Commander James O'Neill (Perry) has been given one last assignment prior to retiring: deliver an aging submarine across the Pacific for decommission. Along the way, O'Neill is ordered to pick up a couple of cliché scientists (Krista Allen and one slimeball) and their cargo. The cargo turns out to be snakes that the scientists have been working on, including a couple of bad CGI mutant snakes that hiss, growl and rattle their cages as mutant snakes are wont to do. You know how the rest goes: slimeball scientist lets snakes out to play, mayhem ensues, Luke Perry does stuff, viewer feels stupid, the end.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen (well, that's if you called Luke Perry 'mighty'). From 90210 to guest stars to, well, this. SILENT VENOM, a 'we got muthaf*ckin' snakes on this muthaf*ckin' _______' film that's obviously arrived three years too late, is the latest in a long string of cheese by Fred Olen Ray. His other notables include HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, BEVERLY HILLS VAMP, EVIL TOONS, POSSESSED BY THE NIGHT and other films relegated to the B-movie horror/softcore porn/comedy racks. Sure, some of his films have a cult following, but others, which I assume this film will fall (or in this case, sink) in line with, obviously do not.
Let's get one thing straight: I enjoy the occasional cheesy film. BAD TASTE? Sure. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE? Classic. But unlike those films, SILENT VENOM lacks one key ingredient when dealing with so much cheese: you must be devoid of everything serious. Yep, from the cast to the tone of the film itself, everything in SILENT VENOM is serious business. Really, how could you even fathom doing this film so seriously when the entire premise involves Luke Perry, Kirsta Allen, Tom Berenger (barely), and snakes on a submarine? Granted, Perry seems to get the idea that he's in a piece of crap, but everyone else acts like this film is their ticket to get back into Hollywood's good graces, so you'd better not f*ck around.
As for the snakes themselves (all 18 real ones, not the two computer-generated pieces of crap), their tactic for scaring everyone involves showing up in a bunch, tongues flicking out, placidly sitting there, looking about as threatening as one of those walking mops people pass off as dogs. The CGI snakes, on the other hand, are scary, but for entirely different reasons (think LAKE PLACID 2's crappy CGI crocs and you'll get the idea). These same CGI snakes (well, one of them, as you need to have a sequel) show up for about, oh, 5 minutes, and then are never seen again. To counteract this void of anti-terror, we get a subplot involving the crew trying to avoid detection by the Chinese navy. Sort of like HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, but without Sean Connery or the Russians.
Now everyone knows the remedy for a film like this is to get totally wasted prior to/during the viewing, which is the sole redeeming factor for a film like SILENT VENOM. Better yet, record your drunken hooting and hollering as a commentary track and upload it to the internet for everyone to listen to. At the very least, you'll be helping out those who made the mistake of actually renting this film by easing their pain, albeit somewhat.
Video: Lucky for this film, I got a screener, so I can't take rip the video quality.
Audio: Ditto for this.
Nathing, not even an easter egg clip of Luke Perry apologizing for this film.
SNAKES ON A PLANE had Samuel L. Jackson, snakes, a plane, and the realization of how absurd the idea of being serious could be in a film with that combination. SILENT VENOM has Luke Perry, snakes, a submarine, and 87 minutes that you'll never get back. Man, maybe Luke should take a cue from Jason Priestly and try directing instead. Or Indy car racing.