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Con Air Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 March 1998


MPAA rating: R
starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusak, John Malkovich,
Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames and Colm Meany
film rating: Two and One Half Stars
reviewed by: Bill Warren

Produced by the same folks who brought you The Rock, Conair is another high-energy action film with a totally implausible plot. Nicolas Cage plays a prison parolee on his way home when his plane is taken over by ruthless convicts. However, in typical Hollywood over-kill fashion, these are not just ordinary prisoners, they are the scum of the earth, complete psychopaths. Now, most rational people might tend to ask, "Why are these madmen being transported with the general prison populace without a second thought?" Unfortunately, most rational people aren't Hollywood movie producers now are they. In fact, when they bring the most heinous criminal on board in more chains and restraints then they had on Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, you actually find yourself laughing as this film becomes such a farce.

As you might expect, dialogue is more-or-less and afterthought with such inspirational and colorful passages as, "The next wings you see will be the fly's buzzing over your rotting corpse." It gave me chills just thinking about it, although probably not in the way intended.

Given the chance to get off the plane, the totally buffed-out Cage, opts to stay on board. He needs to defend the honor of a female prison guard and, somehow in the melee, find a syringe for his buddy who desperately needs a shot of insulin. John Malkovich, as the villainous mastermind of the breakout, aims for a quiet reserve, leaving the over-the-top theatrics to Colm Meany, the overzealous DEA agent who just wants to shoot the plane out of the sky, even if our hero is on board. Of course, the other good guy, John Cusak, talks him out of it and the plane crashes on the Las Vegas Strip destroying millions of dollars in property and killing countless innocent bystanders. Maybe it wasn't a good choice, but it sure made for terrific special effects.

This is an excellent transfer to DVD and they put the 5.1 audio soundtrack to good use. I could almost feel the wind and sand against my skin when the plane lands nose first into a gravel runway early in the movie.

Implausibility and cheesy dialogue aside, when you get right down to the action, this film is a serious adrenaline rush. There are plenty of unique stunts, huge explosions and grizzly deaths to keep the die-hard action fan satiated. From a purely action standpoint, this is a worthwhile thrill-ride and therefore I give it a mild recommendation.

more details
sound format:
Dolby Digital
aspect ratio(s):
special features: French Language Track; Spanish Subtitles;
Original Theatrical and Teaser Trailer; Chapter Search
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Kenwood DV-403
receiver: Kenwood VR-407
main speakers: Paradigm Atom
center speaker: Paradigm CC-170
rear speakers: Paradigm ADP-70
subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10
monitor: 36-inch Sony XBR

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