Samuel L. Jackson as Nelville Flynn
Julianna Margulies as Claire Miller
Nathan Phillips as Sean Jones
Bobby Cannavale as Hank Harris
Todd Louiso as Dr. Steven Price
Rachel Blanchard as Mercedes
Flex Alexander as Three G’s
Kenan Thompson as Troy
Keith Dallas as Big Leroy
Byron Lawson as Eddie Kim
David Koechner as Rick
Lin Shaye as Grace
Bruce James as Ken
Sunny Mabrey as Tiffany
Casey Dubois as Curtis
Daniel Hogarth as Tommy
Gerard Plunkett as Paul
Terry Chen as Chen Leong
Elsa Patsky as Maria
Directed by David R. Ellis
Extreme sports lover and Hawaii resident Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) witnesses a murder at the hands of crime lord Eddie Kim. After a failed hit on Jones’ life, Federal Agent Nelville Flynn (Sam Jackson) convinces Sean to testify in Los Angeles against Kim and help put him behind bars forever. In order to get to that grand jury, Jones and Flynn must fly across the Pacific Ocean, but Kim and his men try to prevent that by taking the plane down with the help of poisonous snakes hidden in the cargo area. Anarchy erupts. Blood is splattered. It is man (and woman) vs. snakes 30,000 feet in the air.
As you can tell from the above synopsis, “Snakes on a Plane” (AKA “SoaP”) has a very simple story formula with a playbook straight out of an ’80s horror movie. At no time does the film try to take itself seriously and that result is a success. For many, this will be pure stupidity, but for fans of the genre, this movie will be pure bliss. Director David R. Ellis and his cast are able to seamlessly blend action, suspense, sex, terror and comedy.
For those unaware, “SoaP” has developed an enormous cult following during the film production. Despite having no trailers, information on the story or studio publicity, fan created blogs, websites and merchandise has been everywhere this last year. An internet phenomenon was born. Sam Jackson versus snakes, while being confined to an airplane, is a brilliant cinematic formula that’s every fanboy’s wet dream. Personally, the title of this film had me hooked when I first heard of it last summer. Surprisingly, the amount of hype for this film did not hurt my viewing experience, because the movie has everything that “SoaP” fans asked for and were promised.
Sam Jackson is one badass guy. Every character he portrays on screen has such a prominent screen presence and “SoaP” is no different. Sam owns every scene, every line and every fight. While Jackson is the icon of the film, the main characters are the snakes, and they do not disappoint at all. There are literally hundreds of snakes on board this flight–copperheads, cobras, black mambas, and even an anaconda, which is realistically impossible but fun nonetheless. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis was able to have every kind of snake in the film. The snakes slither and spew venomous terror for tons of seat jumping and gruesome kill shots, so new horror fans will be pleased.
Humor is another element that “SoaP” intentionally and unintentionally does very well. David Koechner plays a pilot, who given life and death circumstances, is able to successfully hit on his stewardesses. (For some reason, every time I saw that man on the screen I just said “Whammy!” to myself.) Also flying is Kenan Thompson, who plays a bodyguard more concerned with his videogames than protecting the famous rapper Three-G’s; both add just the right amount of comedic breaks that the film calls for.
“Snakes on a Plane” is not a film for everyone. Action-thriller-horror movies generally get killed by critics and “SoaP” will probably be no different, because it’s filled with unrealistic situations, character clichés, and corny dialogue. It’s rare for me to say these days that a movie was worth the price of admission, but having said that, “SoaP” is simply amazing fun. Ellis takes the phobias of flying on a plane and snakes to a whole different level, and I’ve never had so much fun at a movie theater before. If you are the type of person who refuses to shut off your brain while at the theater, please stay home, because you will loathe this film. However, if you are a fan of 1980’s cheesy horror, sit back and enjoy the flight. “Snakes on a Plane” is an experience not to be missed.