Film Reviews

SNAKES ON A PLANE

By • Aug 18th, 2006 •

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New Line Cinema / A Mutual Film Company production
MPAA rating: R / Running time — 105 minutes

QUOTE: A Rocky Horror group experience. SOAP has too much nasty fun to miss.

I do a lot of international travel. Unfortunately, I’m mostly in coach, in the middle seat, surrounded by fat people with too much stuff. Trust me, there are ways around that “one piece of hand luggage and one personal item” rule. I call it “a suggestion.”

Have you noticed the condition of an international flight on landing? The cabins look like they’ve been invaded by 450 poisonous snakes on a pheromone-induced rampage.

SOAP proves that a dynamic star (Samuel L. Jackson) promoting his movie with glee, and a premise that promises nasty bites, will work. My mantra always is: If you go to movies for a SCHINDLER’S LIST socially-redeeming message that is inspiring and will bring about world peace, please stay home.

Surfer Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) happens to stumble upon a notorious Hawaiian sadist (and crime boss) torturing and killing an informant. Jones wisely does not go to the police. But just as a gang of thugs tries to kill him, FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) turns up to rescue him and take him into custody. Flynn and his silent partner have to take Jones from Honolulu to Los Angeles, where said crime boss is awaiting trial. Thing is, the crime boss wants the kid dead. And he has a rather ingenious method – put snakes on the plane and bring the damn thing down.

As usual, a crisis on a plane always happens when one of the stewardesses is on her last flight. It’s the little-known Last-Flight-By-Stewardess Curse. We quickly get a rundown of the passengers: the just-married couple, the horny couple, the airhead with a toy dog, the hip-hop male diva (a “miva”), the sensible stewardess Claire Miller (Julianne Margulies), the pilots, the fat lady, the British blowhard, and, my personal favorite, the lady with the baby who never cries.

There is no mystery here except the surprise nudity right after take-off. Yes! You now know this is going to get very nasty; otherwise, they would have kept the girl’s clothes on. The fun is seeing how the angry snakes kill off the passengers and what the passengers do about it. Without Flynn in control, this plane would be doomed. But the real pleasure is watching how director David R. Ellis and writers John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez (story by David Dalessandro and Heffernan) keep upping the ante. It’s not just the snakes. It’s the dead pilot and an electrical storm. It was pretty exciting. The plane’s destruction is very well done.

We all waited for the moment, and it came at the right moment, when Jackson delivered his now-famous battle cry. The audience cheered. If only Jodie (FLIGHT PLAN) Foster was given such a tour-de-force yell – but she did have a very pristine, well-mannered plane. However, it is evident that nobody bothered putting Jackson back on a plane to film the line. I am certain Jackson filmed that iconic line in his living room. No matter! It works and, in keeping with his set-in-stone-now persona, makes the movie.


Credits:
Director: David R. Ellis
Writers: John Heffernan, Sebastian Gutierrez
Story by: David Dalessandro, John Heffernan
Producers: Gary Levinsohn, Don Granger, Craig Berenson
Executive producers: Toby Emmerich, George Waud, Justis Greene
Director of photography: Adam Greenberg
Production designer: Jaymes Hinkle
Music: Trevor Rabin
Costumes: Karen Matthews
Editor: Howard E. Smith

Cast:
Neville Flynn: Samuel L. Jackson
Claire Miller: Julianne Margulies
Sean Jones: Nathan Phillips
Mercedes: Rachel Blanchard
Three G’s: Flex Alexander
Troy: Kenan Thompson
Big LeRoy: Keith (Blackman) Dallas

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