Snakes on a Plane


 Well, of course, that is exactly what it is.

A red-eye flight from Honolulu to LA with the FBI escorting a prime witness, who has seen a brutal murder by a gangster, plus a plane half-full of the usual cross-section of characters. What would any criminal do to stop the witness getting to court to testify? Well, here is one scenario - though Samuel L Jackson does tell LA that he is in the middle of a security scenario they never thought of: put a whole lot of snakes in the cargo hold, sprinkle the Hawaiian leis with stimulants and set a mechanism to let the snakes loose after the meal service!

How they got the snakes (all exotic and not native to the US, let alone Hawaii, that has none) through security over to Honolulu and then shifted them to the return plane defies realism. But realism is not really an ingredient of this movie.

Thank goodness Samuel Jackson and Juliana Margulies are on board to bring some heroics and common sense to the proceedings. Jackson takes it all quite seriously except that every so often he drops a 'cut the ground from under your feet' sardonic remark. Australian Nathan Philips (Wolf Creek) gets his first chance at international stardom as the witness.

The writers must have been through every screenplay collecting all the situations they could and popping them all in to provide a mixture of fright, panic, mayhem and final victory!

For older film buffs and fans who have watched the old movies over the years, it is enjoyable spotting the predecessors: point of no return from The High and the Mighty, loss of pilot from Airport 75 with flight attendant flying the plane, possible crashes from Airport 77 (though no bomber on board), passenger help from Fearless, the theme of the Red Eye from Red Eye, panicking mothers from Flight Plan, crawling through the gear from Executive Decision, doom from Final Destination, obstreperous passengers from Passenger 57 etc etc - and an ending from the Flying High/Airplane series!

Snakes on a Plane is nearer to Flying High than The High and the Mighty. There are nice and heroic characters. There are some obnoxious ones (the worst of whom is thankfully devoured by a python). But, dog lovers beware! And Playstation 2 will be grateful for product placement.

Tongue-in-cheek disaster meets animal menace!
LONDON - 11 September 2006 - 400 words

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