Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
With: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Colm Meaney, Mykelti Williamson, Dave Chappelle, Rachel Ticotin, Danny Trejo, Monica Potter
Written by: Scott Rosenberg
Directed by: Simon West
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language
Running Time: 115
Date: 06/02/1997

Con Air (1997)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This aggravated me when I saw it in the theater in 1997, but seeing it again in 2022, I have to confess that, while it's still kinda bad, it's also so absurd that it has become a little more likable over time. Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is released from prison and is looking forward to going home to his wife (Monica Potter) and daughter, whom he has never met; he went to prison defending his pregnant wife's honor and accidentally killing a drunk who was hitting on her. He boards a plane with a rogue's gallery of the world's most dangerous criminals, including Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (John Malkovich), "Diamond Dog" (Ving Rhames), "The Marietta Mangler" (Steve Buscemi), "Pinball" (Dave Chappelle), "Swamp Thing" (M. C. Gainey), "Baby-O" (Mykelti Williamson), Ramon "Sally-Can't Dance" (Renoly), "Johnny 23" (Danny Trejo), etc. This brilliant idea of course results in the plane being taken over by maniacs, while the heroes, Poe from the air, and a sandal-wearing U.S. Marshal, Vince Larkin (John Cusack) from the ground, try to save the day. Colm Meany plays an ineffectual DEA agent who is more concerned with his car than in saving lives. Director Simon West made his feature directing debut with this, after a series of music videos (including, yes, Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up"), and even though the movie is short (115 minutes) by producer Jerry Bruckheimer's standards, West still can't quite keep up the momentum. The energy flags whenever the action moves away from the airborne craft. Astonishingly, Con Air received two Oscar nominations, one for Best Sound, and one for Trisha Yearwood's snooze-inducing song "How Do I Live."

Movies Unlimtied