“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I have the only gun on board. Welcome to Con Air.”
With these words, John Malkovich starts off one of the greatest campy action movies of all time. That’s right, you don’t hear ‘Con Air’ and ‘great’ mentioned in the same sentence ever. I hope to change that especially after I got served by Christy on this particular topic. Nicolas Cage (as Cameron Poe) may have headlined this flick, but that was pure poster pleasure ‘cause the real heroes were the prisoners who made up the crew and passengers. They would definitely be the right antidote to deep vein thrombosis were they to hijack the Bangalore-LA direct flight.
With US Marshall John Cusack hot on the tail of these jailbirds (the airline was also called the same, talk about perfect naming conventions), this motley bunch of crackheads, skinheads, potheads provide all the in-flight entertainment you could ever ask for. Oh, I nearly forgot, you also got the wrongly jailed felon who is to be released and looking forward to seeing his wife and daughter. Keeping the good Nicolas Cage company is the standard black dude, whose virtuousness makes you wonder why he wouldn’t make the grade for Mother Superior of Mother Theresa’s congregation. Shawshank Redemption in the skies… that’s what I say.
All hail Scott Rosenberg for writing some of the cheesiest dialogues ever that are so cheesy that they are brilliant. It’s like one of those “it’s so bad it’s good moments”. Sample these from Steve Buscemi, the serial killer who can battle rap Hannibal Lecter any day, (all dialogues courtesy wikiquotes)
“What if I told you ‘insane’ was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn’t you consider that to be insane?”
“Define ‘irony’: a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane, to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.” (that’s when Sweet Home Alabama blares on the in-flight system)
Then take Malkovich, named Cyrus ‘the Virus’ Grissom. He pulls off the best ham job ever and I swear he should have got an MTV movie award at least for this. Nic Cage roams around like a mangy dog with the same hang-dog look that he sports in every other film of his. Damn… I don’t think even plastic surgery could correct that look.
This movie does not create excuses for itself. I think it was genuinely meant to be a blockbuster action flick but instead as the movie proceeded to be made, a natural evolution towards campiness took place which spread to every other frame and department in this flick. I will watch this every time, anytime it hits the channels.
To the hammiest movie ever… you really pulled the bunny out of the hat. Cameron Poe, try getting that back.