The Wizeguy: Deadly But Silent

Paramount Pictures and Hasbro are developing a G.I. Joe spin-off movie about the silent ninja commando Snake Eyes. The Hollywood Reporter states that Beauty and the Beast screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos is in talks to pen the script. Paramount has made two Joe movies, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I Joe: Retaliation, and with the idea that you introduce individual characters, show why they are bad-ass, and after a few movies like that, they all work together, AND SAVE THE WORLD are the thing … Snake Eyes, the faceless & voiceless protagonist could be the one.

The G.I. Joe action figure line was launched by Hasbro in 1982 as part of a multimedia blitz that included the popular cartoon and a series of comics published by Marvel. While most know of the cartoon, which was decidedly non-violent to fit Saturday morning sensibilities, many have no idea that the comic would have made legitimately good 80’s action movies. This is largely due to the influence of writer Larry Hama.

The job of writing G.I. Joe fell to Hama largely because nobody else wanted it. Writing merchandising tie-ins always involves heavy corporate oversight and requirements to work in the new toys as they launch. It was hardly an environment to foster creativity, but Hama brought his A game. Hama had previously written a pitch to Marvel for a new series focused on the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing Cold War espionage type stuff, but it was rejected. Many elements from this pitch made it into G.I. Joe, which is why they wind up fighting Russians and generic Middle Eastern nations in addition to Cobra. An Army veteran from the Vietnam era, Hama used his own experience to throw in details which added an extra bit of authenticity. There are also lots of ninjas.

Now, considering the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow parts were the best bits of the last movie and the only really good bits of either of the live action G. I. Joe movies, I’m down. Also, the most interesting stories from the books all dealt with Snake Eyes and the his various encounters with the menagerie from his life before Joe.

A couple of pitches if I may…

I’d love for this to be like a German Expressionist silent film. Black and white and all cantered angle sets. Basically Sin City, but not insufferable.

I wonder if it will be a prequel. In the comics, Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Storm Shadow were all LRRPs in Vietnam. They might move that forward to Desert Storm or I suppose even Afghanistan. That means Snake Eyes could spend a good part of the film still being able to talk.

Or … It’s all about Snake Eyes getting plastic surgery to get his face fixed, getting betrayed by Doctor Venom and kidnapped by Cobra. The Baroness also shoots Scarlett in the head putting her in a coma. Snake Eyes thinks she’s dead and so he escapes from being tortured in the Basement of the Cobra Consulate in New York and goes on a floor by floor killing spree. He even blows up the floors below him to trap Cobra and the Baroness in the building as he climbs up it killing everyone staying just ahead of the fire.

Grab Chad Stahelski, Takashi Miike or Kathryn Bigelow to direct. Alter his origin of being a white orphan adopted by the family of Storm Shadow and cast an asian actor. Change Dr. Venom’s gender, cast a female. Throw in Kwinn the Merc (Dave Bautista) and keep the whole shooting match at or around $30 million and you will have a HIT. Lets be honest, this isn’t high cinema. I love a good piece of popcorn entertainment — and honestly, everybody does, that’s why they make so much damn money at the box office. GO JOE. The formula can work.


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