Now THIS is how summer movies are meant to be made—tons of explosions, creepy villains, sassy dialogue and lots of people losing parts of their bodies. Nicolas Cage stars as a convict on his way home to his wife and kid; unfortunately, he's put on a plane with John Malkovich, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi, all of whom are lifers for various crimes against humanity. They wrestle control of the aircraft, and the rest is the best escapist entertainment that $85 million can buy.
Malkovich is perfect as the brilliant antagonist, whose sense of humor is only outpaced by his violence. Ving Rhames is woefully underused as his socially conscious partner, but the real jewel here is Steve Buscemi. Serving 40 consecutive life sentences for his stint as a serial killer, his transformation throughout the movie is an unexpected kick in the ass.
John Cusack is likeable as the government assistant who helps bring the plane down, but this is Nick Cage's movie all the way. His performance—and indeed, the movie itself—pays homage to his brilliant "Raising Arizona": the beginning prison sequences, the "old-timers" dispersed throughout the plot, his Southern twang, even a pink bunny seems to take the place of Hi's Huggies. Cage has a quiet intensity that has kept him infinitely watchable from "Valley Girl" on up. Chalk "Con Air" up as another of his winners.
Return to Ian's movie reviews.