“I’ve had it with these motherf**king Snakes of this motherf**king plane!” There you go, I’ve said it, the line that Samuel. L. Jackson was born to say. The whole film seems to be building up to that line but unfortunately by the time it comes Snakes on a Plane has run out of steam. Don’t get me wrong, Pacific Air Flight 121 is a fun ride, but after all the internet generated conjecture, rumours and publicity, that’s all this film is. Any hope of Snakes on a Plane being the ultimate trash experience have been sucked out of the window along with a few rotting snake riddled corpses along the way.
The premise is slim to say the least, a mere excuse to get the cast on the plane and become snake food. The cast too is a glorious collection of clichés that wouldn’t be out of place on any 70s disaster movie, with the possible exception of the Paris Hilton look-alike Mercedes Harbunt with her pet Chihuahua Mary Kate who provides the film with one of its biggest deliciously macabre laughs. Samuel. L. Jackson is fantastic as the FBI agent Flynn and Julianna Marguiles is likeable as airhostess Claire Miller despite continuing her run of post E.R. performances in trash like Ghost Ship. Australian actor Nathan Philips of You and Your Stupid Mate and Wolf Creek is fine as Sean Jones but to be honest everyone pales into insignificance next to Jackson at full throttle. Ex- stuntman David. R. Ellis handles the directing duties with aplomb moving up from previous efforts like Cellular and Final Destination 2 but the biggest let down unfortunately for a film called Snakes on a Plane, is the snakes. The dreaded CGI beasts just don’t look real, the image is often blurred and despite the best efforts of the actors, just don’t look scary. They even throw in a green tinged snake-cam to no real effect. This is possibly why the studio allowed the crew an additional five days to up the horror and move the film away from the family fun of a PG-13 to a harsher, hopefully more profitable R. The moments that are added are pretty obvious, copious mile high club style nudity, bloody insert shots and the glorious profanity of Jackson’s infamous line were all added after poor audience reaction at test screenings.
Here come’s the crunch; with a film like Snakes on a Plane you have to be able to laugh at people being killed by snakes in a more and more preposterous fashion. If you don’t find the thought of snakes leaping out of a toilet funny, then don’t go and see Snakes on a Plane. If the name of this film gets you excited at its mere utterance then grab a group of friends and see it at a packed multiplex. It’s as simple as that.