David R Ellis obituary

Former stuntman and director of Snakes on a Plane

The brazenly trashy, cheap-and-cheerful B-movie is more or less defunct in modern cinema. One of its few authentic latter-day practitioners was the film-maker David R Ellis, who has been found dead at the age of 60 in a hotel in South Africa, where he was preparing to make a live-action version of the violent anime Kite.

Ellis came to widespread attention in 2006 when he directed Snakes on a Plane, the exploitation action thriller with a title that doubled as its own synopsis. Samuel L Jackson played an FBI agent on board a flight packed with venomous snakes planted to kill the witness who is in his care. There have been dumber and more precarious murder plots in the movies, but not many.

Ellis was brought in as a replacement for the original director, Ronny Yu. When word circulated online of a proposed

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