Martial arts are making a mainstream comeback in 2021. Mortal Kombat, released earlier this year, relied on kung-fu fighting techniques as it reinvigorated the video game universe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe intends to put its one stamp on karate epics with September’s Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. And this weekend, Paramount will wade back into the franchise waters of G.I. Joe with an origin story for the silent ninja, Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). But with this action comes unusual challenges.
The fight scenes in Snake Eyes are bone-crunching. The way that Robert Schwentke (RED, R.I.P.D.) directs his action, you feel the impact of every punch and kick thrown. But during an interview with Snake Eyes co-star Andrew Koji, he shares a very specific ninja technique that simply can NOT be done practically, and it’s pretty funny. Watch our video above to hear his story.
There’s no denying the fact that ninjas look totally badass when portrayed properly on screen. There are moments in Snake Eyes when either Henry Golding or Andrew Koji strike warrior poses with samurai swords in hand, ready to dispense with some antagonists -- or fight against each other -- that Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins really roars to life. The heart of the movie, in my opinion, rests in the rivalry that is forged between Golding’s Snake Eyes and Koji’s Storm Shadow. Initially, it’s a bond of trust. But the moment that bond gets broken, we see the foundation of the struggle that these classic G.I. Joe characters will endure for a lifetime.
In order to establish that emotional core, Henry Golding and Andrew Koji bonded over personal connections that the actors shared. Physically, though, Snake Eyes meant training. And when he was in his classic Storm Shadow suit, Koji realized how hard (actually impossible) it was to remove his sword from the sheath on his back. As he told CinemaBlend:
Shoulder pads… they don’t go up that high. So you can’t do none of that movement. And then, you can’t actually grab the sword from the back. Because actually… the sword’s too long for your arm. I think we all had a ‘sword double,’ which was half the size (so) you could actually take it out.
Now you know, when you go to see Snake Eyes, that every time Snake or Storm Shadow removing the sword from their back to plunge into battle, it is a CGI sword that has been enhanced because longer swords can not be removed that way. How do real ninjas do it?!
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins looks to revive the Hasbro toy franchise on screen after two previous films (that are not connected to this installment). It features other recognizable G.I. Joe characters such as Scarlett (Samara Weaving) and Baroness (Ursula Corbero). It opens in theaters beginning on July 23.