Snake Eyes (2021): A G.I. Joe Spinoff with Dice, But No Spice

“Snake Eyes” is directed by Robert Schwentke (RED, R.I.P.D.) and stars Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas), Andrew Koji (Warrior, Fast & Furious 6), Úrsula Corberó (The Secret Life of Pets, The Emoji Movie), Samara Weaving (Ready or Not, Bill & Ted Face the Music), and Iwa Uwais (The Raid, Stuber). This film is a spinoff set in the “G.I. Joe” franchise and follows the origin story of Snake Eyes, whose father was murdered during his youth. Since that tragic day, the character seeks to avenge his father as he grows into a full-blown martial arts fighter.

G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra (TV Mini Series 1984) - IMDb

No lie here, I have never watched anything related to “G.I. Joe,” nor have I grown up with the franchise. I have never played with the toys, never bought any of the merch. This was my first “G.I. Joe” anything… Ever. I saw the marketing for this film and quite frankly it was never my in my top block of movies to see this summer. If anything, it may have been closer to somewhere in the middle. The trailers never looked awful, but I cannot say they looked great either. If anything I felt rather indifferent while watching them. That may be partially due to my lack of commitment to the “G.I. Joe” franchise in addition to just simply looking forward to other movies like “The Suicide Squad” more. The trailer that I usually saw over the past few weeks at the theater just felt like it lacked a flavor that could individualize this film from others. It felt kind of cookie cutter and surface level. But if a movie like “Ralph Breaks the Internet” has taught me anything, it is that even movies with not so great trailers can turn out to be watchable.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with “Snake Eyes” as I walked out of the film thinking it was one of the biggest bores of the year.

One of the movies I had the most fun with this year is the new edition of “Mortal Kombat.” It was definitely worth the theater experience and was a fun blend of fantasy, action, and gore. But the real draw for the movie was not that it was constructed perfectly, it was that the film was a product of entertainment before anything else. That film was, unsurprisingly, done by a writing/directing combo who had little experience. The action scenes, while fun, were also cut very quickly. It was just too much going on at once, therefore everything was not presented in maybe the most effective manner. For the case of “Snake Eyes,” the directing/writing team of this film unfortunately have been working for a long time. In fact, the director of “Snake Eyes,” Robert Schwentke, does not have the best track record according to critics in recent years. “R.I.P.D.,” which released in the summer of 2013, has a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes critically, and the audience score is not great either with a 37% total. He also directed the last two “Divergent” movies. I will admit, of the movies that came out in that franchise, I would have to say the first one he did, “Insurgent” is probably my favorite and one of the more visually stunning films of 2015. But I cannot say the same for its sequel, “Allegiant,” which was one of the most horribly paced action films of the last six years. The visuals in that film at times looked like something out of a Wii game!

While “Snake Eyes,” thankfully, is no “Allegiant,” it is also not good. In fact, I am having trouble remembering certain parts of it. But one thing that I do remember is that the main character, gosh the writers did try to make him likable, but it felt weird trying to root for him as he was technically working for the bad guys. Plus, by the end of the movie, there is another character who I think is more of a “hero” than he is.

I will say one thing about the character of Snake Eyes, I do think the guy who plays him is charming. Snake Eyes in this film is played by Henry Golding, who I have not seen a lot of on screen, but I have seen him in a couple things. I do think that after seeing him in “Snake Eyes,” he would be a great leading man in an original Bond-like spy film. By that I mean a spy film where Golding is the one who is front and center on the poster, he carries the movie. I think Golding has that potential. I just wish “Snake Eyes” as a film did the actor, along with others involved, a tad more justice.

This film, at times, just looks plain atrocious. No, seriously, if you want to talk about terribly crafted shots in cinema, look no further. Just watch a scene in the middle featuring Samara Weaving as Scarlet, and no, I’m not exactly talking about the picture above. To call that scene an eyesore would be an understatement. I mean, sorry for the digression, Samara Weaving being an eyesore would be a lie. First off, she is good-looking, on top of being an incredibly talented actress. Just watch “Ready or Not.” Although I do think her performance in this film was not one she’d want on her resume. I don’t think Weaving truly had a chance to showcase the best of her acting abilities.

One of the complaints I have about the action in “Snake Eyes” is that it dives into that trend that was made popular by films like those in the “Bourne” franchise, shaky cam to be specific. You know that thing where they move the camera so rapidly it’s almost like the camera is simulating the beginning of the end of the world? That happens in “Snake Eyes,” and at the worst possible times. Seriously! Sticking with what I said about shaky cam, there is literally a scene in the movie where Scarlet walks down a hall and the camera is moving all over the place! It’s so incomprehensible and deranged! Why does someone walking down a hall have to appear as action packed as Snake Eyes trying to slash people to death? Tell me!

