An Army Ranger about to be released from prison becomes the only
hope for a plane full of prison guards when the convicts take it over.
Con Air (1997)
Directed by Simon West
Written by Scott Rosenberg
Starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, Mykelti Williamson, Steve Buscemi, Monica Potter, Colm Meaney, Danny Trejo, M.C. Gainey, Nick Chinlund, Dave Chappelle
Oscar Nominations - Best Sound, Best Original Song (How Do I Live)
Nicolas Cage has never played another character as heroic as Cameron Poe, former Army Ranger. Despite his atrocious Southern accent that just keeps making me think of H.I. McDunnough, he is the perfect lead for an action movie as grandiose and insane as Con Air. Pit him against a psychotic John Malkovich leading an all-star team of 90s character actors playing absolute scum and you get an action classic that has aged like a fine wine. The one-liners, the screechy guitar theme, and the memorable characters all work together to make this one pop.
After accidentally killing a man in self-defense, Army Ranger Cameron Poe is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years in prison. He gets paroled after eight, and is looking forward to meeting his young daughter for the first time. His ride home is shared by a gaggle of psychopaths who are being transferred to other prisons. Their ringleader is Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (Malkovich), who leads a prison break on their plane. Now, Poe is the only one who can stop them. There's elements of Die Hard, sure, but Cage makes it his own. His flowing hair, wife-beater attire, and jacked arms remind us constantly that he's an American hero who doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit."
Con Air is a badass adventure that ends with a showdown on the Las Vegas strip. I mean, come on. It's one of Cage's best films for a reason. It takes itself seriously as an action movie but is able to have fun with itself at the same time. Plus, we get Steve Buscemi as a serial killer that even the other monsters are afraid of. And he just gets away. I'm still hoping for a sequel about the Marietta Mangler one day.