Although Samuel L. Jackson is not one of my favourite actors, this movie stands out thanks to the performances of all actors, popular and experienced or not.
I had already seen one movie by David R. Ellis, "Cellular", cool but hindered by a plot often unlikely, if not impossible. This time, thanks to the co-direction of Lex Halaby, it seems that one year has guaranteed the improvement many would get in 5 or 10 years. The plot of this flick skims perfection and the only characters I would have avoided with pleasure are the two stereotypical
spiteful obese blacks. I believe it was necessary to spice the plot and because there are always guys like them on a commercial plane, so it is acceptable to have them, all the more considering they don't occupy too many minutes, making way for the protagonists, that is man's biggest mythological foe, venomous snakes.
The summary plot goes as follows: while practicing motocross in Hawaii, Sean Jones witnesses the brutal murder of an important American prosecutor by the powerful mobster Eddie Kim. He is protected and persuaded by the FBI agent Neville Flynn to testify against Eddie in Los Angeles. They embark in the red-eye Flight 121 of Pacific Air, occupying the entire first-class. However, Eddie dispatches hundreds of different species of snakes airborne with a time operated device in the luggage to release the snakes in the flight with the intent of crashing the plane. Neville and the passengers have to struggle with the snakes to survive, fleeing to the first-class deck of the aircraft, as the lower, the control room, the toilettes and the pilots' cabin are already infested. Only a few survive the mortal attacks and only after hours of terror that look like infinite the snakes are sucked out by a shot-driven gap created by the FBI agent into the ocean before the emergency landing onto L.A., while the criminal is being arrested on the terra ferma.
OK, I'm sure you - like me - are already sick and tired of disaster movies, airplane hijackings and other inflactioned, often lame, flight action movies; no worry: "Snakes on a plane" is different: extremely fast-paced, most of the scenes are ultra-realistic (besides of course when the reptiles were digitally generated), the wounds couldn't be distinguished from real ones not even by an erpetologist; as if it weren't enough, the snakes' behaviour is merciless and brutal beyond imagination, sparing no innocent child.
Don't be repelled by the title that might make you think about a moronic product; this is a rare masterpiece you can enjoy either with your gore-loving friends and with your parents. A real nightmare that shall decidedly increase your snake phobia and will make you feel even less comfy the next time you embark on a plane.
I wouldn't call it a B-movie and neither a Blockbuster; certainly it doesn't belong to the elite flicks you can find played or prized at a specialised festival, but after all, can't we get rid of the burden of categories once?
Solid, never boring, scary, gruesome, funny, devoid of frills, great scenes with a couple of stunning blond actresses, the plot is king and not the photography or other nuances; these are the main reasons why you shouldn't miss it for any reason. It also works on small screens. If you're more than an amateur you'll realise it's money spent well, either in a theatre or if you buy the DVD, as you'll want to watch it again and again.
- 1st April 2009