Someone donated this DVD to my girlfriend’s library, and since adding it to the collection would raise all kinds of alarm bells, she was given it to take home, to avoid suspicion. So last weekend we watched it Mystery Science Theater 3000-style with a couple of friends who are connoisseurs of this genre, and it seemed only fair to share my insights on it here. What to say about one of these straight-to-video creature-features that hasn’t already been said? You may ask “Why would someone actually need to review something so obviously terrible, and from 8 years ago? Don’t we already know everything we need to know about this alleged ‘film’ from the title?” My response: who the hell do you think you are, telling me what I can and can’t write about?! Do I come down to your blog and tell you to stop posting pictures of your goddamn two-year-old and what you had for dinner last night? Of course I don’t, so shut the hell up and read my synopsis of one of 2004’s finest Snake vs. Snake movies.
We open in York, Pennsylvania, a strangely specific location for somewhere that no one has ever heard of. Obviously, a Mexican wrestling match is beginning, and the citizens of York are going crazy as the pugilists are introduced. The Boa and the Python. This is foreshadowing. A cigar-chomping bigshot who looks like a non-name-brand version of Tom Cruise sits in the front row and orders “a box of raisinets.” He is clearly a player. He takes a call from some goons driving a shipping truck and yells at them to do something. After hanging up, the truck explodes, allowing an enormous snake to escape and dive into a sewer entrance.
Just now, one of my watching companions discovers that this was filmed in Bulgaria, as the words “24 Miles Outside Philadelphia” appear at the top of a screen showing what is clearly the Bulgarian countryside. It is convenient that they were able to find a location that so clearly resembles the treeless steppes surrounding the major city of Philadelphia in all directions. Because one of the most interesting things about Philly is the way that despite being the fifth most populous metropolitan area in the US, the urban landscape abruptly stops at the city limits.
We are at the site of the truck explosion and the FBI is investigating the scene. One officer walks up to another inspecting a body and asks if this is body #6. The second officer replies that it’s “parts of bodies #2, #3, and #5” even though it is clearly a single person. An obnoxious news reporter reports the news obnoxiously, his cameraman has an Eastern-European accent.
Now we see Tom Cruise 2 on board his magic plane. He owns a 747-size aircraft for his personal use. The inside is adorned like a tacky Greek Temple. His girlfriend gratuitously takes a bath using a giant carwash-style sponge. It’s only 9 minutes into this film, but we’ve already seen everything, we’ve seen it all. A snake slithers into the bath so she angrily stomps into the bedroom to yell at TC2, but it is impossible to listen to what she’s saying because these scenes are just excuses to see her breasts. In the course of the conversation she throws the snake on the bed only to later sit down on it, toplessly, having forgotten that she had just thrown a snake on their bed 30 seconds ago.
This is around when we look at the cast list. Several men are all bit character actors, the women are all former porn actresses, the rest are Bulgaria’s finest. The Carwash Sponge was in Playboy Wet & Wild VIII: Bottoms Up; so it’s no wonder she knew how to take a bath. It’s good timing to find this out as we shift to a spring break party around a hotel pool. A bunch of bros are having a breath-holding contest as a blonde lady who is obviously another former porn actress says that she has breath-holding experience from being a Navy SEAL and challenges a giant guy who is whatever the Slavic equivalent of a linebacker is. This makes him good at going without oxygen somehow. They get in the water, and after 30 seconds she takes off her swimsuit top off. This somehow causes the Bulgarian Bruiser to run out of air and swim up to the surface. So she wins through trickery…how does that help you hold your breath during a Seal mission again? People hand her cash for winning the bet and she reveals a surprising proficiency for handling wads of wet $20 bills (how did this bet work again?). Anyway, she has been summoned by the FBI dude and the next scene is them in a car in West Virginia. Despite taking a plane to get there, she hasn’t had a chance to change out of her bathing suit. She is brought to team up with the world’s greatest herpetologist. He is in possession of a giant snake, this is a world where being a reptile scientist means that you create giant freaky reptiles.
