Look, how could I not do a movie review of Snakes on a Plane! I was looking for a comedy to do - yes, I've reclassified this movie as a comedy - and this movie just has laugh after laugh! Where's the popcorn?!!
How would one describe 'Snakes on a Plane'? Is it an action movie? Yes. Is it a horror movie? Yes. Is it a comedy? Hell yes!! The title says it all! This movie is so ridiculously far-fetched it can't be anything BUT a comedy!
The movie starts with a dude out for a ride on a trail-bike. Sweet. He's on the island of Hawaii so life is pretty cruisy. The sun is out; there's a laid-back tune coursing through his ear-buds; and in a great product placement, our dude stops for a drink of Red Bull.
And then some poor fucker drops from the bridge above our dude, and is hanging there - upside down, with the crap bashed out of him - and tells our dude to leave, to "… get out of here…".
So as our dude hides, the bad guys turn up with the mobster, Eddie Kim, dressed in white and carrying a baseball bat. No guesses as to what Eddie does next. Yep. In what can only be described as really bad acting, Eddie plays piñata on the poor fucker's head. Turns out this guy is - was - a Los Angeles Prosecutor on hols.
Our dude panics - as you would - and takes off on his bike. His trail-bike. His very, very noisy trail-bike. Idiot. They shoot at him. They miss. Idiots.
Our dude hides out at home - watching the news and learns that Eddie Kim is into murder, racketeering and police corruption - he hears someone at his front door. Eddie Kim's goons have found him! Before he has time to piss his pants, Samuel L Jackson has grabbed him, dragged him out onto the terrace and says:
Samuel L Jackson: Do as I say and you live.
That sounds eerily like The Terminator - "Come with me if you want to live". Where's the trademark lawyers?
Shots are fired! Samuel L Jackson takes out two or three goons and he and our dude take off, back to the station. But our dude doesn't know who to trust - Eddie Kim has police on his payroll - and who the fuck knows who they are? This dude is smart.
I really should make some introductions:
- Our Dude: played by Nathan Phillips, an aussie actor who I remember from Wolf Creek.
- FBI Agent Flynn: the magnificent Samuel L Jackson. The man who made 'motherfucker' part of the everyday vernacular.
Agent Flynn has found our dude after he left his Red Bull at the crime scene - fingerprints people! He knows that our dude saw the murder. He also knows that if our dude doesn't put Eddie Kim in jail he'll be killed.
C'mon dude, Eddie Kim knows who you are and won't stop until you're dead! Why don't you believe Agent Flynn dude? Idiot.
Our dude has decided to testify against Eddie Kim, but he has to fly to Los Angeles to do it. We wouldn't have a movie without it now would we! So, let's get to the airport and meet our passengers and flight-crew:
- Claire - the head stewardess on the flight, her last flight: Played by Julianna Margulies, best known for TV series ER, and The Good Wife.
- Tiffany - the hot stewardess: Played by Sunny Mabrey who you might remember from the Species movies.
- Grace - the old stewardess: Played by Lin Shaye, best known in recent years for the Insidious Films, but she's appeared in more than 100 feature films. Legend.
- The 1st Officer - a sexist pig of a pilot, who is wearing snake-skin shoes. Nice touch props department: Played to perfection by David Koechner, who has mastered this type of role in The Office and The Anchorman Films.
- Three G's - a germophobic, arrogant rapper and his two bodyguards, Big Leroy and Troy. Troy is played by Kenan Thompson, best known for Saturday Night Live.
- An earth-mother with a toddler in one of those baby-slings. Played by Elsa Pataky from the Fast and Furious franchise. She's also Chris Hemsworth's missus.
- Mercedes - a very nice, vapid airhead who carries some poor little yappy dog around in her bag.
- A couple at the end of their honeymoon - very sunburnt and hubby is terrified of flying. And he has allergies. And he can smell something weird.
