Thursday, October 09, 2014
Snakes on a Plane
Directed by David R. Ellis and screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez, John Heffernan, and David J. Taylor from a story by Heffernan, Taylor, and David Dalessandro, Snakes on a Plane is about a FBI agent trying to protect a witness and passengers from a crate full of poisonous snakes unleashed by an assassin. The film is obviously inspired by B-movies with a B-movie plot where it’s title is everything that is needed to know about the film’s premise. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Marguiles, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Sunny Mabrey, Elsa Pataky, David Koechner, Kenan Thompson, Flex Anderson, Lin Shaye, and Bobby Cannavale. Snakes on a Plane is a stupid and ridiculous yet one fun-ass mother-fucking film from David R. Ellis.
The film’s title says it all as there’s really no need for any kind of plot summary or description other than the fact that a FBI agent is trying to protect his witness, passengers, and a co-pilot from poisonous snakes unleashed inside a plane from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Yet, it’s a film that is absolutely aware that it has a B-movie plot and doesn’t do anything to embellish while it does have some substance in the characters they do create such as the FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) and a stewardess on her last tour of duty. Much of the story takes place inside this plane where a small group of people try to survive these snakes while the FBI tries to find those who put the snakes in the plane. In the meantime, there’s tension, deaths, and all sorts of things that occur as it pushes Flynn to the limit as he does say a line that is expected which is, “I have had it with these mother-fucking snakes on this mother-fucking plane”.
David R. Ellis’ direction definitely plays to the conventions of thrillers as well as B-movie aesthetics in terms of its lack of strong plot as well as characters that range from archetypes to horny young couples as well as the typical asshole passenger. Yet, it has this awareness that it knows what it is and have some fun with it. At the same time, Ellis does infuse some substance into the film as it does have a sense of claustrophobia inside the plane where there’s a lot of terror as characters have to deal with the snakes. There’s also scenes outside the plane where Flynn’s old partner in Special Agent Hank Harris (Bobby Cannavale) tries to find the man who sent the snakes as well as the antidote to help the survivors. Even as it would play to the drama as time is crucial to the story where the plane has to reach Los Angeles or else everyone dies from the snakes. Overall, Ellis creates a very enjoyable and gripping film about snakes on a plane.
Cinematographer Adam Greenberg does nice work with the film’s cinematography from the usage of lighting schemes low-lights for many of the film’s interior setting inside the plane. Editor Howard E. Smith does excellent work in maintaining some rhythmic jump-cuts to play into the action and suspense. Production designer Jaymes Hinkle and art director John Alvarez do terrific work with the design of the planes as well as some of its interiors to maintain the sense of claustrophobia. Costume designer Karen L. Matthews does wonderful work with the costumes from the design of the flight attendant clothes as well as the casual clothing of the other characters.
Visual effects supervisor Erik Henry does amazing work with the design of the snakes to play into the sense of terror as they manage to be major highlights of the film. Sound designer Tim Walston does fantastic work with the sound from the way the snakes sound to the plane engines from inside the plane. The film’s music by Trevor Rabin is pretty good for its orchestral score that ranges from bombastic to somber as the film’s soundtrack features a mix of pop, rock, and hip-hop
The film’s cast includes some notable small roles from Casey Dubois and Daniel Hogarth as a couple of adolescent passengers, Byron Lawson as the drug lord Eddie Kim, Terry Chen as a kick boxer who fights off the snakes, Mark Houghton as Flynn’s partner, Gerard Plunkett as the asshole passenger, Taylor Kitsch and Samantha McLeod as a young couple who have sex in the plane’s bathroom, Todd Luiso as a creepy snake experts who helps the FBI, Tom Butler as the plane’s lead pilot, Elsa Pataky as a young mother with an infant child as she is also a nurse, Keith Dallas and Kenan Thompson as bodyguards for the rap star Three Gs, and David Koechner in a very funny performance as the co-pilot Ricky who says some funny things while dealing with the snakes. Lin Shaye is terrific as the veteran flight attendant who would deal with the snakes as she tries to save a baby while Sunny Mabrey is pretty good as a flight attendant who has a thing for the FBI witness.
Nathan Phillips is OK as the witness Sean Jones as he is just kind of bland while Flex Anderson has his moments but not a lot as this germophobic rapper named Three G’s. Rachel Blanchard is alright as a socialite who brings her pet Chihuahua as she has a thing for Three G’s. Julianna Marguiles is excellent as the flight attendant Claire who is on her last tour of duty as she deals with all of the chaos of the snakes as she helps Flynn. Bobby Cannavale is superb as Flynn’s former partner Special Agent Hank Harris who tries to find the person that sent the snakes as well as the antidote. Finally, there’s Samuel L. Jackson in a phenomenal performance as Neville Flynn as this FBI agent who tries to save people in a plane full of snakes as he also leads the charge as Jackson just brings it every time including the line that needed to be said.
Snakes on a Plane is a truly idiotic but absolutely entertaining film from David R. Ellis that features a very cool performance from Samuel L. Jackson. It’s a film that refuses to take itself so seriously as it knows it’s low art but low-art with brain. Even as it goes for the entertainment factor and shock value where it’s B-movie schlock at its finest. In the end, Snakes on a Plane is a superbly fun film from David R. Ellis.
© thevoid99 2014