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How Snake Eyes Confirms Iko Uwais As A Martial Arts Movie Legend

With his upcoming appearance as Hard Master in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, Iko Uwais has truly become a legend of martial arts films. The Snake Eyes solo movie starts the G.I. Joe franchise anew from the prior two movies, focusing on the origin of the mysterious titular ninja commando, played by Henry Golding in the film with Warrior's Andrew Koji as his future rival Storm Shadow. With Iko Uwais also on board as Hard Master, Snake Eyes marks a major turning point in his career by casting Uwais in his first mentor role.

A native of Indonesia and practitioner of the indigenous martial art Pencak Silat, Uwais made his film debut in the 2009 hit Merantau, which also marked the directorial debut of Gareth Evans. Their 2012 follow-up The Raid: Redemption and its 2014 sequel The Raid 2 would become a pair of instant action classics and would set a new bar for martial arts films. Though Uwais was infamously underutilized in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he would continue to astonish in action movies that made full use of his abilities as a martial artist.

RELATED: The Raid 3: Why The Martial Arts Sequel Never Happened 

In 2017, Uwais jumped from amnesiac anti-hero in Headshot to human freedom fighter opposing an alien invasion in Beyond Skyline, and later took on villainous duties in 2018's The Night Comes For Us and Stuber the following year. 2019 was the year Uwais had really risen to become a genuine action star, appearing alongside an ensemble of martial arts household names in Triple Threat, which also gave him and Tiger Chen a chance to engage in a proper duel after Uwais' underutilization in 2013's otherwise very entertaining Man of Tai Chi. 2019 would also see Uwais anchor the Netflix series Wu Assassins, with a standalone movie follow-up Wu Assassins: Fistful of Vengeance also on the way. With Snake Eyes, Uwais' has finally transitioned to the hallmark of martial arts movies that is the mentor role.

Whether it be Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, or countless others, portraying a mentor is a sign that a big-screen martial arts star has genuinely cemented themselves as an elder statesman of the genre. When it comes to Uwais, it's that much more impressive given that he's becoming a mentor before he's even hit 40. From what has been seen of Hard Master in the Snake Eyes trailers, Uwais also doesn't appear to have been aged up in any significant way to resemble the stereotypical wise sage mentor. By all appearances, the Snake Eyes marketing wants audiences to know well in advance that the man from The Raid films is turning Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow into the ninja warriors G.I. Joe fans know and love them as.

It's also something of a two-for-the-price-of-one package, with Uwais becoming a mentor in what is also his first ninja movie. By all indications from the marketing, Snake Eyes is heavy on the Ninjutsu action audiences expect with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow as its leads, while Uwais has been relatively held back in the marketing. Regardless, Iko Uwais has finally gone from student to teacher in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, establishing him as a genuine legend of martial arts films.

NEXT: Iko Uwais: The Martial Artist's Movies Ranked, Worst To Best 

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