With all the hype that preceded Snakes on a Plane (SOAP) and its equally notable flop at the box office, I knew that I eventually would have to see it. That time finally arrived this week and the movie did not disappoint. SOAP was even more poorly conceived, ridiculous, and awful than I expected. Mission accomplished, New Line Cinema.
Note: I am going to play fast and loose with the spoilers in this review. The concept of spoiling a two year old, bad movie is a little odd, but I apologize in advance for "ruining" anyone’s viewing experience.
The story is simple enough in premise.
- Innocent bystander sees murder committed in Hawaii by generic Asian gangster.
- Bystander is picked up by the FBI and transported from Hawaii to L.A. to testify against generic Asian gangster.
- Generic Asian gangster smuggles hundreds of poisonous snakes and special snake aggression inducing pheromone onto said flight to L.A. in order to kill innocent bystander and prevent said testimony.
- Chaos ensues on said flight to L.A.
SOAP is a horror movie, thus a healthy suspension of disbelief is required to avoid nagging questions about the plot. So while the story is preposterous, I did my best to buy in and enjoy the ride. The story works as a means to set up snakes killing people on a plane, but it doesn’t bring much more to the table. On the plus side, the writers do a great job in making unlikable characters. By about 20 minutes into the movie the writers had me rooting for the snakes to kill everyone including the protagonists.
While a thin plot can be perfectly fine window dressing for top notch acting performances or great action (see my comments on District B13), that is not the case here.
Going in to my viewing I was counting on the presentation portion of SOAP to make it enjoyable. I thought maybe I’d see some cool CGI snakes, a few good action sequences, and lots of cursing by one of my favorite purveyors of swear words, Samuel L. Jackson. It was not to be.
The acting is the weakest part of the presentation. Most of the cast are TV veterans or B grade character actors and it shows. The performers that might bring a higher level game, Jackson and Julianna Margulies, appear to be phoning it in. Even Jackson’s yelling and cursing feel uninspired (sob).
The CGI snakes vary in quality, but are only decent at their best. In several sequences the snakes look completely fake and the large anaconda/python is especially horrible. Speaking of anacondas, maybe they should have used some stock footage from Anaconda.
Not surprisingly, I cannot hand out the rewatchable walrus this time. I would consider another viewing with some buddies just to make fun of SOAP, but that is the only circumstance.