Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Snake Eater (1989)



Don't shake his rattle!

Back of DVD:

Junior is a big man with a big appetite for violence, a backwoods behemoth who loves murder, arson, rape and torture. All in all, Junior is a real snake. And a SnakeEater is coming to get him. Lorenzo Lamas (Falcon Crest) stars as the SnakeEater, a former member of a crack Marine Search and Destroy unit. Now he's a cop with a personal... and lethal... mission: search out and destroy Junior, the conscious-less killer who murdered his parents and kidnapped his sister. And he's going to take you along every thrill-packed inch of the way!


Movie Review:

On the surface this looks like the perfect bad action movie. Lorenzo Lamas, an ex-marine-now-cop who doesn't play by the rules avenges the death of his family the way the marines showed him how - violence, and lots of it. Somehow though, the whole doesn't add up to the sum of its parts no matter how much I wanted it to.

Snake Eater starts like the majority of 80's police actioners do, a sting. A couple of comic relief cops are on a stakeout at a warehouse with Lamas (known as "Soldier") inside on his radio singing Kumbayah to amuse himself. He flips poker cards and wears sunglasses indoors; a real badass. His suspect turns up, a beautiful woman who insists Lamas strip as to prove he is not wearing a wire. He complies, only if she does the same, which thankfully she does. Boobs by five minutes, this movie is already gaining traction, and when Lamas again reiterates he is not wired she responds "Honey it looks like you are carrying the whole radio station". Then they get down to business (the sexy kind I mean) but it's all cut short as some cliched drug dealer types burst in and ruin the fun. Threatening to take the money from Lamas and not provide the drugs, he flips a switch in the floor and sends spikes through the guys feet! But with no proof to convict, the other cops call Lamas a nutcase and take his badge.



See it started great. Then it got weird. A family on a boat somewhere get attacked by a bunch of rednecks who stuff a live fish in Dad's mouth, boil Mum's face in a cooking pot and kidnap the daughter ("This here some prime pussy!"). Then they blow the boat up. I know we are meant to hate these guys, and I do, but they are so like a hillbilly Three Stooges it is hard not to laugh at them. In fact, that happens a lot in this movie. I find myself laughing at shit like stupid rednecks just as I laugh at the bar fights, but it's a different laughter - a creepy one. I'm sorry but rednecks freak me out (I guess that's why I've never wanted to see Deliverance) and I'm not here to be freaked out. I watch bad horror movies for that not bad action.

Speaking of bar fights, there's a doozy here. Lamas riding on his motorbike stacks it into the wall of an outdoor bar. Composing himself and getting a beer, he is assaulted by a rough looking patron who pours a beer over his head. The guy is a tank and after failing to bring him down with two beer bottles, Lamas canes him with a pizza tray. Then for some reason he rips the guys tooth out. Another guy tries some karate shit but Lamas throws a beer bottle at his head and he falls. Funny stuff, but laughing time is over when Lamas is informed that his family (the ones on the boat) are dead and his sister missing.



Lamas rides to the marina that his family rented the boat from and meets the owner, an old loveable ex-bikie gang chap, who says he doesn't know what happened to his family and why don't you ask those rednecks over there. This of course gets him knocked out by a boat oar but the marina owners' daughter (or grand-daughter, or wife I'm not really sure) shoots into the air and they leave, but not before the old guy bursts out of his shed on his own motorbike, overshoots and flies straight into the ocean. I had to rewatch that part as it was the funniest thing in the whole movie and so utterly random. Anyhow, Lamas sleeps off his injury then takes his now converted motorbike-into-jetski on the hunt for rednecks.

I feel the whole "sons of the soil" plot was ill-advised. Rednecks just aren't very fun bad guys in my opinion and there is too much shit like redneck #3 playing with himself while Lamas' kidnapped sister takes a shower etc. I will say that the lead redneck, Junior, must have played his part well because I truly despised him by the end. Thankfully (and obviously) Lamas wipes them all out and there's a neat shootout at the end with who's left. One gets blown up with a calcium bomb in Lamas' most Rambo scene of the movie.

Although I was disappointed with Snake Eater, you do need to see this. Parts of it are brilliant bad-action, parts ridiculous comedy, but the character of Snake Eater is the perfect bad-action hero; vigilante cop with Rambo skills, a motorbike and even a few one liners. Actually, that's just Cobra isn't it. Snake Eater also sets itself up for two sequels. The second, Snake Eater II: The Drug Buster, I think is more a traditional cop-with-sidekick affair and the third - Snake Eater III: His Law - Lamas takes on a bikie gang. I haven't seen these yet (reviews in the future folks) but I'm going to suggest that Snake Eater is a series that gets better in its sequels. Let's see if I'm right.

Also it so happened that reader Ty reviewed this movie today on his own blog by co-incidence, so make sure you check out his opinion as well!


The Video:

LionsGate released all three of these movies on R1 DVD. An acceptable enough full screen transfer (as it was shot, I believe), grainy and as any movie of it's type and budget nothing special to look at. Sound is fine. Runtime 97 minutes.

Sourced From:

An eBay seller for a fiver.


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  1. Enjoyed your review and it looks like we are in agreement about the movie!

  2. Kenner (Movies in the Attic) and I have always been in disagreement on this one, but my review of it is more in your line, that it's just kind of weird. I think my words were "gross" or "dirty", like I needed a shower afterwards. Still had its moments, though, I agree with that.

  3. Good to hear that the sequels are indeed better. I have Terminal Justice and both the CIA's, but I've heard good things about The Rage so will need to check that out.

  4. I have nothing to add directly about your astounding and in depth review. But. EXPLOSIVEACTION.COM is the best URL ever, and I am stoked you are making it even better with fucking fantastic content.