Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is a fantastic reboot of the G.I. Joe franchise that tells a grounded and simple story that follows one character while setting up the overall story arc for future films. It's clear the studio wants an MCU-like franchise here, but nobody knows if it will succeed. This action-packed flick has a wonderful 4K transfer with Dolby Vision that looks exquisite, and a demo-worthy Dolby Atmos track this is explosive. The bouns features are less than thrilling though. Recommended especially for fans.
The G.I. Joe franchise had made enough money to warrant a few sequels over the past few years with its talent roster that included Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Marlon Wayans, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, and more. The Rise of Cobra and Retaliation certainly had their good moments, but it seemed like those films were trying to tell a bigger story than they needed to be. With Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, the franchise has been rebooted and told through the eyes of the titular character which results in an action-packed, fun, entertaining, and often comedic flick despite some flaws. Snake Eyes is a big step in the right direction for this new G.I. Joe universe Paramount Pictures is trying to make planting its roots in the same soil as the MCU.
What works well with Snake Eyes is that the film doesn't really rely on putting a team together and figuring out who the enemy is. This follows a young boy who becomes an orphan when he sees his father murdered. This kid is known as Snake Eyes (Henry Golding from (Crazy Rich Asians) who ends up crossing paths with a new friend named Tommy (Andrew Koji from Warrior). The two are inseparable and eventually join the Yakuza. Tommy is actually a spy who is found out where Snake Eyes helps his friend escape to Japan. As the two are on the run, the pair bond and fight a rising threat known as The Cobra, which will test their friendship.
Through its two-hour run time, the director Robert Schwentke (Red) allows these two characters to really develop as the G.I. Joe lore unfolds around them. It's a simple enough story about two friends with a common goal and background who follow two different paths. Along the way, they meet some brilliant characters who fans of the toyline will recognize in a subtle way. Henry Golding's performance is top-notch. He is the perfect leader for a big squad and it's a shame nobody cast him earlier in superhero franchises. His wit, charisma and physical combat skills are incredible and deliver the goods in each scene. The same goes for Andrew Koji, Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), and of course, The Raid star Iko Uwais who all display some amazing kung-fu and martial arts on screen.
The action sequences are impressive as well when they are grounded in fighting one-on-one, but when the scale goes bigger, these scenes can feel more chaotic and choppy. It's as if there were two different directors going back and forth. One of the other flaws is that despite a good solid storyline, it felt like it was trying to set up a big sequel franchise, and with that aspect, some of the development of Tommy and Snake Eyes was hindered. As an origin story, this feels like the first step into a big MCU-like universe, however, fans might not get many more of these films anytime soon. Box office returns weren't exactly kind.
All that being said, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins works on a lot of levels. It learned how to have fun and tell a simple story following one character. The mid-credit sequence sets up the franchise as a whole into what could be pretty epic. Though the question will be, will any of those sequels see the light of day? Let's all hope so.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins fights its way to 4K with just one 4K Disc. There is no Blu-ray counterpart here. There is an insert for a digital code as well. The disc is housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve that features the artwork of Snake Eyes himself with red neon lighting. It's a pretty simple package design.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins comes with a fantastic 2160p 4K UHD transfer with Dolby Vision and has an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 that looks amazing.
Colors are rich and vivid and cover the entire spectrum. Inside the village, the trees display many shades of green and brown that mix well with the stone-like structures. The varying shades of green in the leaves give the image a ton of depth. Deep inside the city streets at night time, bright neon pops of color light up the city, giving the image a bubble gum brightness that is fun and also haunting. Those lights make the dark alleys and buildings light up nicely in their respective color hues of reds, pinks, purples, blues, and more. There are also great amber filters applied inside buildings with an angelic glow. Other exterior shots focus more on natural earth tones of blues, browns, and green that look phenomenal. The HDR10 enhances all those moody colors in the neon signage in the city as well as the black levels in the dark suits and uniforms that are worn by the cast. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural at all times.
The detail is sharp and vivid in all lighting conditions. Closeups reveal facial features that included individual hairs, pimples, stubble, beads of blood and sweat, facial scars, and wounds. The CGI effects look thorough and natural as well, never giving a soft impression even in the bigger action sequences. Textures in the black leather costumes and cloth-like robes look impressive as well. Wider shots have depth and reveal even more detail in buildings, vehicles, and weapons. There are no major issues with banding, aliasing, or video noise either.
This release comes with a demo-worthy Dolby Atmos track that is loud, energetic, and full of ferocity from start to finish. Sound effects are robust and pack a punch each time someone gets hit. Gun blasts and other weapons have a great rumble of bass that brings that low-end front and center. Vehicle engines sound loud and boisterous and punches, kicks, and other weapon collisions sound wonderfully nuanced. The ambient noises of city life with people walking and yelling, along with the quieter noises in rural areas of trees swaying in the wind or insects all are excellent and sound nicely coming from the surround speakers.
Explosions have a great rumble of bass with all the sounds of debris falling coming through each speaker and transition to another in a smooth way. The height speakers display rain, thunder, and other action elements from above that are wonderful too. the score always adds to the chaotic and grande nature of the franchise as well. Dialogue is clean, clear, and free of any audio problems. This is a wonderful sounding Dolby Atmos track.
There are only 29 minutes worth of bonus material here, none of which is really informative or fun.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is a great reboot for fans of the franchise. This tells a grounded story of one character and the start of Cobra and G.I. Joe in a wonderful way. The action elements are great when the martial arts choreography is on screen, but the bigger the scene, the more chaotic the narrative becomes. The 4K with Dolby Vision display is excellent and the Dolby Atmos track is demo-worthy. The extras are less than satisfactory though. This is Recommended for Fans. Cross all the fingers for a sequel too.