Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, Paramount’s upcoming origin movie that hopes to relaunch the G.I. Joe franchise, evidently is taking inspiration from one of the world’s greatest film directors. Hey, might as well aim high, right?
Henry Golding, who plays the title character in the new film, explained in a new interview that audiences may spot some Japanese influences in Snake Eyes – including a specific type of sword-fighting style, as well as nods to the work of cinema legend Akira Kurosawa.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Golding spoke about the movie’s director, Robert Schwentke (Red, R.I.P.D., Allegiant), and how he’s “hooked into” all the right influences for this project.
“Robert is a huge Japanese cinephile, everything from [Akira] Kurosawa to just the phenomenal Spaghetti Westerns of samurai movies,” Golding said. “He is so hooked into that history and we see some of those scenes. With some of the fight scenes there are some chimbara sequences. A lot of attention to cultural detail was put into this movie. There are not a lot of movies that are allowed to film in Japan and we went to some amazing, amazing places. The authenticity is there.”
Note: EW says that “chimbara” means Japanese sword-fighting, though I haven’t been able to find any evidence that the style of fighting is specifically Japanese.
As for the authenticity element, audiences will ultimately decide whether Schwentke, a filmmaker whose previous work doesn’t necessarily indicate that he’s a slam-dunk choice to apply the right touch to a culturally specific would-be blockbuster, managed to achieve the proper balance. But hey, if one of the fight scenes in Snake Eyes is as cool as the final duel in Kurosawa’s Sanjuro, that would be fantastic.
Previously, Golding said this film will be more of a martial arts movie than a superhero film, and he echoed that idea a bit further in this new interview. “I think the heart of the story really is who Snake is and his journey as a person, really,” he said. “Understanding his motivations…I can’t give away too much, but it really focuses on the one person instead of having 20 people on screen and understanding background. We start from the beginning. And, hopefully, this launches an amazing franchise.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins stars Golding, Samara Weaving, Iko Uwais, Andrew Koji, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, and Úrsula Corberó. It was originally going to be released this year, but the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a delay; it is currently scheduled to hit theaters on October 22, 2021.
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