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Snakes on a Plane Review

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by AVForums Oct 5, 2009

    Snakes on a Plane Review

    Don't you just love movies that tell you what they're all about in the title?
    Well, it saves you having to work it out for yourself - doesn't it?
    Hang on though; maybe it's a parallel for something more deep and meaningful.
    Sorry to disappoint those looking for a more cerebral exercise, but in terms of giving the game away, it's right up there with 'Drums along the Mohawk', 'The Towering Inferno' and 'I was a Teenage Werewolf'.
    Yep, it's actually about a bunch of snakes let loose on a plane and it does what it says on the tin. In this respect the movie delivers the goods. Hope I haven't spoilt the show for anyone.
    Now, I have had a problem watching any kind of airborne drama or disaster movie for some time. In fact, this affliction can be traced right back to 1980 and the release of a little film entitled 'Airplane'. Ever since then, I've had a great deal of difficulty taking such movies seriously - and I'm not the only one.
    So much so, that film makers have begun producing movies especially for those of us who share this malady.
    'Snakes on a Plane' is one such movie. It's totally preposterous, ridiculous and engenders disbelief. It's also rather a lot of fun!
    It's the kind of movie that, when watched with some mates and a few beers after a repast courtesy of the local Indian restaurant, just hits the spot on a Friday or Saturday night.
    In fact, in that context you'd probably come away thinking it's the best film you've seen in a while.

    At the very outset, the Maguffin is laid on a plate for us. Young Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) accidentally witnesses the brutal murder of a Hawaiian prosecutor by nasty Mobster Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). Instead of tiptoeing away quietly, our hero jumps on the loudest motorbike he could find, you know the buzzy type, of which you'd just love to jam a broom handle through the spokes. Eddie tells his hoods to track down and kill the witness.
    Before Sean can be ambushed at home by the goons, he is spirited away by FBI agent Neville Flynn (the one and only Samuel L. Jackson) who persuades him to testify against Kim in court. The only hurdle in the way is that he must fly back from Hawaii to Los Angeles for the trial.
    Now Eddie Kim isn't your run of the mill gangster. He doesn't just hire a hit-man. Oh no! Instead he pays someone to load a ton of venomous snakes into the cargo hold of the plane and spray them with something that makes them mad as....well... a bag of snakes!
    The movie doesn't miss any opportunity to kick every good cliché in passing as the plane is loaded with an appropriately corny bunch of passengers.
    We have a rapper who's sensitive to germs in the Howard Hughes style as well as his 'Bros'. There's a stewardess on her last flight (a bit like the crew of the 'Memphis Belle'), an older stewardess who is past retirement, a guy who gets nervous flying, a kick boxer, a flirtatious girl and her Chihuahua lap dog, a rude English businessman, a woman and her baby, a couple of kids flying solo ....

    For me, the only people missing were the guitar playing Nun and the kid on a drip.
    The fun comes from taking bets on who will be the first to go. My money was placed hopefully on the yappy little dog from the very outset.

    No sooner are we airborne than the slithering cargo is released and the snakes start appearing from everywhere. A 'Mile High' couple have more than a trouser snake to contend with as they are surprised in the airline toilet. Their screams simply serve to impress the cabin crew who have heard it all before.
    In another toilet, a male passenger attempting to siphon his python is suddenly bitten, causing every male audience member's legs to snap together like a spring loaded gate.
    People are being bitten right, left and centre but then comes the 'piece de resistance'. A massive Boa constrictor drops down from the luggage rack and the rude English Businessman throws the annoying little dog at it. Yes! I punched the air with joy.
    It just doesn't get any better as far as I'm concerned.
    Sadly, the rude gentleman doesn't get the opportunity to lob one of the kids at the snake before he too gets consumed whole.
    Man, you gotta see this movie!

    As you'd expect, the passengers do a whole lot of dumb things that result in them falling prey to the snakes. You have to hand it to Samuel L Jackson though as he manages to keep a straight face all the way through the movie.
    There's some hilarity when a passenger is bitten on the posterior by a snake and an obviously gay male cabin attendant offers to suck out the poison for him.
    However, the biggest laugh of all came when, the Pilot and co-Pilot being dead, the cabin crew need to find someone with flying experience to land the plane. The task falls to one of the 'blinged Bros' who is volunteered by the germ sensitive rapper.
    Naturally, it transpires that he only has experience of using flight-sim software, a nod to the model aircraft designer in the James Stewart version of 'Flight of the Phoenix'.

    While a number of real snakes were used in the picture, there are quite obviously several CGI snakes that aren't hard to spot. In the old days they'd have been made of rubber and operated by bicycle cables, so at least technology has moved on.

    For all the movie's use of 'over the top' acting and humour, what makes the film hang together is the fact that it's all played deadpan - which just makes it all the funnier.
    There are some definite 'bumps' when snakes suddenly lunge at the camera out of nowhere, but it's not a horror classic. Instead, it's a film of its own kind that has no real intention of being taken seriously - a bit of a romp!