The word “classic” is thrown around a lot when talking about films, but Con Air most certainly deserves that accolade. It’s over a decade old now and very few action films since have captured the heart, the humour and the bad ass mentality of Con Air. We have an all-star cast on top form and we have director Simon West directing his first and best film yet.
It’s the story of Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) an ex miliary guy who is sent to jail for killing a man who tries to attack Cage’s wife. Just as Cage is getting out of jail, hes gets put on a prison transport plane along with a few dozen of the most dangerous guys on earth. The plane gets taken over by the convict and Poe is as out-of-place and in danger as the prison guards. Poe only wants to get home to his wife and kid, but he must turn down a chance to break free from the plane because of his friend ( prisoner also) who will slowly die without proper medical help. Poe must help his friend, fit in with the dangerous convicts to stay alive and also plan a way to get home safe to his family.
Con Air is a two-hour war of macho exchanges, explosions and one liners. We have a cast that has Nicolas Cage in top form as the fearless southern accented hero, John Malkovich at his best as the sick mad man and John Cusack as the sensible good guy authorial figure. Cage is at his charismatic best here, playing the courageous good guy who has his fair share of iconic one liners. Malcovich seems to be having massive fun with his role as maniac Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom. Malcovich is as smart as he is crazy and his performance here is almost oscar worthy which is surprising considering its just an action flick. The plot is obviously quite simple but it’s a definite winner, as the film has the freedom to have a host of really bizarre but memorable characters, Steve Buscemi possibility the best of the lot. Buscemi is Garland ‘The Marietta Mangler’ Greene, who is so dangerous that Malcovich says it’s a waste of his talents to have him in a muzzle.
Con Air is terrific from start to finish and is one of the best action movies of all time. It solidifies that if you make an audience laugh and care in the same movie, you can be pretty sure you’ve got a pretty darn good film. Con Air does this us by giving is very funny and over the top performances but still allowing is to care for our hero and hate our villains.