Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is a G.I. Joe series film released on July 23, 2021 from Paramount Pictures. The film focuses on the character of Snake Eyes, depicting his origin story before he became the silent character fans know today, also exploring the relationship between his character and that of Storm Shadow. It is reboot of the live-action film continuity and is not canon to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins stars Henry Golding as Snake Eyes, a loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he's been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes' honor and allegiance will be tested, even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
The film opens with Snake Eyes in an all-out, no-rules cage fight before moving on to explore the character's inner struggles.
The film is rated PG-13, with scenes of strong violence and brief strong language.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Development
- 3 Miscellaneous trivia
- 4 Promotion
- 5 Reception
- 6 Deleted scenes
- 7 Home video
- 8 Stats
- 9 Cast
- 10 Images
- 11 Videos
- 12 External links
- 13 References
20 years past...
20 years ago, in the state of Washington, a young boy is walking in the woods with his father. The father hears a noise, but dismisses it for the moment. He chats with his son, who overheard the cabine they’re headed for referred to as a “safe house.” They arrive there and settle in. That evening, however, the cabin is attacked by a group of men. The father and the boy try to flee, but the father eventually leaves the boy in a room, telling him not to move.
The father is then cornered by the men. They force him to surrender his weapons and then take inside another room. There, they tell him he must roll a pair of dice for his life. Seeing him roll snake eyes, the leader of the group tells him that the house always wins. He moves to shoot the man, but Snake Eyes charges from his room, briefly disorienting them, but unable to do anything to truly stop them. The father tells him to run, which he does. The leader then shoots the father in the head, which Snake Eyes hears outside, hiding at the edge of the forest. The men then light the house on fire and exit.
A fateful decision
20 years later, the boy from before is now a cage fighter in underground clashes. He has taken on the name “Snake Eyes” in memory of his father. He sticks around long enough until everyone stops betting on him, then moves on to the next match. Though he seems to be losing his current match, he gains the upper hand and defeats a larger opponent. He is then approached by a man named Kenta, who asks him to come to work for him. Snake Eyes initially refuses, knowing that the man is in a shady line of work. He, however, agrees after the man promises info about the man who killed his father.
Weeks later, Snake Eyes is working at the docks of Los Angeles, placing weapons inside large fish to be smuggled to Japan. He is called out by Kenta, who wants him to prove his loyalty by killing a man named Tommy. He explains that Tommy once betrayed him and is also his cousin. Snake Eyes hesitates and Kenta tells him there are certain things he must do to get what he wants. However, Snake Eyes misses the shot on purpose and fights along with Tommy to escape. Tommy tries to kill Kenta, but does not manage to do so. The group is eventually cornered in a truck, its windows repeatedly stabbed by swords. The LAPD eventually intervenes and Snake Eyes passes out due to lack of blood.
When Snake Eyes wakes up, he finds himself in Tommy’s private jet. There, Tommy asks him why he saved him. He tells him that he looked into his eyes and saw honor. Tommy tells him that there is no going back, that he is now Kenta’s enemy. He tells him that he is taking him back home, but when Snake Eyes asks exactly where that is, he only smiles. They make it to Tokyo, where he is presented to the Arashikage Clan at the Arashikage Castle. Tommy introduces himself formally as Tomisaburo "Tommy" Arashikage of the Arashikage Clan. He explains that the clan seeks to defeat evil with their ninjas and has been protecting Japan for hundreds of years. Tommy introduces him to his grandmother Sen, the leader of the clan and Akiko, head of security. They tell him that he can live with them and become part of the clan if he is able to pass three tests. They warn him that if he fails the third test, he will die. Akiko expresses concern about an outsider being brought into the clan and doubt that Snake Eyes can pass any of the tests.
Testing and revelations
After being given a bit of time to rest, Snake Eyes begins the first test. He is told that in order to pass the tests, he must release his arrogance. For the test, he faces a very respected member of the clan named Hard Master. With the other members of the clan watching on, Hard Master tells Snake Eyes that he is weak and will be easy to beat. Rather than grabbing a weapon, he grabs two bowls and fills them with water. He then tells Snake Eyes that he must grab the bowl he is holding without spilling any water, while he attempts to do the same to Snake Eyes. If he fails four times, then he has failed the test. Snake Eyes tries three times coming at Hard Master with force, only to fail each time. He then recalls the words he was told before the test. He simply walks up to Snake Eyes, requesting politely to exchange bowls with him. Hard Master agrees and the others smile at him having passed the first test.
