Anthony's Film Review
Con Air (1997)
Con Air is nothing more than an explosive good time...
Is a plot essential for an action movie? Not necessarily, just as long as there's a tiny trace of it. Is it important for an action movie to have memorable characters? Somewhat, just as long as there's one thing unique about at least the main character. So this movie genre is one that doesn't seem to demand too much. As long as you have exciting action to watch on screen, all of it with the right timing and pacing, that's mostly what you really need.
Before I talk about the action in Con Air, let me emphasize that it's not entirely a mindless action movie. There is a plot that is well suited for this genre. A prisoner transport plane is hijacked by its own prisoners. Imagine that. These prisoners take control of a massive aerial vehicle that could be used for who knows what. Transport to freedom? Weapon for a terrorist act? At least there's a bit of intrigue there.
On top of the plot is an interesting main character. Nicolas Cage is Cameron Poe, one of the prisoners, but he is the good one. In fact, he is a father of a little girl whom he is anticipating to see. He is a more gentle criminal who is put into the same plane as people far more dangerous, like John Malkovich as Cyrus the Virus. From the start, you trust Cage as the hero. On the ground is John Cusack as a U.S. Marshal. He has his own conflict when he tries to halt efforts to shoot down the prisoner plane, because Poe should not die along with the others.
Now we go back to the action. Let's also note that this is a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced action movie. Usually, you can't go wrong with Bruckheimer. He knows how to turn action into true eye candy. There are intense scenes with the hijack itself, an attempt to shoot down the plane, and a climax over and in Las Vegas. It's nothing more than an adrenaline rush, high-octane fun, an explosive good time, or however else you want to describe a good action film.
Con Air works because the formula - one part plot, one part character, and three parts action - is just right. I certainly had a good time with the movie. It was originally released during a summer movie season, which I think was just the right time. But for those who have missed seeing it that time, it's not a problem. Con Air will always be an exciting summer blockbuster, even in a home theater.
For more information about Con Air, visit the Internet Movie Database.