CON AIR was a hit back in 1997, the $75,000,000 actioner another destruction derby produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, blasting a proficient yet crude and noisy way into 14th place, with a take of $101,117,583 across the US, crime paying as part of a global haul of $224,012,224. Scott Rosenberg pled guilty to the script (he was also responsible for Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead and Gone In 60 Sixty Seconds). It was the first feature directed by Simon West.
Former Army Ranger ‘Cameron Poe’ (Nicholas Cage) is paroled from doing a stretch for manslaughter. The prison transport plane taking him home to his family in Las Vegas is hijacked by a group of its non-parolees, some of the Worst Criminal Scum in These United States. The decent Poe and a US Marshal (John Cusack) battle ruthless killers led by ‘Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom’ (John Malcovich), and including such endearing types as serial killer ‘Garland “The Marietta Mangler” Greene’ (Steve Buscemi), Black Guerrilla soldier ‘Nathan “Diamond Dog” Jones’ (Ving Rhames) and serial rapist “Johnny 23” (Danny Trejo).
Like a goodly number of the film-going public, I saw this when it came out a few decades back and recall going along with its gimmick for a while and then putting up with it for the remainder of the running time (115 minutes originally, later extended to 123). A recent re-look (“a dirty job but someone’s”…Dept.) wore me out with its nonstop cascade of wreckage, a carnage carnival of wasting—in every sense—of people, extras and buildings. Can’t go there much anymore, even when liking the actors. If we just snarked your favorite popcorn flick from the the 90s—well, you’ll live, and so will I, without ever having to watch Con Air again.
The cast—all of whom do expected solid work—didn’t especially enjoy the picture;actors do this junk for the money, not the prestige. That year Cage also hit big with Face/Off and Cusack likewise aced the excellent Grosse Pointe Blank.
It managed Oscar nominations for Song (“How Do I Live?”) and Sound. Written by Diane Warren, the tune became a huge hit for both LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. “Billboard” ranked it the most successful single of the 90s.
With Rachel Ticotin, Colm Meany, Mykelti Williamson, M.C. Gainey (as “Swamp Thing”), Nick Chinlund (“Billy Bedlam”), Dave Chappelle (“Pinball Parker”), Jesse Barrego, Renolo Santiago (“Sally Can’t Dance Martinez”), and Monica Potter.