That evening, Tommy gives Snake Eyes a new katana, an ancient blade of the clan, Morning Light. He tells him of the “Jewel of the Sun,” which his clan vowed to never use, even though it had been given to them in order to protect and serve. He explains that the clan believes in defeating their opponents with honor. That evening, Snake Eyes leaves the castle, using a motorcycle that Tommy agreed to let him ride. He is watched by Akiko, who is still distrusting. After traveling some distance, he visits Kenta. There, Kenta praises him for getting in with the Arashikage, mocking Tommy for his trust in Snake Eyes. He tells Snake Eyes that he wants the Jewel of the Sun. Snake Eyes tells him that he has been tasked to pass three tests and the third could be lethal. Kenta warns him to get the Jewel before that happens if he ever wants to get back at his father’s killer.
Tommy returns to the temple, where he must take the second test. He is told that the test will reveal his weakness and that he must overcome it if he is ever to pass the third test. Blind Master leads him into a forest, telling him that it is a test he must face alone. He releases a floating light, which Tommy follows into a large glowing orb. There, he faces the memory of his childhood and the burning cabin. He is then approached by his father. He apologizes for not having saved him, but his father tells him that it is alright, that he was only a child. He tells him that he forgives him and that there was nothing he could do.
After the second test, Snake Eyes is approached by Akiko. The two spar with each other, Akiko promising that she’ll reveal more of her past to him if he can land a blow on her with the blade given to him by Tommy. He faces off against her, but is only able to win using dishonorable tactics, so she does not reveal anything. She is then summoned by Tommy, who has learned that Kenta is back in Japan and is smuggling weapons. He goes to confront him, and Tommy asks to come along. When they get there, they discover that Kenta is in league with a group called Cobra, an international terrorist organization with loosely aligned cells throughout the world. They also learn that Kenta is working with a woman called Ana Decobray, or the Baroness, who killed a U.S. legislator as well as two-hundred civilians in a terrorist attack. Tommy decides they need more help to fight them and calls in Scarlett, a member of an international group of crime-fighters called the G.I. Joe.
Not what he signed up for
They return to the castle, but Snake Eyes sneaks out again, this time pursued by Akiko. He manages to shake her and this time meets up with Kenta and Baroness in a fortified underground bunker. He tells them that he didn’t sign up to be part of a terrorist organization like Cobra and that he wants out. Kenta and Baroness, however, show him a video of the man who killed his father being imprisoned by him. They warn him that if he does not secure the Jewel for them, they will simply release him. With no choice, Snake Eyes again returns to the castle. There, he meets again with Akiko. The two talk and she admits to having been taken in by the clan as a youngster and that they are everything to her. In return, he tells her that his father was killed when he was a young man.
He then takes on the third test. He is told that he must be pure of heart to pass and is made to enter a pit. There he faces off against three ancient anacondas. They sniff at and he centers himself. Things seem to be okay at first, but then the snakes lash out, then coil around him. They have detected that he is not pure of heart. Seeing this, Akiko leaps in to save him. Afterwards, he returns to the castle’s gathering area, where he is told only the full truth will save him. He admits that he has not been honest, that his heart is full of vengeance for the man who killed his father. Sen tells him that for telling the truth, his life will be spared. Afterwards, he meets with Tommy, who tells him that they could have been brothers. Snake Eyes tries to return the sword Tommy gave him, offering his life. Instead, the two cut hands in a bond of blood and shake on it. Snake Eyes leaves, carrying a handkerchief with Tommy’s blood.
That evening, Snake Eyes purposely triggers the castle’s alarm systems. He watches as Tommy and Akiko enter the temple where the Jewel of the Sun is being kept. After they exit, he slips in and uses Tommy’s blood to bypass the security. As he exits, he finds Akiko waiting at the door. She comments that she really did want to trust him, then tries to take the jewel back. She loses and Tommy makes his way to Kenta and the Baroness. There, he hands over the Jewel, and Kenta demonstrates its power by using it to instantly kill a man, incinerating him with fire. He then points to the shack containing the killer of Snake Eye’s father, before departing with the Baroness.
Snake Eyes enters the shack and removes the veil covering the man within. He tells the man that he killed his father, but the man says that he’s killed so many that he’ll have to be more specific. He then shows the man the charred die, which have been rigged to always come up snake eyes. He tells the man to roll for his life and, sure enough, he rolls snake eyes. Snake Eyes then moves to kill him, but before he does so, asks why he killed his father. He replies simply that when Cobra tells you to do something, you do it. Shocked, Snake Eyes realizes that he himself has been working for the group who killed his father. He grabs his sword, but instead of killing the man, he slashes he handcuffs binding him. He then leaves the shack in pursuit of Kenta and Baroness.
