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As much cliché there is on this typical action flick, this was a
terrific and fun one to watch! Come on! I mean a 6.3?! People, this was
a great movie that kept you on the edge of your seat with some of the
greatest actors of our time: Nic Cage, John Malkovich, and John Cusack.
The movie though went to Steve Buscemi! He is just becoming one of my
favorite actors, but I'll explain later. Con Air is about these
prisoners who have taken over an air plane meant to transfer some
prisoners to other states and some are actually free. There is one
person, Cameron Poe, who wants to stop this maniac, Cyrus 'The Virus'
Grissom played by John M. from destroying these men's lives.
John Cusack plays Vince Larkin, a Marshall who believes that Poe is on his side and wants to get this plane down as safely as he can, he does a terrific job, even though his looks aren't what I would've pictured for the part. John M. did a great job on scarring the heck out of me and was a terrific psychotic villain and Nic is so great as an action hero while he "saves the *beep* day", he also has this southern accent that is kind of funny but charming. Now, onto Steve who plays Garland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene, this incredibly intelligent but insane serial killer who gives you a Hannibal the Cannibal vibe. His dialog is incredible and grabs you "What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to *beep* off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane?" He's funny in a way that wasn't meant to be funny and he just steals the show. Especially how he was singing "He's got the whole world in his hands" at the end when the plane was going crazy. :D
These are remarkable actors, and yes, while the story is predictable and the stunts are over the top, nevertheless, I think anyone can enjoy this film an just have fun. It's a great action flick that deserves a look and a better rating! Come on, let go and have fun. Grab the popcorn, because you're going on a ride!
While not as clever or amusing as _The Rock_, which this was apparently
an effort to surpass, it certainly delivers the pyrotechnics. Cage, as
always, delivers the best performance he can, given the confines of the
script, and his best _Raising Arizona_ drawl.
The film's beginning sets a hopeful tone, we see the honorable Cage unjustly imprisoned and preparing to return to his home and the child he has never seen. Meanwhile, the penal system is filling the transport plane which will take Cage to freedom with a cast of the worst criminal psychos behind bars. There is an odd parallel to the beginning of _Stagecoach_ as the plane is loaded with the case of miscreants and a cursory description is given of each criminal. The film has a weakness for hyperbole, each character introduction, each scene, each explosion is meant to top the one before it.
Fortunately, the film does have a real ensemble cast, the full roster of villainous character actors: Malkovich, Rhames, Buscemi, Danny Trejo amongst the cons. The law is Cusack and Colm Meaney and Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall). Even Dave Chapelle is amongst the crooks.
Ultimately, the film maintains too straight a face during the ruckus. If you are going to ask the audience to accept one outrageous improbability after another, you need to keep it amusing. Chappelle keeps it funny while he's on screen but it's not long enough.
Unfortunately, the throttle has only one speed: pedal to the metal. Unlike Woo or McTiernan, who--predictable as they may arguably be--are able to build crescendos and know when to let off the gas, this one keeps on pushing harder and harder until we're feeling a bit catatonic. There is just a terrific amount of pyrotechnics and they use up twice as much powder each time. It never seems to end, which is usually a bad thing for an action movie.
But I shouldn't grouse too much. It is definitely an entertaining diversion, and Cage and Cusack are good in their roles, Colm Meaney is as always amusing. Malkovich and Buscemi are creepy enough but not the flamboyant psychos they could have been. Ironically, Cage has exactly that type of charisma (remember _Kiss of Death_, _Snake Eyes_, _Face Off_) but is forced to be restrain himself as the stolid ex-Army ranger.
Finally: what the HECK does bruckheimer have against Corvettes???
`Con Air' more or less defines the term `popcorn movie' it's an action
film designed strictly to entertain. The film's emphasis is on flash,
flair, and adrenaline, with a smattering of humor and story spread
throughout for good measure. Not exactly the most lofty of goals, but the
desire to entertain is quite sincere, and `Con Air' does largely succeed in
the entertainment department.
Where `Con Air' falls apart, however, is the grandiose, grandstanding way in which it tells its story. Subtlety is a word that is impossible to use in describing this film. `Con Air' is a firm believer in the concept that more must be better ten explosions must be better than one; three psychotic villains must be better than two; and so on. The `bigger is better' approach never truly turns the film into an utter mess, but it does bog it down to a certain extent what could've been a fantastic action movie becomes, well, just better than average. A leaner and meaner `Con Air' could've been a classic.
