snakes_on_a_plane

Film Review: Snakes On A Plane

By Chris Porter
September 18, 2006

I went out into my backyard last night and crept into a camoflaged super-secret woodshed that holds my multi-million dollar incredibly fabulous blog creating machine. It gleamed as usual, from exquisite craftmanship only solid diamondcan produce, inlayed with elephant tusk piping, as well as handles and keyboard wrapped only in the finest baby seal skin. As I pressed the lucite encased baby fetus ‘power’ button, I was left with only silence. I pressed again, nothing. Hmm, I thought. Knowing that the unit is powered by little girls dreams, my first reaction was assuming my power supply was low, and I felt much too tired to kidnap again that evening. I walked around to the back panel, slid it ajar, and to my extreme horror, the problem stared right back at me with sharp red eyes. It hissed. I had snakes. Snakes on mymuthafucking blog!! And you know what? There wasn’t a got-damned thing I could do about it!

My S.o.a.P. Review (Spoiler Alert!)

Only once in a lifetime does a cinematic masterpiece harness the power to invade the senses and tweak human psyches, changing our collective worldviews as we know it, forever. Ladies and gentlemen, that movie is Snakes on a Plane.

soapDirector David R. Ellis has given us, nay blessed us with this latest thriller. Though he was the second director to take on this monumental epic, he was truly the chosen one to release this thought-provoking commentary on our current terrorist angst ridden society. With its ambiguous title, S.o.a.P. truly explores the depths of viewers imaginations.

Heh heh. Okay, enough of the flowery bullshit. Snakes isn’t a Spielberg-caliber film. Heck, it’s not even up to Tarantino’s usual level of quality. But it is an awesome ride, nonetheless. From all of the ‘net hype over the past 6 months, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. There is a ton of cheese spread all around in this movie, but with a name like SoaP, what the hell else would you expect?

Here’s one reason why I like my hometown of Prescott, Az.: I was searching the papers/internet for a local theater showing SoaP in my vincinity (since I didn’t want to travel all the way down to Phoenix). I figured it would be showing at the huge Harkins mega-multiplex in Prescott Valley, but alas, no showtimes for the movie were listed. I found showtimes in both Phoenix and Flagstaff, but wasn’t quite motivated to drive 3 hours round-trip this evening. On a whim, I looked up the little moviehouse located only a few miles from me (10 theatres), and lo and behold, it was playing! It must be destiny, I thought.

Seeing as 50% of Prescott’s population is made up of retirees, I didn’t suspect that this podunk little town would possess much of a SoaP fanfare, and I was right. Saturday night, only the 2nd night of the movie’s release, and there were about a total of 10 people, including me and my companion, in the theatre. Awesome. The great thing about it was that for only 10 people in a virtually empty theatre, we were all active, hootin’ and hollerin’, and generally ‘into it’ all through the film, reacting at all the right times. Even our applause and laughter during the infamous Sam Jackson ‘line’ was impressive for our scant audience. We’ll get to ‘the line’ later on.

The Setup

Like any true B-movie requires, SoaP  has plot holes wide enough to…er, fly a plane through. The movie opens to a serene looking Hawaiian beach (which is actually Vancouver, B.C.) on a lazy afternoon with Jack Johnson playing in the background. Now I know what you’re thinking – Jack Johnson? He sucks more air than a dyson. Well yes, that’s true, but don’t let a few minutes of mainstream progressive hippy rock deter you. The pace quickens shortly thereafter. While out riding his motorcycle, the character that this plot is based around, a semi-pro surfer guy (some no-name actor), witnesses a menacing-looking asian fellow, who we assume is our bad guy Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson), bludgeon an L.A. prosecutor to death with a baseball bat. This assumption is quickly laid to rest, since the soon-to-be-dead prosecutor spits “fuck you, Eddie Kim” just before being used as a human pinata. After seeing the brutal murder, surfer dude flees the scene, and Kim’s henchmen show up at his place the next day. How is this possible, since they never saw his face, nor did his bike have plates or any other sort of unique identifying features? Simple. Obviously surfer guy is the onlyperson on that particular Hawaiian island (Vancouver) who owns a motorcycle! Case closed!

Fleeing from mobster bullets flying through his little bungalo, surfer guy runs out back through his apartment’s slider door right smack into our protagonist, namely one FBI super-agent Neville Flynn (Sam “Bad Muthafucka” Jackson)! Gun in hand, Flynn manages to take out a few of the gangsters with lightning fast trigger reaction. He says something cheesy, like “come with me if you want to live”, but the way Jackson utters it exudes badass. Now you might ask, how thehell could he have had the foresight to be there at that perfectly precise moment? And i’d say, he’s Neville fuckin’ Flynn, that’s how! You need not ponder such trivialities! Just know that the ninja-like reflexes of Agent Flynn are on the muthafuckin’ case, and there ain’t a got-damn thing the bad guys can do about it!!

