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  Snake Outta Compton Raptile!Buy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: Hank Braxtan
Stars: Ricky Flowers Jr, Motown Maurice, Donte Essien, Aurelia Michael, Joston Theney, Jon Kondelik, Tarkan Dospil, Arielle Brachfeld, Eric Paul Erickson, Christian Ackerman, I Elijah Baughman, Kevin Anthony Brooks, Ray Chao, Craig C. Chen, Tanner L. Cole
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: From an aeroplane flying high over the streets of Compton, a snake is thrown, and lands far below on a passing car that happens to be carrying a cop, Denz (Joston Theney) taking a rookie out on his training day. They briefly freak out, but Denz isn't going to let something like that completely ruin his composure, and on they go, but by the side of the road stands Vurkel (Donte Essien), a science nerd who examines the dead reptile and notes it contains a live egg, which he retrieves. He lives with Cam (Ricky Flowers Jr), who wants to break into the music industry with his rap group, but everyone's plans may as well go out of the window after Vurkel's experiments...

With a title like that, who could resist checking this out, even if your suspicions this would be about as good as any lame, bad CGI-infested SyFy Channel monster movie preyed on your mind? Or about as bad. Knowing that while there was plenty of African-American talent before the camera, but the guys making this behind the camera were largely white - the writers were a bunch of Caucasian guys - may raise those suspicions further as the spectre of the likes of Epic Movie and other such spoofs loomed large, promising a laugh-free ninety minutes (or a laugh-free eighty minutes, without credits), but for some reason Snake Outta Compton was nowhere near as awful as all that.

It was not brilliant, let's bear that in mind, but there were genuine laughs here from a game cast willing to play some goodnatured and corny material to the hilt, and that all-white jury, sorry, all-white writer's room did have the jokes studiously avoiding the stereotypes, as if they were self-consciously trying to head off any pre-emptive complaints of racism. Not that these were fully-rounded characters, many were one-note to put it generously, but it did come across as if everyone involved really were enjoying themselves in the opportunity to behave as ridiculously as possible, and it was just stupid enough to generate the chuckles many a similar spoof would struggle to.

With the plot apparently kicked off by Samuel L. Jackson (played by a voiceover impersonator) throwing one of those snakes from the plane as in the meme-worthy seven-day wonder Snakes on a Plane, once Vurkel lines up his home-made energy beam and starts the growth process on the baby reptile, the stage was set for a giant monster movie of ludicrous proportions. Along the way there were references to various American black cultural touchstones, some more obvious than others, with a church lady carrying a submachine gun, a rap battle that is embarrassingly one-sided, the desperate move of having zombies show up for the final act, and all the way through a Training Day spoof that not-so-subtly pointed out that Denzel Washington basically acted like a lunatic throughout that movie.

You could tell, for instance, that someone really did not like sitcom character Urkel considering the abuse that was doled out to his stand-in, and the nonsense they had him get up to, including fucking the snake after witnessing the girl of his dreams (Aurelia Michaels) and singer in the rap group having sex with his supposed buddy. Not afraid to opt for bad taste, if anything there was an effort to not go too far the way you would expect something like this to go, so we had the gang in a speeding bus that ends up in a more realistic situation than the one in Speed had that bus tried to jump a gap in the road, for example. It was relentlessly idiotic, sure, but we had the impression the brains behind it were somewhat smarter, and while the computer effects were as basic as they could get away with, it contributed to the unreal tone. Oh, and the NWA material? The rappers' rhymes and beats distract the snake of the title. You just know there will be plenty keen to kick this around, but it wasn't bad at all. Music by Chris Lott.

[Altitude's DVD has no features to explain itself, but is otherwise perfectly acceptable.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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