`Con Air' is the story of good-guy Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage), an Army Ranger unjustly tossed in prison for eight long years for protecting his family from a drunken, knife-wielding maniac. Finally paroled, Poe is placed on a converted troop transport plane that will take him home to his family. However, also on board the plane is a roster of psychotic criminals vaguely reminiscent of the Legion of Doom from the old `Superfriends' cartoon. There's Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich), an articulate, thoughtful madman with a penchant for automatic weapons; Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames), a black militant and Cyrus' trusted lieutenant (or so Cyrus thinks, at any rate); Johnny 23 (Danny Trejo), a serial rapist; Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi), a serial killer in the Hannibal Lecter vein who is treated as the resident prison celebrity; and a good half-dozen other colorful characters to flesh out this flying rogues' gallery of nightmare criminals. Under Cyrus' direction, the criminals take control of the plane, and it's up to the beleaguered Poe to save the day, with some help from good-guy U.S. Marshal Larkin (John Cusack) on the ground, who's seemingly the only person in U.S. law enforcement capable of deciphering Poe's brief and cryptic messages to the authorities.
The film moves along at a brisk pace, cheerfully glossing over its own improbabilities. `Con Air' is definitely the kind of film that only works if you don't stop to think about it, and director Simon West keeps things going quick enough to keep most of the ludicrous plot holes mercifully brief. He manages to cut from one story arc to another with a certain amount of skill, keeping each arc from completely snowballing into something unmanageable. However, the juggling act wears thin by the end of the movie there's simply too much to try to balance. It's not particularly Simon West's fault (although he does have an annoying penchant for overusing the slow-motion explosion filmed from five different angles, a lá `The A-Team'), but more a by-product of the script. The second half of the film has forced moments, where the only purpose of the action scenes seems to be to completely outdo the action scenes in the first half. These scenes are undeniably cool looking, but they're filler, and filler can only take a movie so far. A good third of the film story, action scenes, you name it could've easily been excised from the film, and not only would it never be missed, `Con Air' would actually be vastly improved.
Even the characters, while entertaining, wind up just overwhelming the film. The villain Diamond Dog, as played by Ving Rhames, is charismatic, menacing, and a truly inspired movie bad guy . . . and he's also completely gratuitous. As Cyrus the Virus, John Malkovich is also charismatic, menacing, and a truly inspired movie bad guy . . . just like Diamond Dog. The movie simply doesn't have room for both villains (and it definitely doesn't have room for the Lecter-inspired Garland Green, who Steve Buscemi turns into an odd sort of comic relief, but otherwise serves no purpose in the film.) ONE villain would've been plenty. Ditto the heroes: Cage is good, Cusack is good, but c'mon, pick ONE. Like the rest of the film, the characters become too much, and wind up becoming pure overkill.
In many ways, `Con Air' looks like the results of a Hollywood brainstorming meeting gone haywire, where a thousand ideas are slapped down onto a notepad. . . but these ideas don't necessarily mesh well together. Most of the ideas in `Con Air' are surprisingly decent, there's just too many of them. (How many times have you heard that about an action movie?)
Overall, `Con Air' is okay, and if you're in the mood for fun, mindless action, it gets the job done. Personally, I'd recommend watching `The Rock' instead it's by far the best of the recent spate of Bruckheimer action flicks but `Con Air', for all its excesses, has its own good moments, too. Grade: B-
"Con Air" can best be described as "The Rock" in the sky. The film deals with a Gulf War veteran (Nicolas Cage) who becomes a victim of circumstance and is sentenced to eight years in prison. He is going home via a gigantic prison plane which is also carrying some very unsavory characters (John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, and Steve Buscemi among others). Of course the evil prisoners take over the plane and it is up to Cage to save the day. Overall this is a fine action film which keeps its focus on the characters. 4 out of 5 stars.
Jerry Bruckheimer's production style rarely makes a good movie but Con
Air is one of those rare exceptions in which all the OTT mayhem and
full-on action make a film so exciting it scorches when you watch it.
Nic Cage (in a typically bad performance) is Cameron Poe, a US Ranger who is sent to prison for accidentally killing a thug who attacks his pregnant wife. After 8 years of porridge he is freed and hitches a ride home on a prison plane called The Jailbird. But this is no ordinary flight.
On Board are a small army of America's toughest crooks including Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom (John Malkovich) a men on death row for murder, robbery, kidnapping and extortion. Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones (Ving Rhames), a black militant inside for murder. Billy Bedlam (Nick Chinlund), inside for killing his cheating wife's family and dog. Pinball Parker (Dave Chapelle), a pimp and drug-dealer. Swamp Thing (MC Gainey) a pilot who knows a few things about a good hijack. And finally Garland Green AKA The Marietta Mangler (Steve Buscemi) a serial killer in for killing a zillion people and crossing 2 state borders wearing a girls head as a hat.
As you can tell, with such a eclectic bunch of psychos on board it's only a matter of seconds before all hell breaks loose. As soon as the plane is in the air the cons have taken over, restrained or killed the guards and have changed the destination from prison to South America.
