Snake Outta Compton – Review

Sometimes you just have to go with it. Even with the publicity for Snake Outta Compton you get the sense that the film knows exactly what it is. There is no pretence of high ambitions, just the chance to mash up a couple of genres and make something that you can watch without having to think too much about it.

Taking its starting point from Snakes On A Plane, one of its main reference points, a deadly snake drops out of an aircraft and lands in the city of Compton. The splattered remains are found by a young black kid who happens to be a scientific genius. He takes a sample and creates a super mutant snake which promptly escapes in the community and starts to cause havoc. It is up to a local hip hop crew and a couple of cops to step up and stop the ever growing menace from eating its way through the city.

There is nothing subtle at all about this film. It is real common denominator stuff. The ideas come from various well known sources. First off, the aforementioned Snakes On A Plane form the initial idea. Them mix in bit Straight Outta Compton, Training Day and every low budget SyFy channel monster movie. It doesn’t try to disguise this in any way. Instead it takes these reference points, adds it to what we as a movie audience understand about black urban culture and makes an absurd monster of the week film.

For all its shortcomings the acting talent is not one of them. It is a pretty standard set up. The main hero group has a leader along with sidekicks, male and female. The leader, Cam, is the one that everyone else looks to for advice but is himself not the omnipotent being others think he is. For a change, the main female leads are not there for decoration purposes. Both of them have relevance to the story and their characters are developed and feature throughout but at no point are used as an excuse for a man to rescue them.

The main cop character is taken straight from every bad ass cop movie you can think of. Taking his lead from Denzel Washington in Training Day, he has elements of Steven Seagal, Mel Gibson and all the other renegade law enforcement personnel we have come to love. He, of course, has the rookie white partner who has to deal with his craziness while coming across like an idiot.

The main attraction is obviously the killer snake which grows as the story unfolds. This being a low budget film the rendering of the snake is slightly less than perfect. It has the production values of the previously mentioned SyFy movies which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It fits in with what the film seems to be aiming for in tone and style. It features heavily during the film and there are a couple of action sequences where it foil for everyone to play off of.

With Snake Outta Compton you know what you are getting. It knows the audience it appeals to and it hits all the right notes to make it an enjoyable, if a bit daft, movie.

John McArthur
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