Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Snakes On A Plane (Film)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson
Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) witnesses the murder of a federal
prosecutor at the hands of nefarious gangster Eddie Kim (Byron
Lawson). FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel Jackson) convinces Sean to testify against Eddie in Los Angeles while under federal protection. On the trans-Pacific flight from Hawaii to LA, Eddie Kim's people have unleashed a zooful of poisonous, pissed off snakes onboard in order to kill Sean, bring down the plane, or both. But not if Flynn has anything to do with it.
Pre-fab camp classic (just add venom), Snakes On A Plane (New Line Cinema) is deliciously tacky, a B-movie that thinks it's a B-movie and wears its B-ness as proudly as an A+. The script is ridiculously on the nose, with groan-to-laugh inducing, disposable cliches such as "I need you to be strong" tossed about like stale movie house popcorn. Where Snakes does get some fang for its buck is with the inventive, freaky, scary good snake attacks. You gotta love these pheromone-juiced reptiles ("Well that's good news," says Jackson's Flynn dryly. "Snakes on crack."), the most sexually predatory pests in history (you may never feel safe in an airplane bathroom again). Along with amusing innovations like the Snake Cam (or "Snake-Vision,"a greenish, reptilian point of view that incites third grade giggles whenever presented), director David R. Ellis (Final Destination 2 invokes outrageous, great fun, concocting even more outlandish deaths and human retaliations than the next. Between the aerial histrionics of turbulence, pilot incapacitation and error, as well as snake assaults that ratchet up the fast and venomous action, Ellis creates a movie through which it is impossible to sit still or quietly.
This ain't "Snakes on Broadway", it's Snakes on a Plane. Byron Lawson's a well-cut but horrendously acted gang lord as Eddie Kim. Rachel Blanchard's strawberry blonde hair is as appealing as her performance. Ditto for Julianna Marguiles' feathered, flight attendant/hair. Besides our hero, only Flex Alexander's "Awwwwight," Diddy-ish, germphobic rap star Three Gs, auteur behind the hit "My Booty Go Thump," offers a semi-interesting performance - but mostly for the paranoia.
Sam, of course, does Sam. As has been widely reported, he took on this role for the title alone. As has been widely reported, the Internet community also inspired the latest profane entry into the pantheon of Samuel L. Jackson angry one-liners. And as also been widely reported, the reshoots made after production had wrapped were egged on by the fan craze and Jackson himself in order to beef up the movie from a punkass PG-13 to a kickass R. Flying on the strength of his whole toolbox of Sam Jackson incredulous looks and sarcastic, take-no-crap remarks, Snakes holds its own on both the human and serpent sides.
In spite of a wholly preposterous (is there any other kind in a movie this aggressively ludicrous?), convenient non-twist at the end and a surprisingly tame Trevor Rabin (Armageddon) score, Snakes on a Plane is as reckless and fast-paced as a runaway airline drink cart. To quote the perpetually exclamatory Samuel L. Jackson, "People either want to see this movie or they don't. So let 'em know: If you're coming to see this movie, you're going to see some deadly-ass snakes. That's what it should be called. 'Deadly-Ass Snakes on a Plane.'" I'm with you, Sam, even if it takes the guesssssts of honor a half hour to arrive. In an age where you can't even bring a ginger ale on a flight, people could use a good scream and a good laugh. Oh, and some motherf***ing snakes on my motherf***ing screen.
Edwardo Jackson (ReelReviewz@aol.com) is an author and LA-based screenwriter, visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com