Con Air

Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi

Directed by Simon West
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
June 6, 1997

It would be easy to write off this bottom feeder as a slicked-up rehash of The Dirty Dozen and let it go at that. On reflection, though, the contaminating effect of the film nags at you. Good-guy parolee Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) — he killed in self defense — is sent home after eight years. His air transport, monitored from the ground by a U.S. marshal (John Cusack), is moving hardened convicts to another prison. They're "the worst of the worst."

So's the movie. The creeps are played by such terrific actors as John Malkovich, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi. Writer Scott Rosenberg gives them flip, hip dialogue as they hijack the plane and a rapist lunges for the female guard. Malkovich's killer calls Buscemi's pederast "a national treasure — I admire your work." It's an in-joke between two pros stooping for a big payday. But since producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Simon West — he does commercials — care nothing for the connective tissue of character, the film comes off as cynical pandering, an invitation to revel in the perversity and join in. Con Air has all the signs of a hit. That's depressing.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »