Cameron Poe, a highly decorated Army Ranger, comes home to Alabama to his wife Tricia, only to run into a few drunken regulars at the bar where she works. Cameron accidentally kills one of the drunks, and is sent to a federal penitentiary for involuntary manslaughter for seven years. He becomes eligible for parole and can now go home to his wife and daughter. Unfortunately, Cameron has to share a prison airplane with some of the country's most dangerous criminals, who take control of the plane and are now planning to escape the country. Cameron has to find a way to stop them while playing along. Meanwhile, United States Marshal Vince Larkin is trying to help Cameron get free and stop the criminals, led by Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom.Written by
(at around 33 mins) Baby-O can't get off the plane in Carson City because only white convicts are expected. When the men are prepped to get off the plane we see two black men among them. However, only the three dead prisoners that were being replaced needed to be white. There were still three more (making six all together) whose race was not specified. See more »
Officer at Leaving Ceremony:
Army Rangers have a proud history. Since the 1700s, Rangers have led the way in every major confrontation in which the United States has been involved. You men are a credit to that fine heritage, and I'm sorry to see you go. But you've served your country well, and you've displayed the ability to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete its mission, never leaving behind a fallen comrade no matter what the odds or the enemy. I thank you. America thanks you. And I wish you luck ...
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The UK video release had the character "Sally Can't Dance" almost entirely edited out. For example, in the theatrical release, when Sally Can't Dance sees cops getting closer to the plane he squeals "Oooh, men in uniform!". This line of dialog is omitted from the UK video release. See more »
Entertaining for the most part but also ridiculous at times
"Con Air" is a typical Jerry Bruckheimer production of the mid to late 90's, more or less along the same lines as "The Rock" & "Armageddon". Featuring undemanding action executed by a nicely assembled cast, it's the type of movie that's designed for popcorn munching enjoyment rather than garnering prestigious awards. While that approach can often lead to a fairly hollow & trivial experience, in this case the unique premise sets "Con Air" apart from countless other routine action flicks.
The story revolves around a flight containing some of the nation's most notorious criminals who are on their way to a new maximum security detention center. Little do the authorities know that they've plotted to take over the plane and use it to transport themselves to freedom. Luckily for the good guys, a recent parolee who just happens to be a highly decorated Army Ranger is also on board and he's not too keen on letting these guys have their way.
The premise may be fairly high concept but it's an intriguing one. I'd have to say that screenwriter Scott Rosenberg put together a pretty clever plot, even though the last act goes all out in terms of action and, as a result, strays into ludicrousness. There's also quite a bit of memorable dialogue, which is helped immensely by the excellent cast. Nicolas Cage & John Cusack are better than average as the good guys but in my opinion it's the bad guys who really stand out. John Malkovich is always worth watching and here he gives perhaps the movie's best performance as the main villain, Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom. His criminal brethren include the likes of Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi, Dave Chappelle & M.C. Gainey. That's an impressive group in and of itself and it's supplemented by a few other standouts like Colm Meaney & Mykelti Williamson.
The movie's production values are up to snuff as well, which is no surprise considering that this was a summer blockbuster. The movie garnered an Oscar nomination for its sound along with one for the original song "How Do I Live" by Trisha Yearwood. In general, the movie shows the trademark quality of a Jerry Bruckheimer production.
Overall, I think that the movie delivers the goods for most of its running time but I find that the extended finale goes a bit too over the top. I can understand why they'd want to go out with a bang but I found the earlier stages to be more intricately plotted than a typical action movie and, as a result, more rewarding. In any case, the movie is worth watching for having a pretty nifty premise along with some entertaining performances from a nicely assembled cast.
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