This movie, obviously like all others, are made for the purpose of profit. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, the idea of profit is questionable. Either way, profit for a film like “Snake Eyes” could have meant more than just a success or a sequel. For me, it could have gotten me more into the “G.I. Joe” franchise. I’m not saying I will never watch another “G.I. Joe” movie, but “Snake Eyes” did not make me want a sequel, and I was just too uninterested to say that I will go back and dive deeper into this franchise’s source material or other spinoffs. I think “Snake Eyes” obviously would have done better without a pandemic, but I think even without one, the movie would still struggle to justify franchise expansion. My first thought when I saw the trailer for “Snake Eyes,” regardless of how well put together the trailer was, happened to be “Okay, whatever.” My first thought after seeing the movie “Snake Eyes” was, “Ehhh….” Yep, I don’t think I want to see a sequel at this point.

In the end, “Snake Eyes” is not an eye-roller, but it’s also not a high roller. Again, this is my first dive into the “G.I. Joe” franchise, so as a newbie, maybe I chose a poor place to start. At the same time though, first impressions matter. It’s like trying to get someone into “The Simpsons.” Because that series has evolved so much and has continued to remain a part of our popular culture that as newer pieces of it releases, the differences between the new and old content begin to become noticeable. Do we go with glitchy animation and classic humor? Do we go with hi-def episodes and the mocking of modern trends? Do we go with “The Simpsons Movie?” There’s a lot to pick from! But all things considered, “Snake Eyes” was not my cup of joe. I’m going to give “Snake Eyes” a 4/10.

“Snake Eyes” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! I also want to let everyone know that my next review is going to be for the all new Disney theme park ride-based film, “Jungle Cruise.” I just watched the movie last Thursday and I will have my thoughts hopefully shared by the end of the week. Speaking of the end of the week, I want to let everyone know that I will be seeing “The Suicide Squad” this Saturday and I will have my review for it up sometime next week!

Staying on the topic of next week, stay tuned for Monday, August 9th, because I will be starting the all new review series, “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review.” This is a series that I personally felt has been long overdue given my attachment to these movies, or more notably the first one, in addition to “King of the Nerds,” the reality competition series inspired by the film franchise given how it is hosted by two of the actors who appear in the movies, Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong. I cannot wait to share this series with you as we continue celebrating 5 years of Scene Before!

If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Snake Eyes?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite spinoff? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Replicas (2018): Keanu Reeves’ Latest Glitch In the Matrix

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“Replicas” is directed by Jeffery Nachmanoff (Legends, Traitor) and stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Point Break), Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Iron Fist), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie), and John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island, Silver Linings Playbook). This film is about a man who works for a scientific organization and despite some downs here and there, his life is good. That is until he gets into a traffic accident alongside his family. He’s the only one in the car to survive. From this moment, his primary focus is on resurrecting said family through means of science.

Keanu Reeves is one of the best actors working today. He is one of those actors who has allowed me to change my perception towards them in regards to range and talent. I am not saying I hated Keanu Reeves back in the day or anything, but having seen him in “The Matrix,” it was almost hard for me to think of Keanu as anyone else but Neo for a period of time. An occasionally emotionless being who might as well be the heroic equivalent of an Amazon Echo.

USER: Alexa, try to make the first jump.

ALEXA: Whoa.

Then I saw him in “John Wick,” and holy hell that was sick! And at this point, in 2019, I feel like not just myself, but the world, is having Keanu fever. Keanu… Reever? Keanu Feever? Whatever. The point is, Keanu Reeves is arguably more popular and hip than he’s ever been. If you told me back in the day that Keanu Reeves could make another popular trilogy after “The Matrix,” I’d laugh in your face, call you a dirty rotten liar, and steal your most valuable possessions at night.