Enemies and allies, old and new
He gives chase in his motorcycle, fending off many of Kenta’s men. He ends up in a confrontation atop a car, where Akiko and Tommy see that he is fighting on their side. Despite this, Tommy, filled with rage, begins fighting him. Snake Eyes finally convinces him to stop, that they need to face their shared enemy. Meanwhile, at the castle, Kenta storms the place, killing many of the ninjas using the Jewel and setting things on fire. He corners Sen, but is unable to kill her because she keeps dodging. He eventually forces her inside the common area. There, he declares his supremacy over the clan. When, however, Baroness asks him to surrender the Jewel to her, he refuses. In response, the Baroness forms an alliance with Scarlett, declaring that they have a common enemy.
Snake Eyes, Tommy and Akiko finally arrive back at the temple. There, they pursue Kenta along with Sen. They eventually corner him and manage to deprive him of the Jewel. Tommy claims the jewel and faces off against him, but Sen warns him not to use the Jewel. However, when Kenta tries to flee, Tommy explodes in anger and tries to kill him, ending up blowing up a wall instead. Kenta flees into the forest and is pursued by Snake Eyes. There, Snake Eyes remembers what he was told: to release his arrogance in order to strike with honor. He manages to throw Kenta into the anaconda pit. There, Kenta manages to kill one of the anacondas, but is swiftly killed by the other two. Following this, the Arashikage Clan re-evaluates Snake Eyes. They judge him to be pure of heart, telling him he has passed the third test.
Tommy, however, is disgraced. His grandmother Sen announces that she will be the last Arashikage to lead the clan. She reminds Tommy that he had sworn an oath never to use the Jewel. Angered and enraged, he ignores their words that he will always have a home with them and leaves. He swears vengeance on both the clan and Snake Eyes.
Sometime later, Scarlett approaches Snake Eyes in his room. She tells him that his father had been a G.I. Joe agent just like she is. She invites him to join and follow the family tradition, handing him a file and telling him that her commander, General Joe Colton, wanted her to share it with him. Akiko asks him where he is going and he tells her that he is going to look for Tommy, to try to find him and bring him back. She hands him a bag, containing his iconic black outfit and helmet, which he dons before leaving.
Tommy gets on his private plane, only to find Baroness there. He puts his blade to her throat, but she tells him that she has an offer for him. She says that he lost an army, but she can offer him another, asking him to join Cobra. He accepts, telling her to call him Storm Shadow.
On March 20, 2021, it was reported that in the wake of the film's delayed release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reshoots were underway on the film. The news was announced by Henry Golding on YouTube. The film was originally scheduled for release on March 27, 2020 before being rescheduled a number of times due to the pandemic. In 2016, Paramount established a writers' room to leverage ideas for Hasbro properties, but nothing came of it. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated that while it was a good idea, it nevertheless didn't work very well. The producers toyed with multiple directors to try to keep the franchise going, including considering sequels for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, some of which remain in development. Another potential film centered around the character of the Baroness. The film's cast underwent intensive training in stunt and fight work with Fight Coordinator and 2nd Unit Director Kenji Tanigaki in order to lend authenticity to the film's intense action sequences.
- None of the cast from the previous G.I. Joe films are known to be returning for this installment. All characters which appeared previous installments are instead portrayed by new actors.
- The song featured in the trailer and promotional spots for the film is "New Level," by the rapper ASAP Ferg as a 2015 single, later featured on the 2016 album Always Strive and Prosper.
- The film is said to start as an Arishkage movie, with G.I. Joe and Cobra initially taking a backseat before revealing the larger world.
- The film takes the place of G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, which was originally announced to debut on the March 27, 2020 release date that was given to Snake Eyes. The COVID-19 pandemic further delayed developments on Ever Vigilant, which is said to have multiple scripts in development, though it is unclear how the new continuity introduced in Snake Eyes will affect it.
- A panel for the film was featured as the opening of the convention ComicCon@Home, featuring the film's major cast and hosted by Mari Takahashi. The panel included behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and other special content. The convention began July 23, with the panel, titled "Unmasking Snake Eyes: G.I. Origins" to take place at 1 P.M. eastern. The panel will feature special content and interviews with the film's major cast and crew. Snake Eyes will be the only major theatrical Hollywood film featured at the event.
