Dir: Zhenzhao Lin
Star: Chao-te Yin, Mi Ai, Ruoxi Li, Jin-Tang Huang, Tao Li Xin
Sitting, obviously enough, between Snakes and Snake 3: Dinosaur vs. Python, it took a while for a subtitled version of this to appear. However, Tubi and ITN finally came up with an intelligible version, although this isn’t exactly a genre in need of word-perfect translation. It begins on a large yacht, which is capsized by the actions of a large underwater snake. The passengers flounder their way towards a nearby island, which they quickly find is home to the F-sized reptile (for once, the poster does not appear to be exaggerating the scale, as shown top). Being swallowed by it isn’t necessarily the end, as the monster takes victims back to its underground lair, and barfs them up as a hot ‘n’ ready meal for the eggs which are hatching there.
This process splits up the Wai family: father Cheng-Gong and teenage daughter Jia-Huan (Ai), the latter becoming potential snake baby-food. The same goes for boyfriend/girlfriend Gao Fan (Huang) and Su Shi (Li); it’s up to the men to hack their way through the jungle in search of their women. However, it turns out that the snake is not the only threat. This place resembles Australia, in that everything is out to get you: there’s killer vines, flying piranhas and an over-sized frog with an acid-filled tongue, standing between the rescue party and the snake’s nest. Fortunately, these deadly flora and fauna all seem to have a pronounced taste for the supporting characters.
There are a couple of big strikes against this. Firstly, the big snake never seems consistent in size. At times, it seems bigger than a football field, or is capable of swallowing an entire helicopter in a single bite (yeah, as soon as we heard the chopper’s blades whirring, we knew where this was going; it’s virtually a rule in these movies). But at others, its head is little bigger than a person. Pick a size, and stick with it, will ya? The other black-mark is a severe cop-out, where it looks like the supporting character rule mentioned has been abandoned. Then it isn’t, then it is again, and finally it isn’t. Dammit: I get the regurgitation thing, except there was distinct munching going on. What could have been a deliciously bleak ending, flops instead.
Outside of these areas, it’s workmanlike, rather than memorable. I would say that both the first and third films do a better job with the material, though the lethal lianas are nicely executed. I suspect dividing the party into two may have been a mistake, dividing our attention. The scenes in the snake’s lair are largely uninteresting, despite Jia-Huan teaching the audience about snakes imprinting on humans. [Which, my two seconds of Googling shows, is complete bollocks] At a chunky 101 minutes, this is almost the Gone With The Wind of this genre: frankly, my dear, I was hard pushed to give much of a damn.
This review is part of our feature, When Chinese Animals Attack.