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“Con Air” (1997)

What do you get when you combine a plane full of convicts, explosions, mullets and the worst southern accent ever? Con-Air of course!

Nicholas Cage is Cameron Poe, a recently discharged Ranger who heads home to somewhere in the south, Alabama maybe? I don’t know, but when he gets there some rednecks interrupt his reunion dance with his wife. This is when we are introduced to the movie’s cheestastic anthem “How Do I Live?” by Leeann Rimes. Yes, I’m being serious.

Anyway, the rednecks being rednecks are fueled up on Jack Daniels and rage and jump Cameron outside the bar.Instead of just getting the hell out of their, Cameron proceeds to use the Rangers brand of whoop ass and beats the rednecks down. He somehow kills one with an open palm to the chin. Legal Minute: The rednecks pulled a knife which basically meant they were using deadly force, Cameron could fight back with deadly force and it probably would result in him getting off by pleading self defense. End Legal Minute. But what kind of movie would that be? Cameron pleads guilty because his lawyer tells him he’ll only get 4 years in prison. The judge must hate rangers or something because he gives Cameron 7 years because he’s “A lethal weapon”. Yup, so Cameron goes to jail and grows one of cinema’s greatest mullets. He makes friends with Baby-o aka Bubba from Forrest Gump. After 5 or so years Cameron is paroled, since he’s probably the nicest convict in history.  He’s making origami and eating pink cupcakes for god’s sake! So, he and Baby-o are put on the Jailbird, the prison airplane.  Why Baby-o is on the plane is not really clear since they mention that he is not getting paroled and they are heading for the worst prison in America.  Well, whatever, it adds to the “drama” as it were.

At this point, enter Agent Larkin, aka John Cusack, who is in charge of the plane and making sure it arrives safely. He must have been high or something when the passenger list was made because the most pyschotic criminals ever assembled are put on the same plane. I’m sure nothing could go wrong right? The DEA is putting an agent on the plane to trail the Cindino drug syndicate or something. I’m not sure exactly what they are trying to accomplish but, he has a gun secretly given to him by DEA agent asshole aka Colm Meaney.

While enroute, the cons execute their escape plan the mvp of which is Pinball played by Dave Chappelle. He sets fire to a guy and then pulls the levers to release the maximum security prisoners. Let’s get to know our cons shall we? We got Diamond Dog played by Ving Rhames, Billy Bedlam, Johnny 23, and Cyrus the Virus aka John Malkovich aka perhaps the scariest mother-fucker in the world. Mr. DEA agent attempts to stop the prisoners but since he’s retarded to think he’ll be able to take back the plane single handed he’s shot in the head by Cyrus. The gang heads to Carson City and take on more playmates and get rid of the pilot and some of the guards by disguising them as cons. Cameron was going to get off but he’s too good a guy so he stays to help Bubba and token lady guard. The new cons consist of cross-dressing gay con, Swamp Thing, the new pilot and Steve Busciemi in the creepiest role in movie history.

Busciemi is Garland Greene who apparently killed 131 people and is brought on the plane in hannibal lecter gear. Oh yeah, they also pick up Cindino, who is going to pay the cons for freeing him, and he and his brothers are going to transport them all out of the country. They’re going to Lerner Airfield which is out in the boonies somewhere. Cameron managed to get a message to Larkin by writing a note on Pinball’s shirt. Yeah, seems our friend Pinball was trying to score with a mechanic after hiding the plane’s transponder and tried to get on the plane through the landing gear. He didn’t quite make it inside. Larkin steals Mr. Asshole’s corvette and heads to the airfield. The con’s plane crash lands and is buried in sand. The cons start digging out and cindino runs to his brother’s jet to escape and screw the cons over. Unfortunately Cameron already stumbled on them and kicked their asses. He also meets Larkin and the two split up to “save the fucking day” according to Poe. Larkin uses a crane to stop the esaping jet by ripping the tail off and Cyrus burns Cindino alive with a cigerrette and a pool of convienent gas. Poe has to run in slow motion to escape the explosion. The mullet flows back and forth majestically, although not as good as Jean Claude Van Damme’s in Hard Target.

Larkin called in the Army and they arrive with hummers and guns a plenty. They’re trapped by Cyrus and his ingenious propane tank bombs. Larkin gets a snow plow and the army manages to push the Cons back to the plane. While all this happnes Garland has a creepy tea party with a little girl. Poe gets back to the plane after finding Bubba some insulin because it turns out he’s a diabetic. Poe also kinda killed Billy Bedlam earlier in the cargo hold and Cyrus finds Billy and the parole papers. Bubba says that he did everything and Cyrus shoots him. Poe proceeds to beat the cons asses and takes the plane back. Agent Asshole contributes by shooting the plane from his Apache helicopter and almost blowing it out of the sky. I guess he was pissed that his car got towed behind the plane and crashed into the observation tower. Anyway, Larkin convinces Colm to not fire a missile and the plane heads to Las Vegas.It’s of course low on fuel and crashes through the non existant Hard Rock on the strip and finally comes to a  stop.

It’s not over yet however, as Cyrus, Diamond and Swamp Thing steal the fire truck the plane magically parked on top of and drive off. Larkin and Poe steal some police bikes and head off in pursuit. Diamond Dawg is thrown off and Poe takes the pike that Cyrus was using and stabs him through the foot. Larkin takes a hose and floods the cockpit of the truck and the truck slams into an armored car throwing money and cliches everywhere.

Cyrus then has one of the most unecessarily extreme deaths ever. He goes through a glass connecting tunnel, breaks through some electrical wires, presumably getting electrocuted and then falls onto some sort of rock crusher/pile driver that just happens to be on the strip. His head is then crushed. Poe is reunited with his wife and daughter, who I think is scared of either her daddy’s mullet or wife beater or both. He gives her the bunny he got for her birthday. That damned bunny was basically his reason for killing Billy Bedlam, he wouldn’t “put the bunny back in the box”. Then we’re treated once again to “How Do I Live” and Poes live happily ever after. Garland meanwhile escapes and seemingly starts out a new life as a craps shooter. Compared to The Rock, Con-Air is kinda crappy. But it’s still mindless, explosive fun. Give me mullets, cons and explosions and that’s a winning formula.

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