Friday, December 7, 2007

Ray Park will be Snake Eyes!

Ray Park, who energized "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" as Darth Maul, and made a frog-guy cool as Toad in the X-Men films, has been cast as Snake Eyes in the new live-action G.I. Joe movie. I saw the news on G4's "Attack of the Show," and now it's all over the Net.

This is fantastic news! What a cool choice. Ray Park's martial arts skill, athletic ability and physical grace will make him a superb Snake Eyes. Mark Wahlberg is supposed to be Duke, which is also excellent casting.

I hope the movie will be a realistic, gritty take on the whole G.I. Joe story, to the extent that they can make it realistic since it's based on a toy line and kids will be watching. I supposed by "gritty," I actually mean "not campy." An example of what I mean is in "Transformers," another movie ostensibly for kids (and their dads). The soldiers in "Transformers," while not the main characters, are depicted very well as real people who are also brave, determined and professional soldiers. They react intelligently to the incredible situations they face and are never silly or stupid. Let's hope G.I. Joe takes the same approach to storytelling, so the movie will appeal to be kids and adults.

In today's world, the G.I. Joe characters could take on a whole new dimension: They represent the courageous men and women who are, at this moment, putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. The G.I. Joe characters should be idealized versions of these real heroes. For the G.I. Joe characters to even catch our attention against the backdrop of real soldiers' exploits in the news every day, they'll have to really be spectacular -- both believable and heroic. If the characters are too cartoony, the movie will just be a joke that even kids will dismiss.

The flip side of the coin, and perhaps the greater challenge to the filmmakers, will be to make Cobra Commander and his henchmen into believable, scary villains. How can an evil genius bent on world domination and his mercenary henchmen even hold a candle to the bonfire of hatred cast by today's terrorists and religious fanatics, who torture and murder their own neighbors in the name of God? Cobra Commander will have to step it up to be that awful and evil.

Hasbro hasn't produced any of the cool 12-inch G.I. Joe toys like the Snake Eyes pictured above for a long time now. I expect the forthcoming movie means they'll blitz us with a mighty wave of merchandising, which is good news to me as a collector.

Ray Park already has been immortalized as a toy in a multitude of scales and poses as Darth Maul. Pictured below are Darth Maul and Fortiscule, when Fortiscule defended our home from a Sith attack.

Who else do you think would make a good character for G.I. Joe? Post your ideas for casting in the comments field below!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude was the Horseman - sans head - in Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow," too.