Con Air (1997)
USA / English
"Get Ready To Fly "A newly released ex con and former US Ranger finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the other prisoners sieze control.
The mad mad mad mad world of violence
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
Finally: what the HECK does bruckheimer have against Corvettes???
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