27 March 2010

Do Not Engage The Highly Toxic Snakes

Last night I watched Snakes on A Submarine. I shit you not. Except it doesn’t want to be associated with the Snakes on a [Insert Preferred Method of Transportation, Preferably Something Confined That Needs Pressurization And/Or Travels At High Speeds] so it’s called “Silent Venom.” Whatever. I for one am a fan of the overly descriptive movie title, so I’m rechristening this 22 Mysteriously Mutated Snakes on A Submarine Under Attack By the Chinese Starring Luke Perry. That’s right. Did I not mention Luke Perry was in it? How could I leave out the best detail?

This movie does what all good monster movies should do: gets the fake science out of the way. Don’t pull out the fake science 45 minutes into a movie, okay? Just make some stuff up, throw it around in your first scene and get down to business. No one watches these movies to learn about the life histories of snakes. So, within the first five minutes we learn that the military (of course) is somehow involved, that the snakes are abnormally deadly, and exhibit rapid, and apparently uncontrolled, growth. There is some possibility that the island is radioactive. And there are only two vials of anti-venom left. There: all the background you need to explain why these snakes are not to be messed with.

Commander Luke Perry is on his final mission before retiring from the Navy in disgrace. Or something. That whole plot point is useless, and I’m pretty sure this film did not have a Navy consultant on staff, because I doubt it’s SOP to give missions to people you’re firing. Anyway, his mission is to pilot a decommissioned sub from Hawaii to Taiwan (I think). On the way, he gets tasked with saving an attractive research scientist and her assistant from some remote island. This mission causes them to a) become infested with snakes; and b) position themselves in the center of a massive Chinese navy drill of some sorts. So, not only are there snakes, there are torpedoes and enemy subs too.

The movie is as bad as you’d expect. The two computer generated snakes were really badly done: their bodies reminded me more of planaria or leeches than snakes. I wonder why CGI snakes are so hard to do on small budgets? Remember how bad the snake-like creatures always looked on Buffy? The best part of the movie comes near the end, in one scene where Actor Luke Perry is so obviously goofing off and they kept it in the movie (I can’t find a clip on YouTube, so you’ll have to sit through the movie). The final battle is pretty funny too: the showdown between Commander Luke Perry and Giant CGI Snake Number 2. However, I kind of wish they had used their fake science to explain why the giant snakes growl, snarl, and roar.

The worst part of this movie was the research assistant. You were supposed to hate him, and want him to die. And I totally did; not just because he was a bad person, but because he was a really bad research assistant. He bitched and moaned and broke things, and blamed other people for his mistakes. He tried to profit from his supervisor’s research and his greed lead directly to the deaths of numerous people. Where did the scientist find this dick? My first thought was that he must have come with his own funding. But this is the military, so maybe she didn’t get any say in her help. It was very satisfying when his arm got eaten, let me tell you.
The character of the research scientist was practically nonexistent. By the end of the movie the only thing I knew about her was that she was a research scientist. She didn’t do much except remain oddly calm throughout the entire movie. She was so dull that even Commander Luke Perry didn’t want her. At the end of the movie he flew off home and left her recovering in a hospital somewhere. There was a little running gag that people kept assuming that her male assistant was the Doctor and that she was the assistant. Because people in the Navy are chauvinistic? It didn’t really serve a purpose - kind of like most of the dialogue in the movie.

Over all, it felt like a rushed, half-assed attempt at a Snakes on a [Insert Preferred Method of Transportation, Preferably Something Confined That Needs Pressurization And/Or Travels At High Speeds]. If you’re deciding between this and any of the other bad movies I’ve written about, I’d choose any of the others.

Someday I'll watch Snakes on A Train, just as soon as the HRM Library locates it's missing copy.

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