No movie could possibly live up to the hype that preceded this prefabricated exploitation thriller, which mashes up classic airplane-disaster-movie tropes — think THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954), ZERO HOUR (1957) or AIRPORT 1975 (1974) — and venomous snakes. Desperate to nail sadistic crime lord Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson), FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) persuades surfer dude Sean (Nathan Phillips), who had the misfortune to see Kim murder a crusading attorney in Hawaii's Kaena Point State Park, to testify in a Los Angeles courtroom. To keep the notoriously corrupt Honolulu police from tipping off Kim, Flynn books a private jet, then hustles Sean aboard a commercial airliner, commandeering the first-class cabin and infuriating the cabin crew — Claire (Julianna Margulies), who's making her last flight before beginning law school, flirty Tiffany (Sunny Mabrey) and veteran Grace (Lin Shaye), who have to bump the angry premium passengers to coach. But Kim is still one step ahead: His flunkies fill the hold with crates of deadly snakes and soak the complimentary leis with pheremones designed to drive the reptiles wild. As the cross section of humanity that makes up the passenger manifest — young mother (Elsa Pataky) and baby, pushy businessman (Gerard Plunkett), cute honeymooners, hunky kickboxer (Terry Chen), mile-high-club couple (Samantha McLeod, Taylor Kitsch), arrogant rapper (Flex Alexander) and posse (Kenan Thompson, Keith Dallas), Paris Hilton type (Rachel Blanchard) with a Chihuahua named Mary-Kate in her purse, drunken old lady, unaccompanied preteen brothers (Casey Dubois, Daniel Hogarth) — settles in for the five-hour flight, a timer ticks down the minutes until the snakes are loosed. Leaving aside the impossibly high expectations, the trouble with SNAKES is that it feels as though it was assembled in response to a questionnaire: Would you like to see vicious giant snakes bite A) a fat guy's behind, B) a pretty girl's boob, C) a whizzing guy's privates, D) an old hag's eye or E) all of the above? And perhaps it was: Jackson's signature line — "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf--king snakes on this motherf--king plane!" — was inserted in response to fans' persistent requests. The result is too cynically synthetic to deliver any genuine thrills; the nods to low-rent exploitation movies of the past — such as the solarized, green-tinted snake-o-vision — feel disingenuous; the featured snakes are all obviously CGI fakes; and the whole enterprise has the sweaty sheen that comes from trying too hard to be cool.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: No movie could possibly live up to the hype that preceded this prefabricated exploitation thriller, which mashes up classic airplane-disaster-movie tropes — think THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954), ZERO HOUR (1957) or AIRPORT 1975 (1974) — and venomous snakes… (more)