But today, we are not talking about “John Wick,” partially because I just saw the third movie and reviewed it about a month ago, and the fact that I purchased a Blu-ray from Best Buy of a movie that I for one am well aware, did not get good reviews. But for the sake of reviewing more relevant movies (as in, ones that recently came out) on this blog, I figured I’d buy it and watch it. And unfortunately, it is just about as bad as I heard. Like, what the f*ck?! Why did Keanu Reeves do this? Did he lose a bet or something? Granted, all of the actors in this movie, at least from my perspective, did well with what lackluster material was provided. But this movie felt like it should have gone straight to Syfy or something. I have a feeling that the studio behind “Replicas,” probably would have wanted to put this out on DVD or something, maybe sell the rights to Netflix. But they had Keanu Reeves, who as suggested, is probably a bigger phenomenon right now than the “Baby Shark” song. Maybe Alice Eve had something to do with it, but yeeeaah… Keanu Reeves is the bomb right now.

And sadly, the movie WASTES him! When he’s at work, he’s this serious guy who is insanely focused and has a bond with Thomas Middleditch. In fact, this is shown during one of the first scenes where Keanu is testing out a robot. And when it comes to this robot, he kind of represents the upright position of a homo-sapien, which isn’t a bad design. Granted, some of it looks cliche, maybe a little boring, but it’s at most, serviceable. Although at the same time, maybe even that is a little too generous! Partially because I then saw this robot move, it did not look real! I did not buy it! When it’s trying to gain control, it felt like the movie was losing frames. Movies are traditionally shot in 24 frames per second, when this robot moved, it felt like 12. What is this? Is this a movie? Or is it an online video game on a slightly tolerable PC?

You know what? It’s neither! You know what it is? S*IT!

In fact, that’s not all! Keanu has to figure out a way to revive his family, without getting into certain major consequences. This leads to an enormously off-putting scene where we have to watch him impersonate his family and make up lies. He tells the school his children go to that the kids are now being home-schooled, he’s texting with his daughters’ friends, some of these things just feel like they could work on an “SNL” sketch if the vibe was appropriate, but in a movie that I guess I’m supposed to take somewhat seriously, it just didn’t work for me. I could tell that Keanu really loves his family in this film, but holy crap, some of the things he does is just out of left field.

In fact, as a story, the concept could have potential, but at times it felt awkward, maddening, and sadly, BOOORING. I’d rather watch a YouTube video of some guy in a hotel counting all of the bedbugs in all of the guestrooms! You’ve got uninteresting characters, barely passable pacing, moments that make me as a viewer angry, and a cliche corporate guy who loves money.

It’s really sad how generic some of things in this movie happen to be. Sure, the story is kind of an interesting concept, but you’ve got a standard looking robot that does not come off as great, you’ve got the definition of a “suburban family,” and a lot of the dialogue feels bland and wooden. The testing in this movie kind of reminded me of “Fant4stic” from 2015, BUT WORSE! Granted, I wouldn’t say “Fant4stic” is AS bad as other people say, in my opinion, but knowing some things about this movie and that movie, that is a good comparison. You’ve got your randomly placed together characters, cliche writing, and a couple moments that made me as an audience member feel dumber.

In fact, there is a point where this movie’s “main plot” if you can call it that, gets into full swing, and I think the only interesting thing that happened is when Keanu is with his kids. It’s a warm morning and the kids at one point want one particular breakfast portion and once they’re finished with that, they want another decent breakfast portion. That’s kind of fun and quirky, give me more of that! But no, this movie wants to be boring, and as I write this review, I’m almost having trouble figuring out what to say. Out of all the characters in this movie, barely any of them have a personality. As for those who do have a personality, they are either less than fascinating or ordinary. I think a ragdoll from “Garry’s Mod,” simply lying on the ground on a map could potentially be more compelling of a character than some of these people!

Does the movie know what it wants it be? Probably so. It probably wanted to be this compelling sci-fi flick that could show the power of family and connections. That’s probably what I wanted it to be. But it was nothing except garbage to me, just the honest truth! When the climax arrived, I practically checked out. I didn’t care what would happen to anyone! Everyone could die and I wouldn’t care! The world could mutate or something and everybody would turn into banana splits! I wouldn’t give a damn! For all I know we get a plot twist that the big corporate dude from the beginning of the movie was Jesus Christ in disguise! Why should I even pay attention?! It doesn’t matter! Just let the movie end!

