Snakes on a Plane

Dir: David R. Ellis
Star: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard

Pure and simple. That describes both title and resulting film, which needs little more plot synopsis than its name provides. FBI agent Flynn (Jackson) is accompanying a witness from Honolulu to LA, but the criminal against whom he'll testify has placed a potent mix of pheromones and venomous reptiles on board. The result is, as Flynn puts it, "snakes on crack." Can our hero and the other passengers fend them off long enough for the plane to reach its destination? This is, of course, utter nonsense on just about every level, not least being an amazingly contorted scheme to dispose of someone: surely a shoulder-mounted rocket would be equally as effective? And it takes our hero 90 minutes to reach a solution which occurred to me well before I saw the film.

However, logical analysis seems a waste of time with any film like this, and on virtually every other level besides smarts, Snakes succeeds admirably. It is popcorn fun in which Jackson proves, once again, why he may be the baddest mother in Hollywood, and he deadpans his way through the film admirably. You can see why they tagged the director of Final Destination 2 for this, especially during the set-up phase, when you're just begging for the nastiness to begin. And once it does, the deaths and nastiness come with enough invention and energy to keep the roller-coaster ride moving. The product placement is occasionally grating (I wonder how much Sony paid?), but glorious moments such as the descent of the oxygen masks - no prizes for guessing what comes with them - overcome any such issues.

August 2006

Snakes on a Mark Houghton
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