It looks as if G.I. Joe’s box office curse continues, as critic reviews published in advance of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins’ release indicate that the film is, as one critic put it, “an unmitigated disaster” that not only does its audience a disservice, but also its lead character.
At the time of this article’s writing, Snake Eyes currently holds a 42% ‘rotten’ rating from critics across 91 reviews, with a 71% audience review average from over a hundred verified users.
Yet, despite this middling review score, critics have near universally found the film to be a waste of time, with some outright tearing apart the G.I. Joe reboot to shreds.
In his review of the film for Vulture, Bilge Ebiri asserted that Snake Eyes “feels so pro forma, so uninventive and glum, that if you told me everybody making it had an Uzi pointed at their head, I might believe you.”
“The film [is] debilitatingly generic, stripped of creativity, intensity, or grace,” he added. “I’m not sure even 11-year-old me would be down with this.”
Johnny Olensinski of the New York Post asserted that Golding “is so stiff in his first go-round as an action hero, at no point do you care if Snake Eyes lives or dies,” but does graciously “cut him some slack” by acknowledging that “Golding signed onto awful material that shouldn’t exist in the first place.”
“‘Snake Eyes,’ while slightly better than the unrelenting vomit that was ‘The Rise of Cobra’ and ‘Retaliation,’” added Olensinski, “advances a storyline that need not be advanced, because everybody desperately wants it to go away,” he added.
Focusing on the film’s star, Lindsey Bahr’s review of the film for the Associated Press asserted that Snake Eyes was “an origin story about a G.I. Joe character that completely misunderstands its star’s appeal.”
“Golding is simply not the right actor for the part. He’s not exactly bad, just miscast and misused,” noted Bahr. “The true sin is that Snake Eyes as a character is so deathly dull. He barely has a personality. He is purely driven by revenge and also doesn’t seem to have to work all that hard at anything.”
Writing for RogerEbert.com, Simon Abrams found the film to be “not a romp, but rather a snooze.”
“What’s the point [of making a big budget film] if, in any given scene, the best thing that can be said about what you’re looking at is, ‘Well, they tried!’” he asked. “Going through the motions is also not always the worst filmmaking sin, but it kind of is in a big budget spectacular that only ever looks adequately staged and blocked.”
Describing the film as a “pointless sequel” in the headline of his review for The Wrap, William Bibbiani observed that the film took Snake Eyes’ iconic back story and transformed “that saga into a dispassionate and mediocre action movie.”
“The drama is muddled, the action is murky, and the storyline can’t help but get goofier and goofier until, by the end, every attempt this movie makes to ground the ‘G.I. Joe’ series gets blown up,” read his critique. “It’s hardly the worst film the ‘G.I. Joe’ series has delivered, but it’s certainly the least interesting.”
Though he did not author a full review himself, Bibbiani’s fellow The Wrap reporter Umberto Gonzalez, following his own viewing of the film, exclaimed that Snake Eyes “IS AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER!”
“A total & utter disregard for the character’s history, legacy & canon,” he warned his followers on Twitter. “As a true fan & collector of the IP for 40 years, this movie broke my heart. What made Snake Eyes cool & mysterious is NOT in this film! Another Paramount dumpster fire.”
However, the film is not without its fans, such as Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, who personally thought that Snake Eyes “ probably about as good a movie as you’re going to get that has the words “G.I. Joe” in the title […] because it seems to have very little to do with anyone’s conventional idea of G.I. Joe.”
“Movies now seem stuck in rerun mode,” wrote Gleiberman in conclusion to his review. “But the pleasure of ‘Snake Eyes’ is that it succeeds in making a rerun almost feel like something you haven’t seen before.”
Similarly, Brian Tuitt of USA Today described the film as “a satisfying martial-arts action-adventure with two magnetic leads, a heap of lightning-quick swordplay and the best argument yet for a G.I. Joe cinematic universe.”
“The action sequences also don’t disappoint, from bullet-riddled nighttime car chases to sword fights in the rain on neon-lit Japanese rooftops,” praised Tuitt. “Even when Snake Eyes’ core personal story gets lost a little in the larger global stakes, the film has an unrelenting sense of style with a few hints of over-the-top absurdity that act as a throwback to the film’s Reagan-era, Saturday morning cartoon source material.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is now in theaters.
What do you make of the critical response to Paramount’s attempt at a G.I. Joe reboot? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!