In the end, “Replicas,” which came out in theaters, feels like a carbon copy of a flick that went straight to Syfy. Keanu Reeves, seriously! Are you poor? If you are, I apologize, I’ll send you a Nintendo Switch to keep you entertained, I’ll bring some food, and I’ll organize a GoFundMe page! But why did anyone agree to do this movie? All the actors must have been “Alright, *double clap* paycheck time.” Because this movie is not just the epitome of bad sci-fi, but also a January movie. It bombed at the box office, and it did so for good reason! If you want a good Keanu Reeves movie from this year, go see “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” I’m just glad I could actually say that since I waited until June to check this film out. But no matter what month you check “Replicas” out, you will wish you could die. Given how I would be fine going through the rest of my life not watching this movie again, and finding perhaps one or two minor positives overall, I am gonna give “Replicas” a 1/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that this upcoming weekend is the opening for “Toy Story 4.” I don’t know if I’ll be catching it this weekend, but it is on my to do list for sure. “Toy Story” is one of the best animated franchises out there, and even though I have been petrified for a long time on the thought of “Toy Story 4,” I kind of want to see it the more I hear about it. I don’t have my tickets yet, but I want to get them as soon as possible, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Replicas?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your least favorite Keanu Reeves film? I have not seen em’ all, so I cannot really say “Johnny Mnemonic.” This one is certainly a contender for me. My gosh, my brain cells are literally exiting my body! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Meg (2018): Shut Up, Shark

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“The Meg” is directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure, Phenomenon) and stars Jason Statham (The Transporter, Furious 7), Bingbing Li (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Resident Evil: Retribution), Rainn Wilson (The Office, Juno), Ruby Rose (John Wick: Chapter 2, xXx: Return of Xander Cage), Winston Chao (The Wedding Banquet, 1911), and Cliff Curtis (The Last Airbender, Fear the Walking Dead). This movie is essentially about Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) who encounters a megalodon, a killer shark that is as large as Texas. It is up to him to save people from suffering while a submersible happens to be sinking.

“The Meg” was not really my most anticipated movie of the year, it was not really something I was thinking was going to be all that great, but at the same time, I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. Kind of in the same way that geckos can’t keep their eyes off of how 15 minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance. Maybe they don’t know what that means, but at the same time it’s just so hypnotizing and rings a bell in people’s heads. The first trailer of “The Meg,” at least to me, was a thing of beauty. I felt like this was not going to necessarily be the movie that kills all of the other summer movies in terms of likability. Having already seen “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” this movie has some big shoes to fill. Based on the music and catch phrases that the marketing provided (CHOMP ON THIS), I knew what I was going in for, and I was f*cking ready for it. Let me just tell you all, this movie is what “Sharknado” should have been. OK, well, maybe not, the plots kind of differ, but even so, in a world where we have more “Sharknado” movies than we have “Jaws” movies, “The Meg” is here to chew on every last “Sharknado” possible!

I’ll remind everyone about “Sharknado,” and if you don’t know what “Sharknado” is, consider yourself safe from being trapped by shark Satan. There’s also a good chance you might not be aware that it is well known for being stupid, and in a way that I GUESS entertains people. For me, I just find it horrendous. And even the franchise itself understands what I’m talking about. The previous “Sharknado” installment claims to be the ultimate movie in its lineup. It’s literally called “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time!” When it comes to “The Meg,” the plot, while still revolving around scope per se, utilizes it and uses it in a way that is technically smaller. “Sharknado” might as well be the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy…

“It’s so dense, every single frame has so many things going on.” -Rick McCallum

…whereas “The Meg” might as well be the “Star Wars” original trilogy, where there’s glory, with a proper purpose.

“The Meg” is a movie revolving around a really big shark, and this does feel like a big movie, and that’s exactly what this movie does very well. Speaking of things it excels at, it manages to have some scares. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing to write home about, but it all works. “The Meg” manages to have the same quality “Jaws” seems to have, which is to effectively combine summertime fun and horror and put it into a nice little package. Now this movie is no masterpiece, so to call it the next “Jaws” is a bit of a stretch, but it certainly does share a redeeming quality that kind of made “Jaws” what it is. Horrific summertime fun.

What “Jaws” has though compared to “The Meg” is compelling characters. The characters in “The Meg” aren’t exactly unlikable, they don’t do anything that makes you want to smash them to bits, but they just aren’t really worth talking about in a greatest characters of all time list. And I say that primarily because while they certainly serve their purpose and are somewhat intriguing, they don’t have enough depth to them. Although then again, some of them are deep underwater in the movie so what do I know?