- A sexed-up couple who can barely contain themselves. This was one of Taylor Kitsch's first movie roles - I wouldn't own up to it either.
- A kick-boxing guru who plays a small, but pivotal role.
- Two boys flying home solo. They're like 8 and 12.
Agent Flynn and our dude have commandeered the entire first-class deck of the red-eye flight - they're not flying on the private jet sitting down there on the tarmac like every cop in Honolulu thinks they are. Smart. But it's not a popular decision for the flight-crew or the first-class assholes who have to fly coach.
Claire: … for the inconvenience we are offering you a free travel coupon…
Asshole: A free travel coupon won't help me get to my meeting on time now will it!
Claire: Sir, I'm pretty sure that Coach gets to Los Angeles about the same time as First.
Turns out, it's not the cops that Agent Flynn had to trick, it was the airport groundcrew and they know what flight our heroes are on. The plan is this:
- All passengers leaving Hawaii are given floral leis as they leave.
- Soak those leis in a pheromone that snakes will love.
- Load up a shitload of snakes inside the cargo-hold of the plane.
- Once the plane is over the middle of the Pacific, somehow rig the container the snakes are in, to open.
- The pheromone will not only attract the snakes, it will send them into a sexual frenzy, and/or cause them to become really really cranky, making them bite the shit out of everyone they can.
- The plane will crash into the ocean and Air Crash Investigation will have a hell of a time trying to figure out what the hell happened!
The passengers settle into coach - better known as economy here in Aussie - and there is plenty of 'space' to spread out, as the plane is half full. And away. They. Go. There is chit chat. We get a chance to learn a bit about the passengers and flight-crew. Do you really want me to get into that, or do you want to get to the snakes?!!
Because the timer's just gone off and the thingy's been activated and the snakes are loose in the cargo-hold! Holy shit! Some poor cat just copped it - trapped in it's travel crate. The poor sucker never stood a chance.
Here comes Taylor Kitsch's 40secs of quality acting, as he and his bimbo join the mile-high club in the toilet. Firstly, ewww. Airline toilets are disgusting. And secondly, how the hell?? There is no room!! Anyway, they decide they need to smoke a joint, so Taylor Kitsch removes the smoke-detector. Leaving a nice hole.
For a large, orange, red and white striped fucked-if-i-know-what-kind snake to drop down!
The snake strikes Taylor Kitsch on the throat first, and then latches onto the bimbo's boob. Their screams and floundering are mistaken for sounds of passion - strong aggressive passion - from the flight-crew. They won't be found until later in the flight.
The snakes are making their way along the electrical corridors of the plane, and have arced out the avionics.
**Edit: Yep, my cousin Paul won't know what Avionics are. They are the electronic systems that run things like navigation, instrument display and communications. Essentially, they run the entire plane. Right, he should understand that.**
Fun Fact: Some sneaky bastard in the CGI department gave one of the snakes a nose ring! Check it out - at the 31:20mins mark!!
The pilots are dealing with a mayday scenario! The Captain has to reset the breakers, so he goes down into the hold - where there is smoke - and gets the job done. And a fucker does a flying kamikaze shot at the Captain's neck!! He goes down hard and they all think the Captain has had a heart attack.
The anticipation is building people. The plane is flying into an electrical storm and the turbulence is intense - the passengers are scared. Snakes are slithering around their feet - I don't know how the fuckers haven't been detected yet! Who will be the next victim?
It's some poor prick - in the loo taking a leak - who has the joy of having a snake latch on to the end of his phallus. That's right, his penis. He flails about, tries to pull the snake off, but the snake is pissed that he was... well, pissed on. So it clamps down nice and tight!! Another dead passenger in another toilet.
We have a couple of sneaky snakes. One is slowly making his way up the leg, and under the dress of a portly woman - a bit drunk and having a snooze. She's having a wonderful sexy dream btw. She wakes up to find the snake propelling itself at her right eye. Yeah... she's dead.
