Entertainment, Review

Movie Classics: Con Air

0 1158

By Jack Holmes

You can’t beat a classic Nicholas Cage movie, can you? Best worst actor or worst best actor? The 1997 action thriller Con Air has built up quite a cult following over the years from its all-star cast of “all the freaks and creeps in the universe” as Cage’s character puts it, to the over-the-top writing and storyline that lets realism take a back seat.

The head count of the convicts that take centre stage for the length of the movie is testament to just how crazy this film is even without Nicholas Cage’s usual over the top performance, this time as a Southern, borderline hillbilly ranger-turned-convict. From John Malchovich’s ringleader Cyrus, to Hannibal Lector-style serial killer Garland Greene portrayed by Steve Buschemi, Ving James as black militant Diamond Dog and Danny Trejo as serial rapist Johnny 23. They’re matched by the “good guys” on the ground in the form of a US martial (John Cusack) and mad dog DEA agent (Colm Meany), who, at times, seem just as insane as the plane full of criminals. It would be a ridiculously over-the-top cast if the movie didn’t manage to keep its storyline so fast paced that you’re rarely given time to acknowledge just how silly the whole thing is.

It fits comfortably in with the likes of action thrillers such as Top Gun, Days of Thunder and Crimson Tide, but its humour is what sets it apart and puts it on parallel with only a few other classics such as the Keanu Reeves fronted Speed from 1994 and perhaps even Will Smith’s Bad Boys movie from ’97. Critics would cite that Con Air does seem to borrow large portions of its entire closing sequence from the former thriller, with both Speed and Con Air featuring chase sequences resulting in huge amounts of destruction, but it takes little away from what is, overall, an original and well written classic. Well worth a watch.

In the same way as these 90s classics had their own iconic scenes, in typical fashion for a Cage movie, Con Airs are so over the top watching them as clips is a sure way to confuse any movie lover that hasn’t gotten around to seeing the whole thing yet. Quote “put the bunny back in the box” to someone who’s seen the movie before and you’ll get an amused nod of approval. Trying to explain it, however, just wouldn’t do the scene justice.


The film’s core appeal lies in its swift pace, one liners and elaborate, often logic defying, action sequences. It’s not a film you can take seriously, and that’s absolutely fine. Con Air manages to walk the thin line between entertainment and stupidity the likes of which hasn’t been accomplished recently bar the likes of Kingsman. Con Air boasts the same kind of comic action appeal long before it became the blockbuster attraction it has in the 21st century, and has solidified its place in film history.

Want to write up your own cinema classic review? Have your own opinion on Con Air? Let us know @Holmesblogs and @HumanityHallows

About the author / 


aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Opinion: “Our real legacy at university is the friends we make along the way”

    We all prioritise different things in life: our relationships, academic achievement, and financial success. While these can be great catalysts for short and long-term goals, making us resilient,  fixating on these goals can become overwhelming, even detrimental. Focusing on what we feel we have to achieve can make it easy to lose sight of the…

  • Reading and Leeds Festival 2024: The best bands to see this year

    Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield Overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of choice on offer at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ve trawled the lineups to bring you a cluster of acts to watch on the August bank holiday weekend. From jungle to riotous punk, there’s a bounty of brilliant bands…

  • Film Review: The Idea of You – A sappy feel-good rom-com

    Featured image: PA Media In this sappy, heart-warming rom-com, two lovers meet at Coachella as Solène (Anne Hathaway) takes her daughter to a meet and greet at the Californian music festival. Known for her iconic roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and The Princess Diaries (2001), Hathaway plays the role of a 40-year-old divorcee…

  • Travel: Tips for multi-country trips abroad while keeping your bank account happy

    Featured image: Georgia Pearson The summer break from university is approaching and conversations about travel plans can be heard across campus. But with the cost of living at a high, students and young people are looking for cheaper ways to travel this summer. Travelling to multiple countries during one trip can be a budget-friendly way…