Con Air (1997)

Genre: Action/Adventure

Cast: Nicholas Cage, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi

Synopsis: Nick Cage is a simple yet misunderstood redneck who gets sent to the slammer after killing a bunch of people. On the day of his release he is transported to his family on a plane full of convicts who cause a mutiny and then try to make it to Mexico or somewhere.

Nick Cage must have been snorting a hell of a lot of cocaine when he made this movie. That’s the only way I can explain why he took this role of ‘Johnny Every-American’ in this hilariously melodramatic and campy action movie. The character is so one dimensional and the premise is so corny that your eyes practically do a 360 degree barrel roll in their sockets. However, this movie is so deliciously brilliant that it all becomes part of the fun. I kind of get the feeling that Nick Cage understood how tacky the whole thing is but he’s probably high off his tits so he doesn’t care.

What makes this movie so enjoyable is that it plays out like fodder for every white-trash middle American. The highs, the lows, it’s all carefully choreographed to resonate with Americans who have no understanding of what makes a good movie and have no patience to empathize with a complex character. The ending, for example, is so sugary sweet that it could give you diabetes. In fact, disregard that last remark. The ending is so sweet but it’s not made with sugar; it’s made with artificial sweeteners…the kinds that give you cancer. The only way this movie could have been more ‘America’ is if a bald eagle named Freedom flew into the plane and impaled the (educated) villains with the American flag and then instituted a low flat rate tax for everyone. The movie provides wonderful insight into the minds of conservative Americans and what we see is as simple as ‘down south army veteran = good’ and ‘educated Latino cross dressers = bad.’

From an objective standpoint though, it’s the villains who make this movie. John Malkovich is fantastic as a deranged psychopath. Danny Trejo once again plays into his specialty as some kind of sick rapist/drug lord. Ving Rhames is the big burly black guy. Steve Buscemi is like a low budget Hannibal Lector. Dave Chappelle (yes, fucking Dave Chappelle) is some sort of twitchy crackhead. They each bring their own individual flavors and it’s a real pleasure to watch them all play their parts in a claustrophobic environment.

Obviously this film isn’t in the same league as films like Blade Runner or The Godfather but it’s enjoyable in the same way that One Night in Paris is enjoyable. It’s something you put on with friends in order to laugh at the horror of it all. In Con Air though, you are saved from the torture of seeing Paris Hilton’s yeasty vagina.

High-lights:

  • Malkovich, Trejo, Rhames, Buscemi, and Chappelle. No complaints there.
  • Very quotable: ‘Take this you son of a bitch…HHHIIIIYYYYAAAA!’ and ‘I’m going to show you God does exist’ are just some examples.
  • There are some really bizarre moments like the repeated zoom in on the convoy or the prisoner walk-off.
  • Screaming ‘how do I live without you’ at the screen.

Downers:

  • The nails in the skin and the pulling of baggies out of stomachs is just gross.
  • The scene between Buschemi and the little girl made me want to turn it off at one point. Fortunately I didn’t.
  • The right-wing fuck yeah stuff can get a little bit too much at times. I mean, how many jokes can you possible throw at the New York Times, Denzel Washington, and the liberal Jew media???
  • Of course, it’s the black guy who has diabetes.

Summary:

This movie has its strengths and weaknesses but it’s ultimately the strengths that come out on top. I have to say, watching this movie was the perfect cure for the unemployment blues. It was engaging, funny, and at no point pretentious. For those reasons I would say that this movie is a great accompaniment for all strains. I wish I had the opportunity to see this with some of my friends though because it’s important to share the Nick Cage love and it would have made it even funnier. Still, I’m going to give this film a respectable score.

7.5/10

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4 Comments

Filed under Action/Adventure, Good

4 responses to “Con Air (1997)

  1. I’ll never forget how ridiculously hilarious I thought this movie was. “Put. The. Bunny. Down…*shoot the crap out of the guy* Why couldn’t you just put the bunny down?”

  2. This, was awesome… for all the reasons you mentioned above!

    Nice Cage + southern drawl = awesome.
    Mullets = awesome.

    Also, I think there is an Eagle in the poster.

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