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movie and film reviews

Volume 15/Issue 13

Real to Real
by Chuc LaVenture

Con Air

This week my choices for movies, I thought, were minimal. I recieved a special press ticket to see My Best Friend's Wedding, but I've discovered that these tickets are the same tickets that the production companies send out to radio stations for their promotions. This is not my ideal for viewing a movie that I'm going to have to say something about, intelligent or otherwise. While I'm on the subject, I would like to point out that I haven't received any feedback on these reviews. Am I that good, or that bad? Moving right along, my next option was Speed II, which was championed by my partner, husband, spouse, Kevin. Now I'm not a big fan of Action-Adventure flicks, and it seemed too little if any plot so I said, "I don't think so." My only other choice was Con Air.

The distributors of this film sent an incredible press package, but no tickets, so I footed the bill myself. More accurately Kevin footed the bill, and threw in drinks and dinner. I'm a lucky man. I was expecting the usual, boom boom, bang-em-up action adventure-something I could truly despise and write scathing things about. I hate when my expectations aren't met, but this was acceptable as disappoints go.

Con AirMonica Potter & Nicolas Cage

in Touch Stone Pictures' CON AIR

[photo: Frank Masi]

The film is actually quite good. The main characters are well defined and the plot is coherent. There is, for those of you not interested in character or plot-not to worry-plenty of boom, boom.

Nicolas Cage plays Cameron Poe, an Army Ranger, who is returning from his assignment to his much loved, and pregnant wife Tricia (Monica Potter). Nicolas Cage's character is developed rapidly from this opening scene. We learn, through dialogue, that Cameron has had some problems in the past with maintaining his composure but, having been through Ranger school, he has come to understand discipline and restraint. Cameron and Tricia are attacked on the way home from there reunion meeting, by the same men who tried Cameron's patience earlier. He kills one of them in a street fight, and so begins the tale of convicts. A rapid succession of short images of Cameron in prison rounds out his early character development. We see him reading, studying languages, working out and meditating. Cameron, after enduring eight years of forced isolation, is ready to go home. Significantly, he has been paroled on the day of his daughter's eighth birthday. The action and suspense begins here.

Cameron is getting a lift home from the U.S. Marshals on their convict transport. Along for the ride are bevy of buxom boys, and one nelly queen. The boys are Cyrus "The Virus" Crissom (John Malkovich, a mad genius who has planned this whole hijacking scheme); Diamond Dog a.k.a. Nathan Jones (Ving Rhames a rather violent but equally brilliant killer); Garland Green (Steve Buseemi, a truly fithtening serial killer); Johnny 23 (Danny Trejo, a big bad serial rapist); Billy Bedlam (Nick Chinlund, another serial killer); Francisco Cindino (Jesse Borrego, a Colombian drug dealer for whom this whole plan has been put into action); Swamp Thing (M.C. Gainey, the convict pilot); Pinball Parker (Dave Chappelle, the leg man); Baby-O (Mykelti Williamson, the diabetic ex-cellmate who gives Cameron a reason to stay on the plane); and finally, Sally Can't Dance (Renoly), our nelly queen with a gun. Rounding out the cast are John Cusack as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin, a very dedicated and professional man; Colm Meaney as Duncan Malloy, the D.E.A. agent with attitude; John Roselius as Devers, the pencil pushing administrative coordinator; and lastly, Rachel Ticotin as U.S. Marshal Guard Sally Bishop, who is the second reason Cameron can not leave the plan until the situation is resolved.

This is a classic story in many ways: the journey home and the perils one is forced to face by the gods in order to render one worthy of the prize sought. Cameron goes through some serious perils, from a fight with the seriously deranged Billy Bedlam, to crash landing on the Las Vegas Strip. But he also has a moral crisis on his hands, because he wants more than anything to return to his wde, but his friend Baby-O is perilously close to death from diabetic complications, and Guard Bishop is perilously close to losing more than her innocence to serial rapist Johnny 23. The moral imperatives are obvious, but this is an action/thriller so the means to the end make for wonderfully exciting resolutions. All in all, this is really a must see movie.

Con Air

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