A second snake has found one of the leis on the ground and is making passionate love to it. Over and over; round and round. Cute.
A couple of cute little stripey snakes are slithering over the flight controls, making their way towards the 1st Officer. He bashes the crap out of them with a clip-board and in the process, triggers the passenger's oxygen masks to fall. And a whole heap of snakes to fall with them!!
OMFG!!! The snakes are everywhere!! People are in a frenzy. Any actor who didn't make the credits are being massacred!
- One chick goes to throw up into one of those vomit bags and a snake launches itself out of the bag and latches onto her tongue! She's left with a grotesquely swollen tongue, and foam dribbling down her face.
- Agent Flynn's partner - yep, he has a partner, my bad - comes down from 1st class to check things out, falls and gets bitten two or three times, before some yellow motherfucker lines him up and strikes him on the chest. Agent Flynn jumps to his aid, grabs the snake and smashes to the ground, to its death! He then takes out his taser and smites a couple more.
- The two boys are crawling along the ground when a massive python spots them. It rears up, it's neck flares out and it hisses, venom dripping off it's fangs. And then it strikes the youngest boy on the arm. That's just child abuse.
- In the meantime, Mercedes has chased after her little yappy dog and is all the way up the back of the plane. As the plane lurches violently, she hits her head and is knocked out.
This storm is brutal - the turbulence is throwing both passengers and snakes all over the cabin. Agent Flynn, straddling the seats and zapping any snake that dares to come near him, yells for the passengers to come forward to the front of the plane. He plans to block the snakes off.
There is bedlam! In the panic, some poor sap falls, gets trampled on before copping a stiletto to his ear. In a desperate attempt to hide in the loo, the door is broken down and our mile-high-clubbers are finally discovered all bloated, motley and entwined.
I mean seriously, if you're a sadistic fuck like me, this is the funniest part of the movie!! There are soooo many snakes and they are spitting venom and biting every conceivable part of the human body that they possibly can. And the passengers are crawling and clawing their way to the front of the plane, all the while dealing with extreme turbulence. Kudo's to the writers - this is a truly horrifying movie!
- The earth-mother has been knocked out and her toddler has crawled away.
- The steward - yeah there's a steward, my bad - grabs a snake that was about to attack him, throws it into the microwave and zaps it. It EXPLODES everywhere!! Awesome!!!
- As Three G's crew uses trays to bash their way forward, Big Leroy cops a bite on his ample butt - a carpet snake who is making sure every last drop of venom is getting in there.
Mercedes has come to and finds herself all alone, except for her brave little yappy dog and a heap of snakes heading for her, sensing that the smorgasborg has closed and there's only a vapid influencer and tiny canine left. And just as she's about to cop a snake to the head, that kick-boxing guru grabs it and squishes it's head. He puts Mercedes on his back, grabs the dog with his free hand and with Mercedes bashing the snakes with her purse, they make their way to the front of the plane.
The passengers are all safely behind their barricades - made of luggage - when Grace the old stewardess hears a baby crying from the other side. The side where all the bloody snakes are! It's the earth-mother and her toddler! As Grace pulls down the barricade and pushes past bodies and debris, the earth-mother comes to - and realises her toddler has gone! Bub is sitting quite happily, shaking her rattle...
Antagonising a rattle-snake that is coiling, readying itself to strike at the blissfully unaware toddler. Grace moves herself so that she's in-between the snake and toddler, and scoops her up. As the three of them reach the safety of the barricade, Grace collapses. She's been bitten.
Let's take stock. Apart from the shit-ton of people who have already died the following are now injured and need help:
- Grace the old stewardess. She dies.
- The little boy. His arm is grossly swollen and bruised. The earth-mother does the old 'cut the wound and suck out the venom' trick which you should never do. Google it.
- Big Leroy has a bite to his bum. He's up for the earth-mother to suck his butt. She declines.
