Snake: Fall of a City has one of the best posters I’ve seen recently. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the movie apart from the fact there is a giant snake in it. Even worse, the same can be said for the title. Its original title Sand Python Siege (沙蟒围城) is considerably more accurate as the film doesn’t even take place in a city or even a small town for that matter.
A team of four researchers find an abandoned factory in the middle of the desert. They also find a giant snake that promptly attacks them. Somewhere in the same desert, a race is taking place. One of the racers, Liang Zi Jing (Jiayi Li, The Noob Prince) suddenly veers off course. She’s followed by Lin Chuang (Lin Fengye, Demon Catcher, Legend of Hunter) who has a crush on her that borders on a creepy obsession.
That night a giant snake attacks the camp, leaving the two of them among the few survivors. They end up at the same factory we saw at the beginning of the film. Xiong Kun (Ma Wenliang) who financed the team we saw at the start and his entourage have also arrived. Which is good because the snakes are hungry.
Directors Yan Leyang (Detective Dee and the City of Mists) and Xuanzai co-wrote Snake: Fall of a City and they did an equally bad job of both. Even by the rather low standards of Chinese monster movies, this is a mess. The film starts with people reaching the factory by camel, but Xiong Kun, who is wearing a fur coat in the middle of a desert, and his caravan of SUVs can apparently drive there without getting dirty.
That does somewhat make sense though. When we first see the factory in an effects shot it looks like it is in the middle of the desert. When everyone is standing around outside of it, it’s obviously on some scrubland in an industrial zone with a desert badly green-screened in behind them.
As you can probably guess, Liang Zi Jing’s father was the professor leading the expedition we saw at the start of Snake: Fall of a City. And a sandstorm blows up and traps everyone in the factory forcing them to work together to survive. This usually means the bad guys forcing somebody to do something at gunpoint and minor characters getting eaten.
The plot is full of ridiculous plot devices such as the electricity still working in the factory which has been abandoned for at least fifteen years. And somebody managing to survive in it that long without starving or becoming snake food. And what do the snakes live on, it would take a lot of rats and bugs to feed something this size.
And while we’re on the subject of snakes there’s the matter of the creature effects. For once, they aren’t all CGI. Unfortunately, the prop snake looks like a rigid piece of plastic with an equally stiff tongue that occasionally pops out when it hisses, it looks like something from a 1950s film. I never thought I’d say this, but Snake: Fall of a City would have been better off sticking to CGI.
With a terrible script, uninspired direction and worse effects Snake: Fall of a City doesn’t come close to providing the cheesy fun similar films like Crocodile Island or Snakes do. It can’t even match up to Snake Outta Compton for that matter. This is one to avoid at all costs.
Snake: Fall of a City is available to stream on the iQYI streaming platform. The trailer is in Chinese only, the film comes with English subtitles.