By: John M Jerva
Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
After a two week hiatus, although I did post some articles here and there, I am back baby and stronger than ever! During my downtime where I spent some much needed time with my family, I was thinking of what to write about next on my turn on Foot Fist Fridays. Then it came to me like a ninja shuriken hurling through the air. Ever since I was a kid, I have beenn a rabid GI Joe fanatic. I was even alive when the Joes were the larger dolls and consisited of a few members who each specialized in certain combat skills. But it was in the 80’s when Marvel Comics unleashed the version of GI Joe that we all know and love to this day as an elite assault force who consisted of numerous members once again specializing in a particular set of skills. From the very first issue, I was hooked and with it came the awesome line of toys and the weekday afternoon cartoon. I remember to this day, playing with my Joe toys in my room and let me tell you, I had them all. Even the colossal aircraft carrier that was bigger than my bed.
Now, if you know me, then you know my favorite GI Joe is the silent Ninja Commando Snake-Eyes. Snake embodied everything that was super cool as he was not only a Ninja master but he was also a former soldier who had crazy combat skills as well. Snake was just the shit plain and simple. His rival, Storm Shadow, who he used to call brother from the Arashikage Clan at one time was a close second for me. Their long standing feud was always one of the best subplots of the comic and there’s a reason why these two are so beloved…they’re all kinds of kick ass.
Back in 2008, it was announced that a live action feature film of GI Joe would finally be made and I lost my collective mind to think that I was about to see my childhood come to life on the big screen. Now we all know that there was a writer’s strike that pretty much delayed a lot of projects and some films, like GI JOE: The Rise of Cobra was one of the movies that was rushed into production before the strike eventually happened. Now this meant that the script was rushed and when the film came out in 2009, it was pretty much panned by critics and fans alike. Now, of course, I am a positive person and even with all the production problems, I was still excited to see the film and let me tell you, I love the film to this day, flaws and all. Is it a great movie? Hell no but as a fan, I still love seeing those iconic characters on the screen and I will defend the film to this day so give me your best argument because I will come right back you with all guns blazing. And telling me that Channing Tatum is in the film isn’t good enough reason to say the film sucks. I like Tatum by the way and thought he did an admirable job as Duke.
Now, the best part of the film for me was seeing Snake-Eyes, played by the great martial artist and actor Ray Park, and Storm Shadow (Byung Hun-Lee) finally come to life and do battle with one another just like they did so many times in the comics and on TV. It was a veritable dream come true to see these two Ninja masters engage in the ultimate form of combat. The two get to fight it out twice in the movie and my only criticism is that the fights are very short as there is a lot of other action going on at the same time but even though the scenes were brief, both Park and Lee brought their A game and delivered a master class in on screen fighting. Park’s skills are just sick to begin with and even though we don’t see his face as we never see Snake’s face, his physicallity makes up for it as he executes a flurry of acrobatic moves and even gets to throw down with some dope sword skills at the same time. Lee brings it as well and he trained very hard for the role and keeps up with Park just fine in their altercations.
The scene for this week’s edition of Foot Fist Fridays is their climtic duel at the end of the film and as it is short like I said it still delivers the goods for this fan who has been a fan since he was like oh I don’t kow 9 years old. The finale has it all as the two warriors clash with weapons and empty hands and I have made this my selection for the week because it is the first glorious time that these two characters engaged in mortal combat on the big screen. I remember grinning from ear to ear the first time I saw them throw down in the theater.
Now I know there’s some people out there that are going to be pesimistic as usual and tell me the movie sucks but I don’t care. This is still GI Joe and it is till Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow bringing the heat. You can’t deny that both actors are crazy good in the action department and if you’re a true fan then you will look past the film’s shortcomings to truly enjoy the movie for what it is. A big budget escape from reality. Sure some of the dialogue was suspect and some of the performances were over the top but I felt it was perfect for the type of movie it was. Anybody can live a good movie but it takes a true fan to like a bad movie and this one was awfully good.
Next year’s Snake-Eyes: GI Joe Origins promises to be the Snake-Eyes film is fans have been waiting for and star Henry Golding has seen the film and given it his ringing endorsement but this film will always hold that special place in my heart as it came first and will forever be known as the movie that brought these iconic characters to life. It was an action extravaganza and it proved my point that all you have to do is add ninjas to make it better.
Now in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer, “Enough Talk!” It’s time to watch Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow go toe to toe and make this 47 year old feel like he’s 9 once again. And I’ve included both fights from the film for your viewing enjoyment!