- Agent Flynn's partner has that bite on his chest that noone knows about. He also dies.
With his partner dead, Agent Flynn grabs the 1st Officer:
Agent Flynn: Hey, we have to figure something out.
1st Officer: Alright, well I know what I gotta do. We're in a 200ft Aluminium tube and we're 30,000ft in the air; and any one of those slimy little pieces of shit can trip a circuit or a relay or a hydraulic and this bird will go down faster than a Thai hooker! So my job, is to keep LAX informed on how totally screwed we are and then find some way to keep this mother in the sky another two hours. Figure that out.
Agent Flynn calls the agent in charge back in LA - played by Bobby Cannavale of Third Watch fame - who springs into action. He gets emergency services ready at the airport; he gets people looking at the planes manifest; and he gets a snake expert. And he makes sure that Eddie Kim is under constant surveillance, ready to be picked up the minute our dude is safely in Los Angeles.
As Bobby Cannavale explains the situation to the snake expert, this pompous, condescending twit, lets Bobby know that the amount of antivenom required to help the passengers is huge. The twit contacts the National Poison Control Centre to help organise antivenom. There is no time to lose - the plane lands in less than 2hrs.
The snake guy gives us a lesson in Herpetology - the science of snakes:
- Snakes won't bite unless provoked - there must be something in the plane that is making the snakes go crazy.
- There's mention of the snakes dry-humping the leis and suddenly 1 + 1 = 8 and DING! DING! Pheromones!! It not only triggers mating behaviour it can provoke serious hyper-aggression.
- Some snake bites can kill you in 2mins; some in 2hrs; others you can sleep off.
- You will die if given the wrong antivenom. Hmmm.
Agent Flynn: That's good news… Snakes on crack!!
The snakes are coming back for round two. They're trying to breach the barriers and the only 'weapons' the passengers have are some fire extinguishers and broken bottles, fashioned into spears. The passengers decide that heading upstairs to 1st class is the smart move.
And there they find our dude, who has up until this point stayed hidden away. The truth is out!! The passengers now know why there are snakes on a plane - Eddie Kim is trying to kill our dude. Bastard! But in true Samuel L Jackson form, Agent Flynn tells them to calm-the-fuck down and work together so they can all get out of this alive.
The passengers head back down to take pics of the dead snakes, so the snake guy can ID them. Our dude tries to go with them, but Agent Flynn won't let him leave the relative safety of 1st class.
Our dude: I can't just sit here doing nothing…
Agent Flynn: I need you to stay up here.
Our dude: Why?!!
Agent Flynn: Because if you die, then all this was for nothing. Sit your ass down.
Just when you think things couldn't get any worse the 1st Officer is attacked! The fucker has seen the 1st Officers shoes and thought yep - that's my mum. It propels itself at the pilot, latching onto his arm. As he wrestles with the snake he inexplicably falls through the open floor into the hold below. Why the fuck were the doors open?? Wait.. who's flying the plane???
Well you may ask, as Claire our head stewardess notices that the plane is pitching up. Then down. Then up. Then down. And down. And down. Claire finds the cockpit empty and as she looks into the hold a snake attacks her! There is a battle. An axe is involved. Claire wins.
The plane is diving toward the ground. Agent Flynn joins Claire as they jump into the pilot's seats and pull back on the controls. The altimeter is spinning out of control - the plane should be breaking apart! Seriously - haven't the writers watched Air Crash Investigaton at all??!
It is mayhem in the cabin. The drink carts have smashed through the barricades and the snakes are barrelling towards the front of the plane. Our dude hears Tiffany the hot stewardess's cries for help and comes to her aid. He starts to bash the crap out the advancing snakes as the passengers scramble up the stairs towards 1st class.
Unfortunately for our honeymooners - the guy who was terrified of flying - they are struck and pinned by an out-of-control drinks cart and then mauled by a dozen or so different snakes. The last we see of our hapless honeymooner, he has foam spewing out of his eye-sockets.