This is when they start talking about “her equipment.” Despite being ~25 and having already spent at least a few years ascending to the top of the Navy’s most elite and challenging force, she is also the world’s greatest neuroscientist, because she has managed to create a computer interface to an dolphin brain. A system that would allow you to see through the dolphin’s eyes, control their actions remotely— it’s such a remarkable achievement that it is hard to believe we don’t need to spend more than 10 seconds talking about it. Rather, it’s time to repeatedly belittle the World’s Greatest Neuroscientist by referring to her work as her “equipment” or “implants” over and over again. Also we need to install it in the freaky giant snake— it’s like the old saying goes: “the only thing that can kill a giant snake is a giant cyborg snake”
Now TC2 assembles the world’s greatest hunters to go down into the sewers. A surprising number of them, including the cowboy stereotype with a giant American flag on his truck, seem to hail from Eastern Europe again. What a funny coincidence.
A bunch of pointless things happen for the next 40 minutes. TC2 and his hunting team searches for the snake in the dense woods surrounding Philadelphia. As the python draws closer to the city, more Bulgarians perish from its fury. The World’s Greatest Neuroscientist goes into the sewers with Giant Boa Man to track their snake. You can’t help but wonder whether all that stuff about snake surgery was not significantly different than putting a camera and GPS on a snake. The hunting team doesn’t realize that if shooting the snake with bullets didn’t work the first time, it won’t work the second, third, and tenth times. Tom Cruise 2 dumbly describes his hunting technique as “one shot, one kill”—despite multiple instances where we’ve seen volleys of bullets bounce off the snake. He then switches from guns to a flamethrower, which can’t make up its mind whether it’s the kind of flamethrower that merely projects fire, or the napalm-kind that sprays a stream of flaming gel— it keeps switching. The Python and Boa have sex in the sewer system and instantly lay a bunch of eggs. I don’t know anything about snake reproduction, and won’t insult your intelligence by merely looking it up on wikipedia, but any resemblance to things that could actually happen in reality has to be coincidental at this point.
Most of the people tracking the snakes get killed, and the former Navy SEAL (and star of Playmate Pajama Party) uses her breath-holding abilities, genuinely for once, to hide in some water while the python kills a bunch of people. Eventually, only TC2 and the Boa Implant Squad remain, and they head up to Philly’s hottest dance club— a dank, cramped bar with 15 patrons and 10 writhing fluorescent painted nude dancers. The python comes up through the basement, and as the army arrives on the scene, TC2 inexplicably murders about a dozen soldiers with his magic flame thrower. If his reason for doing this was a desire to kill the snake himself, he’s made a mistake, since he is now out of napalm. Suddenly, he decides to bend the laws of the universe by taking off his empty tank and shooting it. Despite being EMPTY it explodes in a magnificent burst of flame that blows away part of the building but doesn’t injure anyone standing 10 ft away from it. The python eats him anyway.
Boa Implant Squad chases the two snakes down to the subway (Philadelphia has a subway now?) and as the good snake and bad snake bite and wrestle each other, the Python gets hit by a subway car. CyberBoa slithers back into the depths of the sewers. After all this, the subterranean giant snake count remains at 1. Has goodness prevailed? We have all lost the ability to care. What part did the heroes play in saving the city? Well, I suppose they released an equally deadly snake into the sewers and got lucky. There. Stop asking questions.
Like Kyopolou, a traditional Bulgarian relish made primarily from eggplant and garlic, this “film” is a gross-looking puree of ingredients so bland and pointless that you have to wonder why anyone bothered. Just as a Balkan dip won’t fill you up, Boa vs Python leaves you hungry for something more substantial, with a bad taste in your mouth, and yet, you knew what you were getting into when you minced the bell peppers and tomatoes.