U.S. Army Ranger Sgt Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) accidentally kills a man who has been harassing him and his wife after they are reunited. He serves his time and 8 years later is paroled. To get back to his native Alabama he boards a prison transportation plane. Other criminals are also sharing the flight and are still serving time such as highly intelligent criminal mastermind Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom (John Malkovich), former general of the Black Guerillas Nathan ‘Diamond Dog’ Jones (Ving Rhames) and rapist John ‘Johnny 23’ Baca (Danny Trejo). What could possibly go wrong?!
I love Con Air. It’s a big, fantastic action movie that I regret never having seen in a cinema on a big screen. It’s also very intelligent even though it tries to come across as dumb (I love the armchair film critics on social media who don’t get this). Its homages and pastiches regarding the action genre are very knowing and extremely entertaining. I can’t get enough of those shots of Cage running in slow motion with explosions going off behind him. I also can’t get enough of the soundtrack with its awesome electric guitars. How Do I Live by Trisha Yearwood was also written for the film and received an Oscar nomination. There was also another nomination for Best Sound. The idea of Con Air being nominated for Academy Awards blows my mind.
I also love how each of the baddies in the film has a fleshed-out (pun not intended) backstory and are exceptionally well-acted. It feels like the plane is full of villains en route to a sociopath’s summit meeting. It also feels like any one of these characters was already well-rounded and well-written enough to star in their own film on their own merits.
The action within the film knows no bounds and it feels like ANYTHING could happen. The finale in which a sizable chunk of Las Vegas is levelled is awesome. I love the money raining down on everyone once the action has finally subsided.
Critics at the time were questioning whether the events in Con Air were believable. Who cares? It’s a fantastic film that’s all you need to know. Disregard the mainstream critics with their boring tastes and the armchair critics with their lack of cineliteracy. Con Air is pure cult cinema and a delight from start to finish.
4.5 stars out of 5