FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) escorts a key witness (Nathan Phillips) on a night flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. A crimelord arranges for assorted venomous snakes to get loose on the plane, which has been doused with a pheromone that makes the reptiles especially aggressive.
SoaP will go down in history for generating pre-release buzz on the strength of its title alone. Seriously anticipated in Z-picture circles and hidden from spoilsport critics who might undermine its opening weekend, it’s the sort of picture you’ll either queue all night in the rain to see twelve times or avoid like a Wayans Brothers Retrospective for the rest of life.
Here are some of the problems. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as the standard issue exasperated FBI guy who gets to talk tough and sorely wastes Julianna Margulies as the flight attendant who is about to jack it in and Anchorman's David Koechner as a smarmy pilot. But the entire supporting cast of snakebit passengers and crew consists of bland people who bring nothing to the picture. Like too many modern creepy-crawly films, it relies on CGI for its menaces – which gives the attack scenes a video game look that gets old very quickly. And, as befits a film rewritten and reshot to give fans what they said they wanted, it’s choppy as hell and offers no surprises.
But it does have snakes. On a plane. White-knuckle fliers will be jolted as the tone veers from improbable gangster business to horror-by-beast shenanigans before going with vintage Airport unlikeliness as an unlikely hero has to land the jet. Which is all very well, but it is by no means the giddy delight that the fans hoped for.
Okay, but not as likeable as, say, Piranha, Tremors, Slither, Anaconda, Eight-Legged Freaks or the 1973 TV movie Horror at 37,000 Feet.