Make no mistake: SoaP is a high concept, high budget no-brainer of a movie. The plot is almost non-existent, and the little that’s there is so ridiculous it’s impossible to imagine the screenwriter pitching it to studio executives with a straight face. Snakes? On a plane? Why? Couldn’t he just shoot the guy? And if the gangster was really able to get a crate-load of snakes past all that extra security, wouldn’t it have been easier, cheaper and far more reliable to just use poisonous gas instead?
Well, yes, but watching people slowly choke to death isn’t nearly as exciting as watching terrified, screaming people being bitten on their most delicate areas by enraged poisonous reptiles. There’s no sense in letting the plot get in the way of a good story.
Similarly, the characterisation is so unapologetically one-dimensional that at times the passengers seem to be no deeper than the snakes themselves. Stereotypes abound: there’s the mincing male flight attendant; the slutty female flight attendant; the snobby Briton; the hip hop trio and, of course, Samuel Jackson as himself – and that’s about as developed as they get.
But you’re not here to see Jackson’s character facing his weaknesses and overcoming emotional obstacles to find his redemption in the eyes of his one true love. Oh no, you’re here to see snakes killing lots of people in the most horrific ways imaginable – and that’s exactly what you get.
The set-up is mercifully short, and once the plane is in the air and the snakes are released, the pace is relentless. It’s suspenseful, graphically violent and sometimes quite tasteless, but it’s all done in good, campy fun, so it’s impossible to take it too seriously. With a title like that, how could anyone?
SoaP is a success because it delivers exactly what it promises– nothing more and nothing less, It’s airheaded, yes, but it’s unpretentious entertainment all the way, best enjoyed with a crowd of friends after a few drinks.
Go. You’ll love it.
- Chris McEvoy
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