Hand grenades
- CUMA Tak-Rl Knife in a Nylon Sheath
- Uzi sub-machine gun with several extra magazines (MP7 in live action portrayals)
- Mikimoto Sword
- Compass (gifted to him by Scarlett, traditionally a 1932 German Wehrmacht compass)
- Lock pick set
- Kevlar body armour
- Cargo pants
- Combat boots
- Full face mask with black visor
- Armoured gloves
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE MOVIE
Not much has been released about the movie but we do know that it will focus on Snake Eyes’ origin and his recruitment into G.I. Joe. With the production of the film having moved over to Japan after filming in Canada wrapped, it’s safe to say we may be getting the exact origin that I described from the “Real American Hero” series. The stunt team and cast that they have assembled is definitely an indicator of the level of choreography that we can expect from the movie. I am hoping for a lot of great ninja fights and some epic (and frankly ridiculous) stakes that forge Snake Eyes into the badass ninja we all know and love.
It’s unclear if this movie will link to the previous G.I. Joe movies or if we will be getting a soft reboot much in the same vein that Bumblebee rebooted the Transformers franchise from the “Baygasm” it used to be. Yes, I said “Baygasm”. That’s all it is. Michael Bay only cares about explosions, fast cars, hot girls and his blue lens filter. Seriously, watch all his movies. Every single one has all of those things listed and lacks everything that makes most movies actually good.
Trashing Michael Bay aside (6 Underground was actually pretty good), Snake Eyes looks to be the shot of adrenaline the franchise needs to bring it back from the brink of studio death.
Snake Eyes is set to release on October 16, 2020.