Twitter Plot Summary: What’s the best way to stop someone testifying against you? Fill his plane full of snakes, naturally.
Five Point Summary:
1. Mile High Club snake fail.
2. Where’s the autopilot from Airplane when you need him?
3. Not the dog!
4. Big snake, bad man.
5. There’s that line.
If you think about it, maybe Snakes On A Plane is the reason why The Asylum and the creature features of B-movie schlock producer Roger Corman have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. The notion of a film being so bad it’s good is an oxymoron in itself, but then we as the movie audience are often suckers for mediocrity. How else would you explain the careers of Michael Bay and Uwe Boll? Snakes On A Plane sets the template for all the mockbusters that have ensued since 2006 – cast a big name star, a moderately well known star, or a star of years gone by who has since faded into obscurity, and hand them an absolutely ridiculous premise. They spend a couple of weeks on the film, get paid, and it usually gets released direct to DVD.
Except that’s not quite the same formula for Snakes On A Plane. The film received a wide cinematic release, and last minute reshoots were ordered to bring it more in line with what fans on the internet wanted to see. Whilst it underperformed against the studio’s expectations, it has become a cult classic in its own right.
Snakes has the same tone as an early WWE Films production, played (mostly) straight but with the understanding that its audience are only here because of the Ronseal title (it does what it says on the tin) and for Samuel L Jackson saying “that” line. You know – the one where he swears. The script, in a rare and shocking moment of a studio movie showing self-awareness, knows that the premise silly so concentrates on providing 100% entertainment. Filling the plane with a vast array of badly drawn stereotypes and an even bigger variety of snakes, villain Eddie Kim (Lawson) is intent on stopping Sean Jones (Phillips) from testifying against him. What he didn’t count on was the presence of Samuel L Jackson.
Much of Snakes’ appeal would be lost if Samuel L Jackson hadn’t signed up to play FBI detective Neville Flynn. He’s the glue that makes all of this work, a one man army and bad-mouthed quote generator who retains a knowing nudge-wink in his eye every time he’s on screen. It would be half the film it is if he wasn’t in on the joke.
Bumping off your target with a plane full of snakes is probably the dumbest idea anyone has ever had, but it makes for an entertaining film at least. What better way to spend 100 minutes than by watching snakes bite into people in a variety of amusing ways? The snakes themselves are mostly CGI, with a few real life snakes used where appropriate and/or necessary. Not that it makes much difference in the grand scheme of things, of course.
Despite the work of the esteemed Samuel L Jackson it’s actually surprising that the whole thing remains as thoroughly entertaining as it is, and that can mostly be attributed to the script that, whilst completely insane, still manages to maintain a decent pace and only seems to start showing signs of weariness after most of the people likely to be killed off have been killed off. By that point you’re already in the home stretch and you can forgive what is ultimately a minor blip. Let’s face it – you’ll have already got your money’s worth.