Snakes On A Plane

Produced by: New Line Cinema

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano   

The summer’s biggest hype masterpiece came to theaters last week in the form of the highly talked about, internet golden child, New Line Cinemas’ Snakes On A Plane.  I went to see this film for one reason only, it looked like pure crap.  I have to imagine the executives in charge of this movie knew what a big steaming pile of scales they had in this movie.  Instead of dumping it however, they went the opposite direction; they started an internet buzz and advertised the hell out of it.  Even the title promised no Oscar Awards, little dialogue and a laughable plot.  They threw the whole premise of the movie out there for the audience in the title and sat back to see who took the bait.  I did, and my jaw still hurts from the hook that came with it.

            Snakes On A Plane follows Special Agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson, Freedomland, Shaft) as he transports a witness of the murder of an L.A. attorney on a plane so he can put away an infamous and vicious crime boss.  The problem occurs, when the same crime boss, smuggles hundreds of poisonous snakes onto the plane—hence, the title—sets their cages to open when they were halfway from Hawaii to L.A.  To makes matters worse, the snakes were sprayed with pheromones to make them extra-specially violent.  Halfway through a five hour flight with a witness to protect and plane load of crazed snakes on his tail, Agent Flynn has to protect his witness, keep the pilots alive, keep the passengers as calm as possible, and get “these mother f***ing snakes off this mother f***ing plane!!”

            If you think that synopsis is short, I’m sorry, but that’s pretty much the entirety of the movie.  There is nothing more complicated than in this movie.  So let’s just do the pros and cons, and I’ll start with the cons, just because there are so many of them. 

            First of all, the movie was littered with subplots that went nowhere, like the introduction of kick boxing champion Terry Chen (Chen Leong).  Here I thought they were setting up for a humorous, yet entertaining martial arts vs. snakes fight, but alas, it was not to be.  The character just fell flat. 

There was one character, whose change was so abrupt it left me wondering if he’d been infected with a rare strand of snake venom that actually made you nicer or if there was an edited scene somewhere that would have explained the shift. 

The dialogue was weak, the acting, bland, giving me the sense that they didn’t really want to be making the movie in the first place, and the plot was thin as a melting sheet of ice.  In the vein of old-school movies like Alligator, Snakes On A Plane, delivers scene after scene of action, death, and lots of screaming victims, but little else. And to make matters worse, the ending song—complete with video—was an embarrassment to watch.

Now for the pros.  Being a cheap, B-rated horror flick, there were certain criteria that must be met, and this movie did so with its own unique flare.  One rule, is, a**hole characters must die.  Annoying, uptight snobs getting what they deserve is a staple in these action/horror movies.  Their purpose is to be killed so the audience will know there’s danger without losing anyone they like.  Plus it is fun to see a stuffy, old fart be eaten by an anaconda.

Sex is another staple in these types of movies.  This criteria was met in an interesting way.  Overtly horny snakes looking for meals in certain erogenous zones made me wince and chuckle at the same time.

For all its faults, however, Snakes On A Plane, never purported to be anything it wasn’t, never promised more than a fun, action film distraction, which is exactly what it was.  Was it worth the money I spent on it?  Probably not.  Did I enjoy myself?  Shamefully, even after a few showers, I have to say yes.  Snakes On A Plane…the best worst movie of the summer.


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