So now, surfer-boy’s life is turned upside-down because he is the only witness that can testify against Kim (even though the FBI supposedly has Kim under constant surveillance) as a means to finally bring his syndicate of crime and legacy of violence to an end. Since the trial is being held in L.A., Agent Flynn and his partner must escort surfer-boy by commercial jet. Now that, my friends, is a m-fin’ setup.

The Players

As we board the 747 that is South Pacific Air flight 121, we gradually get to meet the additional cast of stereotypical characters. You have the newlyweds (husband is afraid to fly), the two kid brothers flying alone, the snooty english businessman, the new mother, an obsessive-compulsive rapper-type with security entourage in-tow (complete withunfunny black guy from SNL who does a superb job of not being funny in this film at all), and a Paris Hilton-like princess complete with yapping little doggie tucked away in her purse. Too perfect. Many of our supporting cast (including the flight attendants) get bent out of shape because Agent Flynn has commandered the entire first class section of the plane to secure his witness.

Most of the actors (aside from Julianna Margulies, oh how the mighty have fallen…) are nobodies. However, the cast could have been packed with A-listers, and it still wouldn’t have detracted from the pure ‘kickass-ness’ of Jackson’s role – Agent Flynn WON’T be muthafuckin’ upstaged by no snakes, much less any two-bit actors, bitches. Most of the characters are cut from your average air disaster flick jib, albeit with current day ideosyncracies, but they are only important for snake fodder further in the movie, just as it should be.

The Snakes

snakes2The bad guys (Kim’s crew) are the most genious, ninja-like gang alive when it comes to finding and devising a sinister plot to shuffle their marked man from the mortal coil. But as for common sense? Well, not so much, since this was the least complicated plan they could come up with, opposed to say, simply shooting him as he boarded the plane.

As stated above, Kim’s goons already found surfer-guy with no problems whatsoever. It should be of no surprise that they find the exact flight (which was booked spontaneously) # that their witness will be on, as well as manage to pack the plane’s cargo hold full of deadly snakes from around the globe, releasing them from a container with a specially made timer to go off once the flight is airborne. I mean, Kim’s dudes really have their shit together, as this all seems to swing into motion in about a 7 minute time frame. To top it off, one of the goons even has time to soak leis (they are in Hawaii (Vancouver) after all…) for the passengers with pheremones to ‘make them (the snakes) go fucking nuts’.Splendid.

Mostly CGI creations, the snakes are truly the stars of the show. Big snakes, small snakes, fat snakes, skinny snakes, you name it – there are definately snakes on this muthafuckin’ plane. In my assumption, I would approximate the sum total to be around 7 million of the fanged bastards on the aircraft. They are smart, cold, calculated, and relentless. They do just about everything aside from flying the plane. They disable electrical systems. They see in a creepy green haze (a.k.a. ’snake vision’), and will eat your soul. Marvelous.

A couple decides to have some mile high sex in one of the 747’s bathrooms. They disable the smoke alarm, remove clothes, light up a doobie, and before you know it, bam! titty bite. Another hapless schmo uses the head to drain his trouser snake, only to have said manhood clamped by fangs from another kind of serpent. YOW!! Villainous vipers infiltrate the plane from every conceivable crevace. They come down with oxygen masks, slip into clothes, and even jump out from the airsick bags! No one is safe. The snake pheromone must also act as a steroid too, because these fuckers are fast. The smaller ones move at blinding speed, and the big one (anaconda) is able to strangle/eat a small dog, amble across the cabin, strangle a pretentious british fellow to death and begin to consume him headfirst, all in about 4 seconds total. Fucking hardcore!

The One-Liners

Ah, yes. What modern day B-flick would survive without a treasure trove of wonderful one-liners? S.o.a.P. doesn’t disappoint in this category. From Jackson’s “stick with me if you want to live“, to the infamous added expletive-laden line “i’m tired of these muthafuckin’ snakes on this muthafuckin’ plane“, the phrases, intermingled throughout this future cult classic, never disappoint (Example: “Time is Tissue“). SNL alum David Koechner (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) steals a few scenes as a bawdy, obnoxious pilot, with lines like “I was hoping you’d be the sky candy on this flight” (to Margulies’ character), and “going down faster than a thai hooker”, when remarking about chances of survival later on in the film. I won’t go into all of the clever quips, but there are many, many more weaved into the dialogue of this cornfest that will have fans reciting them for years.

Conclusion

This movie should become a doppelganger when released on DVD. I’ve seen the ‘net hype for over six months on this baby, and I believe the film lives up to it. If you too are hip to the hoopla, and was still looking for some movie with a thought provoking, airtight plotline, then you are retarded, and fail at the internets. This movie was born to be a camp-fest, and serves up the cheese three-fold. This film is a rollercoaster of excitement, humor, and gore. If you want a true B-predictable flick that’s a blast to experience, offers great effects, some surprises, many chuckles, and one badass muthafucka (Sam Jackson), then go see S.o.a.P. – Right now!!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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