Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Germany/USA/Canada, 2006. New Line Cinema, Mutual Film Company, Meradin Zweite Productions, Eyetronics. Story by David Dalessandro, John Heffernan, Screenplay by John Heffernan, Sebastian Gutierrez. Cinematography by Adam Greenberg. Produced by Craig Berenson, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn. Music by Trevor Rabin. Production Design by Jaymes Hinkle. Costume Design by Karen L. Matthews. Film Editing by Howard E. Smith.
An impressive rarity: a film that became a cult classic before it was even released. A barrage of internet publicity and some help from the fellows on The Daily Show and Colbert Report hyped this film into a media frenzy by the time it finally opened, and the result is something of a disappointment: a B-movie that doesn’t enjoy its B status enough. Samuel L. Jackson enjoys embarrassing himself as an FBI operative who escorts a murder witness (Nathan Phillips) from Hawaii to California and learns, while they’re in midair, that the mafia boss that Phillips is set to testify against has planted a deadly murder plan on board: a crate full of venomous snakes that have been sprayed with hormones to make them unnaturally aggressive. From there it’s a roller coaster of hisses, slithers and bites as the passengers and crew of the flight do their best to survive, thanks to help from a smart flight attendant (Julianna Margulies) and Jackson’s big mouth. If director David R. Ellis had allowed himself to really revel in the cheesiness more, such as the wonderful first murder scene involving a Ken-And-Barbie couple having sex in the bathroom before being interrupted by a cobra, it would have been an Ed Wood fest to remember, but he struggles too often to make a good film and kills the possibility of a future sing-along rerelease. Jackson’s terrible performance seems even more regrettable in light of the fact that Margulies comes off classy and strong, but that’s another fault against the movie; where’s the Pamela Lee-esque bimbo who’s supposed to scream like an idiot and tear off her shirt every time danger appears? This film needs to pick a level of trash and stick with it.