90s Flashback: Con Air (1997)

Human caricature Nicolas Cage had two films come out in 1997. One is endlessly entertaining. The other is Con Air.

Let me set the scene for you: Cage’s character Cameron Poe convicted of first-degree manslaughter. He killed a guy in a clear-cut case of self-defense. The judge states that, due to his military training, his body is a lethal weapon. Yeah. Okay. We spend about 10 minutes or so in a montage of Poe in prison, while his voiceover reads the letters he and his daughter are sending to each other. Cut to the day that he is leaving prison on parole; he is boarded onto a plane that carries criminals or convicts, if you will. There are some real hardened criminals played by John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi. You know, real tough, scary guys. They take over the plane, and Poe’s character works in conjunction with Vince Larkin, John Cusack’s character, to stop all the bad guys from escaping to Mexico. The film ends when said criminals have no choice but to land the massive airplane on the Las Vegas strip, no doubt creating casualties. Also, the theme song to the film is “How Do I Live?” by LeAnn Rimes.

Con Air is not a film that you watch for the plot or the acting or anything else of that sort. It’s a film that you watch because you want to see some things explode and some ass get kicked. Because that is all that happens. I mean, I think I counted three times that Nicolas Cage and/or John Cusack jump out of the way of an exploding object, fire all in the background, them scrambling to the ground. All done in slow motion, of course.

Exhibit A

If you can excuse Cage’s Southern accent, and you can excuse how casually racist the film is, then by all means, it’s currently streaming on Hulu. However, if I have to choose between the two films Cage made in the year 1997, I would choose Face/Off every time. Now, that movie is entertainment gold.

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