"Snakes on a Train"
So what we have here
plotwise is some mother...well, let's just call it snakes on a train.
You knew that was inevitable, folks, so suck it up. For reasons
that can only be described as baffling, a woman under a Mayan curse
is currently the hatching ground for a whole bunch of snakes. About
a thousand if the DVD menu can be trusted.
Not that we really have any idea why this woman is cursed to be
a rattler condo--all the dialogue we get for the first five and
a half minutes is in Spanish. And there are no subtitles. Or closed
captioning. So unless you speak Spanish, forget about having any
kind of clue what's going on until about the six minute mark, and
even then, you're still not going to have much of a clue.
Once you get past the psuedo-Telemundo that is the first ten minutes
of "Snakes on a Train", the rest of the movie shapes up
simply enough. Basically, the snake condo woman gets on the train,
starts coughing up serpents like no tomorrow, all of which start
roaming the train and chomping hell out of any warm body they can
get their fangs on.
How exactly is this different from "Snakes on a Plane"?
Oh, yeah...Sam Jack isn't here to spit out profanities every thirty
seconds as though Tourette's Syndrome were transmittable via snake
venom. And a few other differences, too, but let's face it--"Snakes
on a Train" is the budget travelers' version of "Snakes
on a Plane".
Not that it's necessarily bad; there's a lot of nifty fight sequences
and action scenes--dig the intertrain battle just ahead of the twenty
five minute mark and you'll see what I mean. And even better, the
clever exchange at the fifty five minute thirty second mark where
the con artist with the miserable cover manages to bilk the young
drug smuggler out of a goodish load of loot and a little bit more.
And then, there's also plenty of problem--for instance, it takes
us a full half-hour to find out just how our lady on the train became
a snake condo in the first place. And that clever exchange? It does
manage to stretch the bounds of credibility after the "cop"
insists that the smuggler take off her shirt. She probably should
have guessed that, at this point, he was no more a cop than the
snake condo leaking vipers in the luggage compartment.
Plus, what was with that whole exchange at the forty seven minute
forty six second mark? "Yes sir I'll keep my eyes open until
the police come"? Where exactly will they be coming to on a
speeding train? Okay, so there's some chance they're talking about
the next station, but hey.
But it really doesn't matter how well "Snakes on a Train"
was executed--it's still, when you come right down to it, a blatant
and obvious knockoff, timed to coincide with the release of its
imitator, and extremely similar in plot.
This whole thing is a really unnerving trend on The Asylum's part--I
don't know what happened over there, but man, something went just
really bad wrong. They've made it a mission to knock off every horror
movie that comes out of a major studio. They're not there yet--titles
like "Pulse" and "The Descent" have slipped
past The Asylum's radar--but they're well on their way.
I predict that, by 2009, they will be a facility so dedicated to
knockoffs that they will rival Hong Kong in terms of production.
Not one movie will escape Asylumization. And I'm taking credit for
the invention of the term "Asylumization".
The ending is packed to the gills with snakes, but by this point,
it's really just a thoroughly mundane cap to a thoroughly mundane
movie. Well, at least until the hundred-foot snake monster starts
stalking the train and gets swallowed up by an enormous mystical
typhoon. Then it turns into an absolute hoot. If by "an absolute
hoot", of course, you mean "a series of hallucinations
possibly inspired by the great spirit Tequila", then it most
definitely is an absolute hoot.
The special features include audio options, a behind the scenes
featurette, a blooper reel, deleted scenes, cast and crew commentary,
and trailers for "The 9/11 Commission Report", "666
The Child", "Pirates of Treasure Island", and of
course, "Snakes on a Train".
All in all, I will give The Asylum some credit. This is quite possibly
the best knockoff they've generated to date. But still, there's
a massive problem with that sentence I just wrote--the word "knockoff".
It doesn't--it can't--matter how good "Snakes on a Train"
is...it's still just an imitation, lacking in even a basic sense
It's still just a knockoff.
on a Train
Directed by the Mallachi Brothers
Written by Eric Forsberg
Starring Alby Castro, Julia Ruiz, Amelia Jackson-Gray, Shannon Gale
Produced by David Michael Latt, Sherri Strain
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