Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Warning: Spoilers Ahead.
Con Air is, essentially, a chick flick.
The movie starts off with an army captain Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) back from the Gulf War, celebrating with his wife Tricia (Monica Potter). Cage and his wife are harrassed by some drunk bikers, and in self-defense Cage stabs one of the assailants, leading to a long and well-deserved prison term.
At some expositional point later, we learn that the US Marshals are going to transfer a large number of dangerous criminals in one plane across the western United States. Naturally, the prisoners break free from their manacles and take over the plane. (Get it? CON AIR. Such raucous wit in these Hollywood types.)
You're probably asking why this is a chick flick.
The simple reason is that, with the single exception of one of the prison guards and the fleeting shot of a worried Monica Potter, the only people you see on film are men. It is a total sausagefest! From the manly mane of Cage to the well-sculpted features of John Cusack, to the bulky beefcake that is Ving Rhames, or the suave debonair of John Malkovich - so many sexy men in one plane should be illegal! It's like that bar I mistakenly walked into on Austin's Sixth Street one time. Wrong on many, many levels.
Anyway, the prisoners take over, and the marshals come up with a fairly simple solution: blow the plane up. However, Cusack is convinced by Potter that Nicolas Cage is an ally on the plane and can help resolve the situation peacefully. So Cusack tries to convince his superiors, to only marginal effect.
In the meantime, the prisoners (as only bad guys can do) began squabbling amongst themselves, resulting in some deaths and general unrest. They land at an abandoned airfield where Malkovich's character (lovingly named Cyrus the Virus) has planned for a getaway plane to extradite the group to a foreign country - no doubt within FAA regulations - and to freedom. However, Cage gets the word out about the plans, and the Army sends a few armed troops out to take care of business. Unfortunately, the prisoners see them coming and set up an ambush, but not before their ticket out of America is destroyed. Now the question becomes: who snitched? Regardless, the prisoners begin to form a backup plan, and the Marshals become more determined to destroy the group once and for all.
I won't reveal how the movie ends, although suffice to say it is a Bruckheimer picture, and happy endings are pretty much a staple of the modern chick flick, yes?
Although the action scenes are intense, the constant ham-fisted dialogue amongst the prisoners was gutwrenchingly bad. The plot was rollicking, if not always unpredictable, and certainly women everywhere appreciated the complete masculine dominance of the silver screen.
One particular scene that was disappointing was when Steve Buscemi's character makes a break for freedom at the airfield. Earlier, the film revealed he is in prison as a psycho (Steve Buscemi - who knew?) cannibal. As he is running, he finds a house, and in the backyard, a little girl. My heart skipped a beat. Would Bruckheimer dare have an onscreen babyeating? Unfortunately, the shot cut away before the gory details were revealed, but I secretly reveled in the possibility.
Then later on they show Buscemi - and the little girl still alive! What a lame finish. And she had such nice jowly cheeks, too.
Anyway, I give this movie 2 out of 5 dead babys. I would only recommend it for bachelorette parties and tea time. Guys should stick to high-quality action flicks like Moonstruck and The Prince of Tides.
Nicolas Cage .... Cameron Poe
John Cusack .... U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
Monica Potter .... Tricia Poe
Landry Allbright .... Casey Poe
M.C. Gainey .... Swamp Thing
Danny Trejo .... Johnny 'Johnny-23' Baca
Steve Buscemi .... Garland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene
Steve Eastin .... Guard Falzon
Rachel Ticotin .... Guard Sally Bishop
David Chappelle .... Joe 'Pinball' Parker
Ving Rhames .... Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones
John Malkovich .... Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom
Mykelti Williamson .... Mike 'Baby-O' O'Dell
Colm Meaney .... DEA Agent Duncan Malloy