Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard New Line Cinema’s non-stop adventure flight Snakes on a Plane, with flight crew of director David R. Ellis (Cellular, Final Destination 2) and screenwriters John Hefferman and Sebastian Gutierrez. Please remember to stow all logic and scientific knowledge of snakes in the overhead compartments, make sure your tray-tables are in the upright position and then fasten your seatbelts in preparation to enjoy a wild ride. Your flight time will be 105 minutes of hissing excitement.
Snakes on a Plane is a movie that has been generating tons of buzz on the net since it was first announced. Lead actor Samuel L. Jackson signed up only because of the title and when it was temporarily changed to “Pacific Air Flight 121”, he demanded it be changed back.
The story is that a major crime figure goes to Hawaii and murders a prosecutor who is vigorously pursuing him in court, but the murder is witnessed by the victim’s son (Nathan Phillips) and the son agrees to testify against his father’s killer. The mobsters try to kill the witness but the attempt is foiled at the last moment by the arrival of bad-ass FBI agent Neville Flynn (Jackson).
Flynn has to get his witness to Los Angeles and he plays a bit of a shell game, letting the local cops think that he will be flying a private jet to L.A. from Honolulu, but the mobsters manage to get the snakes onto the commercial flight that Flynn takes his witness on, commandeering the entire first class section and causing a number of passengers who were scheduled to fly first class to be bumped down to coach.
Once the plane is in the sky, a device triggers the release of the snakes and the real adventures in fun and survival begin. Who will be the first to be struck? Will the pilot and co-pilot both survive in order to be able to land the plane?
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the Special Agent in Charge is Hank Harris (Bobby Canavale of Third Watch fame) is trying to find a snake expert to assist, and to locate anti-venom to aid those who have been bitten on board the plane. He locates Dr. Steven Price (Todd Louiso) who proves to be a true expert on the origins of the snakes and in finding the one person in the Los Angeles area who would have the ability to provide all of those different snakes to the big-time mobster.
Snakes on a Plane is terrific entertainment IF you can remember to suspend logic and science and just watch the darn movie. Jackson is at his best, in his element in a role that was tailor-made for him. The frenetic action is just right, the cheesy dialogue is perfect and it all works. The snakes make some great kills that are just incredible from a viscerally visual perspective. This is a definite improvement on films like Eight Legged Freaks and other comedy/horror combinations.
Mr. Jackson said “This is not a film for critics” and I would agree that most critics would not enjoy this kind of film. Then again, here at Tail Slate, we aren’t most critics. We loved Snakes on a Plane.