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Snakes On A Mother-Filking Plane!
Reviewed by Gary Mitchel, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   David R. Ellis
Genre:   Snakes on a plane
Released:   August 18, 2006
Review Date:   August 19, 2006
Audience Rating:   R, baby!
RevSF Rating:   9/10 (What Is This?)

Do what I tell you and you'll live. — Nelville Flynn

The only way you don't know anything about this movie is that you've been living in a cave with no Internet connection for about the last six months. Snakes on a Plane is the biggest thing to hit the Web since, well, ever. It's really not hard to imagine why.

First, it's a movie staring the coolest man to ever walk the earth, Samuel L. Jackson, an amazingly talented actor who's part of a select club that can do both serious work and popcorn flicks without losing credibility. Many movies coast to success just on his presence, like the Shaft remake, and still others that are taken over the top by his being there, like The Incredibles.

And I can't think of a movie with a better title. Snakes on a Plane tells you everything you need to know. Plot? Snakes on a Plane. Genre? Snakes on a Plane. Is this a movie that might interest me? It's called Snakes on a Plane.

All you need to know is: Does it deliver? The answer is an unequivocal HELL YES!

The setup is pretty darn simple. There are snakes on a plane and they're killing the hell out of people.

You want details? Fine. Crime boss Eddie Kim (Byron "Fallen" Lawson) goes to Hawaii to kill the D.A. Poor surfer guy Sean (Nathan "Wolf Creek" Phillips) witnesses the murder, so now he's the only guy who can put Kim away. Kim wants Sean dead, but he has to get through badass federal agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. "Bad Mother Filker" Jackson).

Kim manages to get a crate stuffed with hundreds of really ticked-off snakes, everything from pythons to cobras, onto the plane. And there's actually a semi-logical reason why these snakes will strike anything that moves after they're released. Twenty minutes into the flight, the crate pops open and the mother-filking snakes are all over the mother-filking plane!

Yes, there are some plot holes there. Yes, the idea, if you really think about it, wouldn't work. But that doesn't matter. Snakes doesn't have any grandiose ideas about itself. It knows that you came to see a pure, unadulterated B-grade action-horror flick about vicious snakes killing people trapped on a plane. It gives you everything you could ask for.

We get snakes sneaking up on people, with the obligatory "snake-eye" cam. We get vicious bites to every single part of your anatomy that you would hate to have a venomous reptile sink its fangs into. We have menaced babies, frightened flight attendants, panicked passengers, tumultuous turbulence, careening carts and a bloated body count. And, of course, we get Samuel L. Jackson being a badass with many quotable lines.

What really carries Snakes over the top, however, is that it's smart B-grade entertainment. It's not hokey parody of itself. Snakes takes its own plot seriously, and puts everything together with enough plausibility that you can hang your disbelief on it. Then the snakes cage pops open and the plot points slither along fast enough to keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

Snakes also knows that the key to a good horror movie is that you have to care about all the characters, even those that are destined to become monster chow. The movie gives us a batch of characters that may not be very deep but that have enough personality and quirks that you can easily love or hate them. When characters are facing pit-viper peril, you either care enough to root for their escape or you hope the snake gives them what they've got coming.

Snakes not only gives you characters that you can care about, it does something unusual for a B-grade monster flick: It deveops these supporting characters. Most of them start off as one-note cliches but grow beyond those by the last reel.

Snakes on a Plane is not by any means a "serious" movie. It is, however, the most fun I've had watching a movie in ages. It's pure entertainment, and like any great roller coaster it's full of laughs and screams. It proudly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the great modern B-grade monster flicks like Lake Placid, Eight-Legged Freaks, Bubba Ho-Tep and Dog Soldiers. It won't win any Oscars, but it will become a beloved cult flick and spawn many catchphrases.

Gary Mitchel will never leave his seatback tray in an upright and locked position again.

 
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