As for the idiotic passengers, they swarm over each other in their free-for-all attempt to get upstairs - and SURPISINGLY! they break the railings. A heap of passengers falls back down - one poor sap ends up with a spike through his neck, another through his stomach.
And then a massive anaconda drops in. Literally.
As it begins to rear back to strike, the asshole grabs Mercedes' little yappy dog and throws the dog at the snake. There is wailing and condemnation, before SUDDENLY! the anaconda wraps itself around the asshole, tighter and tighter until his eyes start bulging out of their sockets and his head starts to leak. And then the snake opens it mouth - dislocating it's jaws - and begins to devour him. Headfirst.
The passengers, knowing that they have to block off the snakes yet again, grab a life-raft, inflate it and whack it over the stairwell. That should do the job.
The plane is now less than 1000ft from the ocean, with Claire and Agent Flynn fighting to bring the plane out of its death dive. The Air Traffic Controller watching the radar keeps telling them to pull the plane up. Really?!! What a fuckwit.
Like all good action movies, the plane evens out at the very last second, with the wings skimming the ocean waves. Nice.
Air Traffic Controller: Holy Fuck!
And of course, that's when our pilot, the 1st Officer climbs out of the hold - he's alive people! Thank Christ!! His arm is a mess - it's just a snakebite or two - but he's fit to fly the plane. Claire and Agent Flynn can piss off and let him be. Ok then.
Back to our snake expert, he has the photos of the dead snakes and there's a problem - the snakes are a nice mix from all over the globe. That means no antivenom. CRAP! But our expert knows of a black-market snake dealer who would have been able to fill Eddie Kim's order and would therefore have the antivenom.
To the chopper!
Back on the plane it's getting hot. Too hot - the aircon is off - which means the air is not recycling. A bit of problem when your 30,000ft in the air! The breaker has to be reset - down in the cargo-hold. Agent Flynn to the rescue!! He jumps in the Dumb Waiter - smites a couple of snakes in there first - and, armed with an improvised blowtorch and a broken-glass-spear he forces his way through a cargo-hold in complete disarray. Oh, and fries a few snakes along the way.
The fuckers think that they can try and strike at the head of the mighty Samuel L Jackson?!!
Bobby Cannavale has reached the black-market snake dealer who tries to resist by exercising his 2nd amendment right to shoot you. The fuckwit is no match for Bobby who wings him, and then the idiot gets bitten by one of his own highly venomous snakes. Karma's a bitch.
And so, with a time-honoured tradition of interrogation where the meds that will save your life are withheld, the snake dealer spills the beans on Eddie Kim - he ordered the snakes, the leis were sprayed with pheromones and the pheromones will then circulate through the air-con.
The air-conditioning system that Agent Flynn has just turned back on. And that needs to be on so they can all breathe.
Nothing else can go wrong can it? How about a dead pilot?!! Yep. The 1st Officer has been set upon by six or more snakes and he has expired.
What a complete CLUSTERFUCK!
Claire has to utter the words that all flight-attendants fear the most: "… is there anyone here who knows how to fly a plane?". Troy steps up - he's got over 2000hrs flight time!! But they still have to clear the snakes out the cockpit. And this is when Samuel L Jackson utters one of the greatest catch-cries in movie history:
Agent Flynn: Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!!!
How best to rid the plane of all these motherfucking snakes? How about shooting a hole in the airplane - a pressurised airplane. Great fucking plan!!
Everyone straps in as best they can - there aren't enough seats so you know someone's going to get sucked out! Agent Flynn shoots a hole in the side of the plane and shit goes wild!! Anything not tied down is getting sucked out of the hole and the hole is getting bigger and bigger!! The door to the cockpit is wrenched open and the snakes fly out. They try to cop one last bite as they wrap themselves around the passengers necks and legs, but the suction is too strong. The life-raft is sucked out, freeing the way for all the snakes and debris from below - and the hole is getting bigger and bigger!