- In association with Comic Con, Paramount Pictures offered early screenings for fans in the cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Miami, San Diego, Houston, Phoenix and Vancouver on July 21. Details on how to attend these screenings were made available on the film's Instagram account.
- A toy line was released in association with the film. Bleeding Cool News reviewed the toy line, describing it as a mixed bag, but nevertheless noting that the Classified line has seen sellout after sellout. They stated that the basic figures are a great idea, but miss a couple of key parts.
- On July 9, 2021, Paramount released a promo spot which parodies the PSA segments of the classic 80s cartoons, discussing the film's nature as an origin story rather than a "reboot" and which characters are and are not featured in the film.
- Despite the above, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura expressed confusion about the film being billed as a spinoff rather than reboot, stating that it was probably too late to change the messaging regarding this particular film but that they franchise could still be properly rebranded going forward.
Snake Eyes was largely panned by critics, though they had kind words for actor Henry Golding in the title role. As of the afternoon of July 26, 2021, the film currently holds a rating of 42% fresh on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The site's Critics Consensus feature states that "Far from silent and not particularly deadly, Snake Eyes serves as a step up for the G.I. Joe franchise, thanks in no small part to Henry Golding's work in the title role." The film received a B- CinemaScore from audiences and collected only $13.3 million in domestic box office in its opening weekend, beaten by the M. Night Shymalan film Old. The film fell 70% in its second weekend and ultimately received an accelerated release via streaming services.
At least two scenes are known to have been deleted from the film:
- A scene in with the Blind Master makes a "bonkers" slow-motion kill-shot one of the members of Kenta's organization that is attacking the Arashikage Castle. This scene was released online.
- A scene in which Baroness comments to Snake Eyes "I've been following you for sometime" and he asks if he knows her. She seductively replies "I know you, Snake Eyes," lowering her sunglasses. This scene was featured in the "Behind the Mask" trailer for the film.
Snake Eyes has been announced for accelerated home video release. The film was released digitally for purchase or rental the week of August 16, 2021 through all major providers. The film has been announced for release on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on October 19. A number of special features will be included, though none are included with the DVD release. Special features will include the following:
- Morning Light: A Weapon with Stories to Tell: Discover the secrets of Snake Eyes' legendary sword, Morning Light, in this all-new short film.
- Deleted Scenes: what you didn't see in theaters.
- Enter Snake Eyes - find out what it took to bring the iconic hero's origin story to life.
- A Deadly Ensemble: meet fan-favorite heroes, villains, and new characters in the G.I. Joe franchise.
- Arashikage: dive into the elite ninja warrior world of the Arashikage clan.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
|Henry Golding||Snake Eyes|
|Andrew Koji||Storm Shadow|
|Iko Uwais||Hard Master|
|Peter Mensah||Blind Master|
|Calum Dench||Soccer kid|
Comic book pieces
- Official website
- Skydance - Snake Eyes
- Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins IMDB entry
- Snake Eyes on Wikipedia
- Snake Eyes on Rotten Tomatoes
- Entertainment Weekly - Henry Golding isn't your average Joe...
- Wall Street Journal - "12 Movies for 12 Weeks of Summer"
- Flickering Myth - Henry Golding announces that reshoots are underway... by Amie Cranswick. March 24, 2021.
- Paramount Sets... by Aaron Couch. December 18, 2017.
- Entertainment Weekly - Henry Golding isn't your average Joe...
- Screen Rant - "Snake Eyes Movie Video Shows Off The Cast's Fight & Stunt Training"
- IGN - "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Will Open Comic-Con@Home 2021 with Cast Panel and Early Fan Screenings"
- Deadline - "San Diego Comic-Con@Home’s Heavy On TV, Slim On Film Schedule..."
- Cinema Blend - "How G.I. Joe Fans Can See Snake Eyes In Theaters Early"
- Bleeding Cool News - "GI Joe Collectors: The New Basic Figures From Hasbro Are A Mixed Bag"
- Screen Rant - "Snake Eyes Trailer Makes Fun Of Old GI Joe PSAs"
- CBR - "Snake Eyes Boss Doesn't Understand Why the GI Joe Reboot Is Labeled a Spinoff"
- Rotten Tomatoes - Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
- Variety - "Why 'Snake Eyes' Missed Its Mark..."
- IndieWire - "‘Jungle Cruise’ Beats Box-Office Expectations as ‘Old’ Plummets. How Is This PVOD’s Fault?"