Matchup of the Day: Hard Ticket to Hawaii VS Snakes on a Plane
Today we have a couple films involving Hawaii, snakes, and a plane.
In Snakes on a Plane, Samuel L. Jackson plays a FBI agent in Hawaii who is transporting a murder witness to Los Angeles. The witness in question is a surfer who accidentally saw a crime boss beat someone to death. Not keen on being identified, the crime boss plants a large number of exotic, venomous snakes on the commercial airline on which Jackson is transporting his witness. Making matters worse, the snakes are jacked up on pheromones that cause the creatures to be unusually hostile. After the snakes kill most of the passengers, Jackson and the remaining survivors must fight off the vipers and land the plane successfully.
The hype surrounding the film, based almost entirely upon its title, was enormous. Initially, New Line Cinema intended to release a PG-13 film. They even considered changing the title to Pacific Flight 121, which Samuel L. Jackson protested. Eventually, in order to deliver on what the Snakes title promised, New Line ended up adding scenes that resulted in a R rating. However, by the time it was released, Snakes simply couldn’t live up to the unprecedented internet buzz that preceded it. The audience turnout was disappointing, with the film grossing $62 million against a $33 million budget.
There’s a YouTube video with one million views featuring a clip from Hard Ticket to Hawaii. The clip involves a skateboarder carrying an inflatable sex doll getting blown to bits with a rocket launcher. Anyone watching the video undoubtedly would expect the whole movie to be equally as insane. Hawaii, which Paste named the Best “B Movie” of All Time, for the most part does deliver. The writer and director, Andy Sidaris (who choreographed the football game in the film M*A*S*H), packs Hawaii with gunplay, explosions, a contaminated snake on a rampage, gratuitous nudity, and a death by frisbee. There are some lame attempts at humor that slow the movie down slightly, but the rest is sublimely ridiculous.
The movie’s antagonists are a drug lord and a snake infected by cancerous rats. The two main protagonists are portrayed by Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, both Playboy Playmates of the Month. Speir is a DEA agent who doubles as a cargo transporter, while Carlton is her friend in the witness protection program (this is not really explained). The infected snake makes its entrance when Speir and Carlton are tasked with flying it to a nature preserve. Little do they know that they are transporting the wrong reptile due to a mixup at the warehouse. Adding to the drama, the pair stumble upon a remote control helicopter, used by the drug lord, that contains diamonds. When the drug lord’s henchmen come to reclaim the diamonds, the crate holding the dangerous snake is damaged, allowing it to break free. For the rest of the movie the snake slithers around the island, at one point killing a couple of vacationers. The creature also appears toward the end, exploding out of Speir’s toilet.
“I have had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane” is the Samuel L. Jackson quote that Snakes is known for. Having rewatched the movie recently, the line’s use is not as crowd-pleasing as I remembered. As with the title, the quote is much more memorable than the actual film. Like Hawaii, Snakes has a scene where a serpent emerges from a commode. What sets the scene from Hawaii apart from the one in Snakes is the utter lunacy that Hawaii brings to the table. Snakes takes the predictable, safe route, having the reptile bite a man’s private part as he relieves himself. Hawaii, on the other hand, shows the creature literally blowing up the toilet as it rises from the watery depths. Speir shoots the snake twice, failing to kill it. Then, out of nowhere, one of her colleagues comes crashing through the wall on a motorcycle and blasts the snake with the same rocket launcher the skateboarder was exterminated with. Snakes on a Plane needed scenes like that!