Poe, being the good-hearted sort of chap that he is, doesn't rat out as his best pal needs his insulin shot and no one else will help. It's up to Poe to sneakily round up the baddies until US Marshall Larkin (John Cusack) and the cavalry can get there. Easier said than done, as double-crosses, suspicious cons and incompetent authority foul everything up. The result is action overload as the film blazes through to it's anarchic, devastating climax upon another anarchic, devastating climax. At the end you'll be left breathless and your senses stinging with over-stimulation. Con Air is everything an action film should be.
Steve Buscemi steals the whole show. His deadpan, bug-eyed and dare I say 'innocent' portrayal of a deranged killer is the centrepiece of the whole film. The scene where he sings with a little girl (and continues later on) will either freak you out or steal your heart. And the ending is the best you could hope for.
Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin provide a loud, blaring score of thrash-metal and acoustic guitars with the usual Media Ventures flare. It's brilliant stuff and I suggest you hunt down the (sadly incomplete) score CD. And this really did deserve the Best Original Song award over that pansy Titanic one.
Superior to both The Rock and Face/Off, Con Air is Nic Cage at his (worst) best as an action hero and Bruckheimer at his best as an action producer. See it, for the love of God, see it.
John Malkovich gives a ground breaking performance as Cyrus the Virus in this movie and you won't find a similar performance anywhere else. He and John Cusak actually overshadow Nicholas Cage for the most part of this movie. This movie is just filled with so many things that will keep you entertained and amused from start to finish, leave you extremely satisfied and force you to come back and watch the movie all over again. You also wont find such a huge assembly of stars in most other movies either. The same guys wont shy to display their attitudes as well. The story is good and the action is even better. The cinematography and screenplay are also top notch. This movie was a box office hit and I can't understand why its rated so low?
Macho's in a non-stop action movie with lot's of explosions. This is
ladies and gentlemen; the ultimate guy movie.
The movie is filled with crazy over the top characters such as Pinball, Johnny-23, The Marietta Mangler and Sally-can't-dance. It has some of the best casting in a movie I have ever seen. The actors are all simply perfect for their roles. Especially John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi are excellent as always and their characters are the best of the movie even though Buscemi's character wasn't really needed at all. The introduction of the prisoners at the beginning of the movie is completely over the top but I love it! It possibly is one of my favorite scene's in cinema history when we first meet Cyrus the Virus and Diamond Dog, the music really sets the mood in that scene.
Of course the story is not important, it's all about explosions, shootings, fist fights and everything in between. But dislike other action movies "Con Air" actually has a story that I like, even though it's completely over the top. Although I think that the movie might had been better of without the Poe's family scene's and storyline, even though I still sort of like the emotional scene's between them. Also I think that Nicholas Cage is a bit too much of a good guy in the movie, not only does he help his friend on board, he even finds time to try and save all the cops their lives and that of the bunny present for his daughter.
A good thing is the excellent soundtrack by Trevor Rabin and Mark Mancina that gives the movie an extra 'cool' feeling.
One little point of critic is that the editing isn't always great. But I can live with that...
Perfect entertainment in a crazy over the top non-stop action movie! There are better action movies out there but not much.
Not only was Con Air the best movie of 1997, it is an all time pleaser. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, and laughing the whole time. With non stop action and hundreds of classic one-liners, this movie just can't lose. A must see for people of all ages and genders!!!!
Con Air is what I've come to expect of a standard Hollywood action flick, nothing more, nothing less. It's got plenty of action, big explosions, one-liners and pure entertainment value. The plot is pretty good, somewhat original, and fairly fast-paced. The acting is good, and the film has a surprisingly large amount of well-known good actors; Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames and John Malkovich. They all give good performances, as do most of the supporting actors. The characters are well-written and credible. I found it interesting how most of the characters aren't all black or white in their actions and personalities; many of them have a shade of gray or two. The action is well-done, exciting and intense. The special effects(the few there are) are good enough. The ending may be a little extreme, but it's a good climax, and the good things in the film make up for the bad; granted, there are a few downright lame parts, but there are far more good parts than bad. All in all, everything you'd expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer action film, and nothing else. I recommend it to fans of standard action films. 7/10
Here's my chance to defend my choice of this movie as my all time favorite. John Malkovich plays the ingenious leader of a group of cons who manage to take over a federal airplane during a prisoner transfer. Nic Cage is a good guy, a prisoner who's being flown out to be released. He's got to save the day, because his friend is on board, along with several innocent prison guards. Thwarted at every turn, John Cusack plays a federal marshal who sees Cage as his chance to save the innocent people on board. Jam-packed with one liners and various other lengthier bits of humor, this movie has it all: drama, action, love story, loyalty to friends, and honor. Steve Buscemi and David Chappelle have some of the funniest lines I've ever encountered in a movie and this is one that should be seen if for no other reason than to hear Buscemi explain what 'irony' is.
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