Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a Plane
Directed by David R. Ellis
Written by John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez from a story by Heffernan and David Dalessandro
New Line Cinema

It seems like ages ago when this movie was announced, when just the mere premise launched a fanbase eagerly anticipating this like a new Star Wars. The interest in Snakes on a Plane is one of those curious studies in American culture (do any other cultures celebrate camp like we do?)--the entertainment that can be derived through the bad, having fun with something that people worked hard to make and failed in their honest attempt, only to be appreciated for different reasons than intended. It's what made "Mystery Science Theater 3000" a huge cult hit.

Snakes on a Plane works hard to give its core internet fans a lot of moments to talk about--like the time the snake latches on to this body part, and remember the time when the snake latched on to that body part? I don't hesitate to say that this movie delivers what the title promises, and the campiness can sometimes be fun--especially the absurd plot--Samuel L. Jackson plays an FBI agent who has to escort a witness (Nathan Phillips) to L.A. from Honolulu to testify against crime lord Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). Trouble awaits on the plane as Kim has found a way to sneak hundreds of snakes on the plane in the effort to bring the witness down, either through deadly bites or a plane crash--whatever works.

My main complaint with this movie is that it's a pretty sloppy attempt--even Joe Dante (Gremlins) in his prime would try to deliver some suspense, none of which you get here. It's a full-on blast of snakes and you get to see Jackson taze those muthafuckas, and of course the tacked-on line that uses "motherfucker" in the way only Jackson can. No curse in the English language was more suited to one human being--but you can tell it's tacked on by the fact that the rest of the movie, Jackson keeps it clean.

This isn't as bad as I thought it might be, but it certainly could have appealed to my tastes a little better--the suspense thing is one factor, and letting scenes breathe is another. There's one scene that should get people rolling with laughter involving a bathroom exchange between snake and man--only, I thought, they could have made that scene longer and more over-the-top and made it even more memorable than it is. As such, the movie is in a hurry and it blows its chance; a lot of this flick I thought to myself, "What a damn shame."

Should satisfy most who are interested, however. I wanted more.


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