Claire and Tiffany are almost sucked out - we can't lose them! Who would thank us for flying with I-don't-give-a-fuck-airlines when they land?
And then the anaconda with a man-sized bulge in its gut flies out! Brilliant!
Troy and Agent Flynn have pulled themselves into the cockpit and fight to get the plane below 10,000ft - that magical number when the pressure inside the plane matches the pressure outside the plane and shit will stop being sucked out, and people can breathe again.
Let's land this fucking plane!
The only problem is Troy hasn't exactly flown an ACTUAL plane - his 2000 flying hours was on a flight simulator on PlayStation 2. I'm not worried.
Air Traffic Controller: Sir I suggest you relinquish the pilots chair to someone more experienced.
Agent Flynn: … you are talking to the only person up here who has that experience, I suggest you give him what he needs so he can land this thing.
Troy throws down! He takes charge of the plane, the traffic controller and the passengers. The plane bounces once, twice and then barrels down the runway. But the plane is going too fast and Troy never learnt how to brake on his PlayStation 2 - he just crashes and hits the reset button!
With the runway running out and a big motherfucking barricade in their way Agent Flynn screams at Troy:
Agent Flynn: Oh shit, left! Left! Turn this big motherfucker left Troy!!
The plane turns and rolls to a stop just before it hits the terminal. Holy fuck!!
Emergency Services descend on the plane as the passengers and flight-crew slide down the safety-chute to safety. Bobby Cannavale and the snake expert make a timely arrival with the antivenom - the young boy is now unconscious. The snake is ID'd off a pic his big brother drew. Great job bro!
Our dude and Agent Flynn are the last off the plane. Just as our dude is about to jump down the chute, a snake hurls itself out of an overhead locker and with fangs at the ready, latches onto his chest. Agent Flynn shoots our dude twice in the heart. Our dude falls down the chute, DEAD!
Agent Flynn is a dirty cop!!
But wait! Our dude is not dead - he's wearing a bullet-proof vest!! All is right with the world!
There's the usual post-disaster hook-ups:
- Tiffany the stewardess gives our dude her number and a nice big kiss.
- The steward's hot girlfriend throws herself at him and they race home to have sex - everyone thought he was gay.
- Agent Flynn sidles over to Claire and asks her out. Smooth.
Eddie Kim has been picked up - he'll be jailed for 300 or 400yrs. Our dude is safe.
Our dude: Do you remember the first thing you ever told me?
Agent Flynn: What the fuck's that got to do with anything?
Our dude: What was the first thing you ever told me?
Agent Flynn: Do as I say and you live.
Our dude: Exactly. Now it's YOUR turn. Do as I say, and you live.
And our dude takes Agent Flynn surfing - something Flynn has wanted to do all his life.
Now, over the years I have built this film up to be more than it is. In my mind, Samuel L Jackson lets loose with motherfucker this, and fucker that, but the reality is he hardly swears in this movie until close to the end. And look, the parts that I find funny are actually terrifying. Can you imagine being up in a plane with hundreds of amped-up snakes whose only mission is to kill you; in the middle of a storm that is throwing you around the cabin; both pilots die before the plane goes into a death-dive; and the only person who can land the plane, learnt how to on his PlayStation?!! Wow. A true horror movie after all! And let's not forget it has one of the all-time great catch-cries - and again, one that I have misconstrued - but the sentiment is the same...
Get these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane!
I'm sorry. How could it not be a comedy!!!
Fun Fact: Buzz Bingo recently analysed more than 3500 films to see which actor swore the most and I would have thought that Samuel L Jackson was the king of the curse word - I was wrong! Jonah Hill won, thanks in part to 'The Wolf of Wall Street', with Leonardo DiCaprio second and Samuel L Jackson third.