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April 26, 2007

Re-Post: Snakes On A Plane Review

I'm reposting this because hey, it's out on DVD and on PPV, and because it will give my lefty stalkers a chance to say, "HE SAID IT! HE SAID IT! He's afraid of brown people, just like we always say!"

Come on, guys. You know you want to say it. So say it. Your readers will buy it. They're stupid. Nearly as stupid as you.

...

Snakes On A Plane
Starring Samuel L. Jackson; Snakes

An incomprehensible premise riddled with plot holes you could fly a 747 through, ending up as a film that simply leaves you scratching your head in absolute befuddlement at the utter incompetence of the filmmakers

Snakes on a Plane is perhaps the the most perfect distillation of the "high concept" movie, a movie that can be summed up in a brief tagline. Here, the tagline itself is the title. You've got snakes. You've got a plane. You've got snakes on a plane. Simple, and yet potentially a vehicle for suspense and fun, you're thinking.

You could not be further wrong. For, while Snakes on a Plane does begin with the interesting premise of a crates full of venomous serpents being smuggled aboard a jetliner in order to kill a crucial witness being en route to a very important trial, it quickly devolves into a confusing, absurdist mess leaving you in slack-jawed wonder at how the screenwriters could have botched such a simple concept so badly.

The problems begin early, as we meet Samuel L. Jackson, who introduces himself as a cop escorting a witness to trial.

Intriguing questions are raised-- "How did this carthief/pimp get a hold of a policeman's badge? Is the genuine, white cop he's impersonating dead, or merely unconscious? What savage violence did he perpetrate to get his thieving hands on a cop's credentials?"

But the screenwriters, inexplicably, leave these questions hanging in the air.

Some suspense is created as we see crates filled with large, poison-dripping snakes being loaded into the cargo hold, and we meet the passengers (briefly, of course) who are altogether unaware of the horror they are about to endure. But much of this suspence becomes sheer farce, as "tension music" rises when we see the snakes hissing in their crates, and yet no one on board takes any notice whatsoever of the "brown person" walking unchallenged up and down the aisles of the cabin.

Helllooooo...?! Hollywood, this your scheduled Clue Call. "Suspension of disbelief"? "Realism"? Any of these words ringing any bells?

A six foot black mamba? How about a six foot three black man-- with a gun, as if we need any additonal terror. (Talk about gilding the lily.)

And yet, in the first of many plot holes, everyone from the passengers to the flight crew to the (inevitable) plainclothes air marshal seems to accept the presence of an unfettered brown person as just "business as usual."

Hey-- Hollywood is in the business of fantasy, right? What-ev-er.

From there, the film turns predictably, but quite fortuitously, to the escaping snakes. Again, an interesting tension is created-- and then wasted. As the menacing, savage figure of Samuel L. Jackson runs up and down the plane, terrorizing people with his dusky complexion and wild, flashing eyes, the viewer keeps wondering, "When will the snakes and the passengers put aside their differences to unite against their common enemy?"

And yet, once again, the screenwriter, apparently on braindead autopilot, lets this interesting possibility slip away.

The most ludicrously implausible plot contrivance occurs about one third of the way through, when Samuel L. Jackson is permitted -- get this -- to enter the cockpit without handcuffs or a straightjacket. A brown person! In the cockpit! The mind reels. I hope the America's real airplane security is a bit more on the ball than these yahoos.

But it only gets worse from there. Because they allow him into the cockpit to make a distress call from the radio. Absurd-- you never let a black man near a radio. He'll spend the next two hours giving "shout-outs" to "his peeps," all the while vital time is wasting away. But I suppose this is a mindless action movie, so I'll let that pass.

But what I cannot forgive is that they then let Samuel L. Jackson leave the cockpit without patting him down. All those pricey electronics everywhere, and they're just going to let a brown person waltz in and waltz out without making sure he hasn't boosted any "avionics bling" he can "fence" to his "homie" G-Dogg and then buy some crack?

In yet another gaping plot hole, the movie never explains how the plane is able to continue flying after Samuel L. Jackson has looted all the instruments and control mechanisms. Whoops! File it under "Hollywood magic," I guess!

Who the hell was the technical advisor on this movie? A retard? Or a retarded brown person? Who knows. Let's just say we've really gone into "Star Wars" territory at this point. Maybe the pilot was using "The Force" to steer the plane.

And that absurd catch-phrase from the movie -- "We got motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!"

Howzabout, "We got a motherfuckin' brown person on this motherfuckin' plane" ? You want high-concept action-terror-- there's your premise, dummies.

Anyway, the movie lumbers towards its downer ending as Sam Jackson savagely threatens all the passengers to grab on to the seats and then blows open a window. The sudden depressurization sweeps all the snakes out of the plane, while the passengers remain safely inside.

Yeah-- "safely." Except now they're left alone, without any snakes to use as defensive weapons, with a frightening brown person right within "stabbing distance."

Some ending. That's just how I want my popcorn movies to end -- on an ambiguously terrifying note, wondering how all those poor passengers will possibly survive with a rampaging brown person having free rein of the plane and their watches and wallets and white women.

I knew I'd have to set my brain to the "Off" position for this movie. I didn't know I'd have to switch my brain's dial to "Full-Out Retard."

Zero stars. One of the most implausible, contrived, and incomprehensible messes of of absurdist illogic I have ever had the misfortune to witness.

Although, I do have to admit-- the parts with Sam Jackson? Some of the scariest scenes captured on film, ever.


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posted by Ace at 04:40 PM

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