SNAKES ON A PLANE
Sean (Nathan Phillips) witnesses the murder of a prosecutor by notorious gang leader Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). Eddie's men hunt Sean down to his Honolulu hotel room but he escapes with the help of Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson), one of the only honest cops left in Hawaii. When Flynn decides to transport Sean back to L.A. to testify against Kim, the gang leader comes up with the only logical way to stop him: snakes on a plane! Now Flynn is forced to battle a plane full of snakes, keep his star witness alive and develop a burgeoning romance with airhostess Claire (Julianna Margulies), all while keeping the plane in the air. He soon gets bleeping sick of those bleeping snakes on this bleeping plane...
Review by Joel Meares:
Guiltily, I must confess that one of my favourite Samuel L. Jackson movies is Renny Harlin's Deep Blue Sea. CGI sharks torment a group of scientists in an underwater research facility, and major star Jackson is one of the first to dust the bite. That confession does little for my critical credit, but it's a schlocky good time. Snakes on a Plane sees Jackson back in crass mode and I for one could not be happier. Jackson's unflinching eyes carry this B-movie gem, a film that turns out to be everything it, and a legion of online fans, said it would be.
Whether you like what that is, is a matter of taste. David R. Ellis' film is an exploitative airborne romp, the kind of illogical farce that bothers not for a second with how snakes might get on a plane, but spends ninety dizzying minutes detailing their exploits once onboard. As soon as the oxygen masks drop, Ellis fills the screen with outlandish numbers of snakes performing some truly tantalising feats. His snakes are super fast, loud and vicious, and no targeted part of the human anatomy is spared. Nipples and genitals are gorged upon, babies threatened, and dogs digested. The action is chaotic; the movie leaves no airline-in-danger cliché unexplored. Snakes are bountiful but oxygen isn't, plus there is a storm... and where did that pilot go?
On the ground, the film fares less well. The prologue in Hawaii is the usual pedestrian foreplay, while a subplot involving a snake expert (Todd Louiso) plays like a particularly dull installment of Walker: Texas Ranger. The in-flight snake food is appropriately cardboard but some characters stand out. It is nice to see Julianna Margulies enjoying herself as the resourceful Claire, and for Australian audiences Nathan Phillips does well in his underdeveloped role. Naturally, Jackson is superbly straight throughout, whether wrestling snakes, steering planes or sputtering one of many choice lines of dialogue. I really like his "snakes on crack" quip. As was the case with a certain shark movie before it, Snakes on a Plane benefits greatly from Jackson's presence. He is the glue, the spine if you will, of this otherwise invertebrate little creature feature.
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SNAKES ON A PLANE (M)
CAST: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander, Kenan Thompson, Keith Dallas
PRODUCER: Craig Berenson, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn
DIRECTOR: David R. Ellis
SCRIPT: John Heffernan, Sebastian Gutierrez (story by David Dalessandro, John Heffernan)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Greenberg
EDITOR: Howard E. Smith
MUSIC: Trevor Rabin
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jaymes Hinkle
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 24, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: December 13, 2006