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'Snakes on a Plane' ssssserve up a good time

Shakespeare it's not, but "Snakes on a Plane" is an entertaining tail, um, tale nonetheless. Or it is for people who enjoy cheesy action films with spider web-thin storylines.

Shakespeare it's not, but "Snakes on a Plane" is an entertaining tail, um, tale nonetheless. Or it is for people who enjoy cheesy action films with spider web-thin storylines.

Those with ophidiophobia, or a fear of snakes, this obviously, isn't the movie for you. But before you buy your movie ticket, know this: "Snakes on a Plane," besides swearing, nudity, violence, the film also contains bad acting and bad dialogue. This film is all about the slithery serpents and the imaginative, icky ways they can kill a person.

The 105-minute film starts out mellow enough, sort of. It's a beautiful day in Hawaii -- like Hawaii has any other kind -- and a young man, Sean (Nathan Phillips), is riding his motorbike. In the background is a happy little summer song. In a secluded area, Sean stops for a break, only to witness a brutal murder. Sean does what any sane person does -- hightails it out of there.

Of course, the bad guys find Sean and are about to do him in until the too-cool-for-school Samuel L. Jackson (FBI Agent Neville Flynn) pops in to rescue Sean. Sean learns the murderer, Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson) has been long wanted by law enforcement and is known for killing witnesses in very unpleasant and painful ways.

Despite this, Sean agrees to fly to Los Angeles to testify. Agent Flynn, along with his partner, accompany him on the flight. Should be smooth sailing from there, right?

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Nope. Eddie's got a plan. Take a lot exotic, venomous snakes, dope them with pheromones to make them aggressive, release them and let nature take over. Somewhere along the way a snake will give Sean a taste test, right?

I'm not telling, but any fan of cheesy films knows the good guys rarely bite it, although nearly everyone one else on that red-eye flight does. Our list of passengers include just about every stereotypical character -- the effeminate airline steward, the snooty passenger, the happy honeymooners, the Paris Hilton wannabe with her miniature dog, the spoiled musician, the mom with baby and lusty couple who can't wait to find a mile-high bathroom.

For many, things start going wrong when they learn they have been booted to coach when Agent Flynn commandeers first class for his witness. He's not taking chances. Little does he know what's ahead.

Everyone has settled into the flight. It's quiet and people are speaking softly. Some are sleeping. For most, it's another boring flight. But in the cargo hold, there's an explosion -- the snakes are released via a timer from their boxes. The first victim: a blue-eyed kitty. Next up: Everybody else.

From there it's pandemonium! The next several scenes will likely have you pressing into your theater seat, or covering your eyes. But I found, even grossed out, I was still watching, fascinated. And this movie is gross, there is no doubt. It's not a question of if the snakes will bite, but where. Just about any place, any body part is fair game.

Being over the top already, "Snakes on a Plane" takes it a step further. As if getting bit in the jugular by a rattlesnake or cobra isn't bad enough, the repellent reptiles disrupt the plane's wiring and get into the cockpit, causing one pilot to die.

Remaining passengers, when not panicking, try to stay alive. On the ground, Flynn calls a fellow FBI agent, seeking to identify what types of snakes are on the plane and get antidotes lined up to have ready for survivors. In the meantime, more characters die, the snakes get into the passengers' last line of defense and things are getting hairy for the second pilot. If he goes, who is going to fly the plane?

I'm not telling that either. I will say, however, moms and dads, maybe having your kid play video games isn't a bad thing.

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The film's ending could have resolved better, in that audiences want to see the bad guy get his just desserts. After everything audiences sat through and saw watching Eddie hauled away in hand cuffs would have been the icing on the cake.

Otherwise, "Snakes on a Plane" isn't a bad way to end this year's summer blockbuster season. Just don't expect any Bard-quality soliloquies.

Merilee Reinke covers arts and entertainment. E-mail mreinke@superiortelegram.com or call (715) 394-4421, ext. 139.

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