Our main character in the movie is played by Jason Statham and he plays a guy named Jonas Taylor, but in all seriousness, I am probably not gonna remember the character’s name that well and just refer to him as Jason Statham. If he looks like Jason Statham, talks like Jason Statham, walks like Jason Statham, then he’s Jason Statham. I also gotta say though, seeing Jason Statham in this movie, I honestly think he was slightly miscast. I can imagine others playing this character aside from Statham. Sure, Statham kind of works, but there are better choices out there. Maybe John Cena (Blockers, The Wall), maybe Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex Machina), maybe Terry Crews (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

And when it comes to the background we get related to Jason Statham’s character, there’s not really much I can report. All we really know about him is that apparently he’s crazy. In fact, what do we really know about anyone in this movie? Let’s just say you tied me to a chair and the only way I’d be able to live is if I can explain about at least one character in detail. Chances are that’d be impossible, because I feel like all of these characters lack detail. These are just people that all seem to be stuck in a situation who we as audience members could be getting to know, but in reality, are just scribbled on the script just to move the story along. These characters are seemingly interesting, they’re funny, they have good chemistry for the most part, acting is hit or miss, but they all seem to work well together.

Speaking of good acting, let’s talk about the portrayal of the young girl, Meiyang, played by Shuya Sophia Cai. Let me remind you, this is a child actress. She was born a decade ago, and the first trailer for this movie came out barely before she entered the double digit ages. Her acting level in this movie was probably better than a good number of adults present on the cast list. Either the director worked extra hard with this girl to make her execute the best performance possible, she has excellent mentors who know acting and can teach acting quite well, or maybe pleasing acting to her is something that just comes naturally. I don’t know, but the main point is, this girl can act! Well done to her!

As far as pacing in this movie goes, it almost makes the movie a puzzle in a sense. In the very beginning, it’s all exposition, it’s all introductions, it gets boring after a while, you just start begging for a megalodon to show up out of nowhere. I will admittedly say that maybe the first act of “Skyscraper” may have entertained me more than the first act of “The Meg.” Once you get into the megalodon stuff however, you don’t want to go back. It gets funnier, it gets wilder, it gets stupider in the best possible way. There was also some cringe comedy in there, and I’ll be honest, it flows rather well if you ask me.

One thing I gotta ask myself though is how GOOD this movie actually is. Because I’ll be honest with you, I REALLY enjoyed myself during “The Meg.” Let me just say this IS NOT a 10/10, but it’s also not a 1/10. What I’m trying to figure out on my mind if I like this movie because it’s so stupid it’s fantastic, or if it’s fun, or I’m just putting myself in a particular mindset for a couple of hours. And speaking of time, when I walked out of the theater, I noticed it was around 9:50PM, I went into the movie at 7:45PM, and the actual film started sometime past 7:50PM. When I walked out, this movie felt like it was 10 or 20 minutes shorter than it actually was, and I mean that in a good way. When you consider the boring first act, that almost sounds impractical. But from my perspective, this movie REALLY picks up at around the 30 or 40 minute mark.

Not only is pacing something that doesn’t stay consistent in this movie, but the tone is sometimes off for me. There were a couple times when someone was in danger where I didn’t really care if they got seriously hurt or if they died, whatever. I just didn’t really care for them because this didn’t feel like a character movie for one thing and once again, these people basically have no depth to them. And speaking of that, you know how I mentioned “The Meg” might as well be the superior version of “Sharknado?” With that statement in mind, “The Meg” contains a better story with more competent camerawork, special effects, and writing. I didn’t say everything in this movie was better by a landslide when it comes to “Sharknado.” Characterization needs some work if you ask me.

In the end, “The Meg” is the best kind of stupid movie you could ever ask for. It basically knows what it is, the fun never stops after a certain point, and while there happen to be some clashing tones interfering, this movie is still a good time. I honestly want to get the “The Meg” on Blu-ray when it comes out, because I think this will end up having a positive replay value on my part, so when that movie hits stores, I’ll be on my way. I don’t recommend this movie to everyone. If you are someone who is often called “Shirley” and is very serious, this movie might be one you’d want to avoid. For me, I just had plain fun, and I can’t wait to watch this movie again if I ever get a chance. I’m gonna give “The Meg” a 6/10. I’ll be honest with you. This grade might not even last. It could go up, it could go down, it could stay where it is. But based on everything I said, 6 seems to fit. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review up for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which will be the first entry in my space movie reviews in preparation for “First Man.” Speaking of upcoming content, I would like to warn everyone that New York Comic Con is coming up in a couple weeks, and I have tickets for Friday and Sunday so be sure to look out for my thoughts on the con whenever I can get around to posting them. Be sure to follow me here on Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Meg?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite shark movie? I bet all of you are gonna pick “Jaws” so I’ll ask another question. What are your thoughts on “Sharknado?” You can talk about individual movies or the franchise, your choice. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!