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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
Python
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PYTHON - 2000
United Film Organization (UFO)
Rated: Australia: M / USA: R

"The Black Knight is invincible!"

Oh, wait, no, not that Python. This one is completely different.

Richard Clabaugh (THE PROPHECY, THE PROPHECY II, CHILDREN OF THE CORN IV: The Gathering, CHILDREN OF THE CORN 666: Isaac's Return) directed PYTHON and Chris Neal, Gary Hershberger and Paul Bogh wrote the screenplay, based on a story by Phillip J. Roth (BOA, DEEP CORE). I find it interesting that Mr. Roth wrote and directed the truly awful Dean Cain vehicle, BOA (also known as NEW ALCATRAZ), and here he is with a story credit on another giant snake movie. He's also the producer. This does not bode well.

A cargo plane flies through a dangerous storm. The pilot (Ed Lauter: THIRTEEN DAYS) struggles to control the plane and uses the intercom to tell his co-pilot to check and see if the cargo is shifting. The cargo is not only shifting – it's alive. Something big and angry breaks loose and we see an exterior view as its tail tears through the plane. The pilot loses control and down they go.

We cut to an amorous couple camping in the woods: certain death in Horror movie world. The scene is actually kind of sexy and funny as what we think is a guy and a naked girl turns out to be a butch girl and a naked girl. Lisa (LoriDawn Messuri: THE BACKLOT MURDERS), the girly girl, ruins the moment when she accidentally calls her lover "Robert" instead of "Roberta." Lisa apologizes ("I promise, next time I will get your name right.") and tries to get things going again and when Roberta (Kathy Lambert: ANTIBODIES) says, "You're squeezing me too hard" and we can see Lisa isn't doing any such thing, the movie formula in your head tells you the giant snake has her under the blanket, right? But when Lisa pulls the blanket back we see a snake has indeed wrapped itself around Roberta, but it's just Lisa's pet python, Lady G. A cool bit of misdirection.

Roberta goes outside for a cigarette and finds "Lisa + John" carved in a tree stump, which doesn't improve her mood. Lisa gets around. But before Roberta has a chance to contemplate her choice of lovers, the real monster appears and that's it for them.

Cut to John Cooper (Frayne Rosanoff) riding like mad on his mountain bike, down out of the hills and into the town of Ruby. He's having a pretty good time until he runs into the car of deputy sheriff Greg Larsen (William Zabka: MINDSTORM, DARK DESCENT). Conversation makes it clear these two have a past and don't like each other.

John arrives at work: a metal plating plant run by his brother Brian (Chris Owens: THE X-FILES [TV], BREACH, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, SAW VI) and once owned by their now dead father. John complains that the job sucks and the fumes from all the chemicals are making him stupid, like the other "vapor monkeys" that work there, but brother Brian has no interest in such whining.

John and his best friend Tommy (Wil Wheaton: STAND BY ME, DEEP CORE) head to the local swimmin' hole to meet up with their girlfriends. It's here that they see the snake! No, not the monster snake – Lisa's python, "Lady G." John and Tommy both recognize the snake immediately and John picks it up and puts it on his shoulders. The girlfriends want to know how they know Lisa's snake but before that awkward question can be answered, deputy Larsen shows up. Lisa and Roberta have been reported missing.

Shortly afterward Lisa's body is found, charred to the bone by some kind of acid, so the police begin forming a theory. John dated Lisa (everybody dated Lisa), he was found with her snake, and he works in a metal plating company where there are vats of acid. Ipso facto, he's the prime suspect.

There are several other odd characters worth mentioning. The snake was created / found by Dr. Anton Rudolf (Robert Englund: DEAD & BURIED, all the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREETmovies because he’s Freddy Krueger, URBAN LEGENDS, STRANGELAND) who at first is a typical mad scientist but later magically transforms into a good guy.

An odd subplot involves real estate agent Kenny the Closer (Scott Williamson) and his sales prospect, slutty and rich Francesca Garibaldi (Jenny McCarthy: SCREAM 3). The back and forth over the sale of a mansion is mildly amusing. Another subplot involves government agent Bart Parker (Casper van Dien: MODERN VAMPIRES, SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE OMEGA CODE, STARSHIP TROOPERS) who shows up with a paramilitary squad to kill the snake.

As to the snake itself, let’s start with a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
The movie is vague on exactly what created this giant snake. At first you think Dr. Rudolf genetically engineered the monster but later we’re told that Rudolf’s company actually found it in South East Asia and assumed it was a mutant created by Agent Orange. If they’d just said they’d created it through genetic engineering and left it at that, I’d have been fine. Advanced genetic engineering will (sooner than you think) be able to create all kinds of custom animals and it's not a Godzilla sized snake – just a really big, tough acid-spitting snake. But the inconsistent explanations (we made it – we found it – we won it in a raffle) are too annoying and I have to take points off for that.

They also lose points for truly bad CGI effects in several places. I understand this is low budget but again there are inconsistencies, because the snake keeps changing size depending on the scene. Make up your mind!

On the good side, the dialogue is actually pretty funny in places and I laughed out loud several times. And sometimes it was accidentally funny, like when the snake is chasing two characters so they make their getaway on mountain bikes, but take the time to put on their helmets! Safety first!

Those moments were mostly in the first half. There was no reason for this movie to be nearly 2 hours long. Roger Corman could have told them that a B-movie monster flick should be done in less than 90 minutes, especially when the ending is so stupid and contrived and – what's the word? – Inconsistent! Or have I ruined it for you?

I give PYTHON two shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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TRIVIA:
No, Pythons do not have long venomous - type fangs as depicted on the DVD cover. They have no use for them. But since this is (supposedly) a genetically engineered python (maybe), I'm willing to let it go.

Director Richard Clabaugh admits that "Python suffers from cinematic schizophrenia." and fully explains why at his site:
RClabaugh.com

 

 

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