Snakes on a Plane (R) ★★★

Review Date: August 18th, 2006

Come on, it’s a plane full of motherf%!#in' snakes with Samuel L. Jackson doing the slicin’ and dicin’. What do you think I’m going to say?


Maybe you’re concerned Snakes on a Plane isn’t going to live up to the hype. Stop worrying. Those fanatic Internet bloggers, who’ve been raving about the movie just from the snippets they’ve seen, pegged the movie to a tee. SoaP is everything its cracked up to be and more, a monster movie and disaster flick rolled into one. Granted, the plot is wafer thin: FBI Agent Neville Flynn (Jackson) has to transport a key witness, Sean (Nathan Phillips), from Hawaii to L.A. so he can testify against a nasty mob boss, who, in turn, hatches such a diabolical plan to dispose of the witness that even James Bond would be impressed. That’s right. Said nasty mob boss arranges the release of several varieties of poisonous snakes on the flight so either a) Sean will get bitten and die and/or b) the plane crashes. End of story. How can you go wrong with that?


Jackson is one smart cookie. He heard the title of this movie and said yes immediately--despite the objections of his agents--recognizing the brilliance of a title so obvious, it's foolproof. “My agents have finally figured out that I’m going to do what I want,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. “Every now and then, I want to do a movie that isn’t ‘stretching my abilities.’ It’s that simple.” All we have to do to be satisfied is watch Jackson scream a few cuss words, lay down the law with the freaked passengers, say lines like, “Well, that’s good news. Snakes on crack,” and kick some serious serpent booty. There’s a bunch of unknown actors also onboard to serve mostly as snake food, but a few do survive, including former ER nurse Julianna Margulies, who does a nice turn as the head flight attendant, sparring with the snakes and getting a little cozy with Jackson.


In the words of Indiana Jones, “Snakes. Why does it have to be snakes?” There’s a distinct phobia in the air whenever you mention those particular reptiles, so that’s why the “monster” part of SoaP is even more horrifying--and changing the rating from PG-13 to R makes a world of difference. I mean, um, OUCH. That’s basically what I was mumbling through the harrowing parts, watching through splayed fingers. Director David R. Ellis even goes as far as to give you a snake’s perspective as it zeroes in on its next victim. Shiver. Yes, the premise is ridiculous. Yes, you have to sit through some silly exposition before the snakes show up and will be able to pick out the ones who’ll make it through till the end. But honestly, if you love a good disaster-y thrill ride and don’t mind snakes, SoaP is the last summer movie you should see.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.