Anna S. (eliade) wrote,
Anna S.
eliade

a review after midnight. Con Air.

Define "over the top" in two words, as a synonym for "pure Hollywood": Con Air.

There is no way to detail the entire, staggering cliché-fest of beauty that is this movie. I'll just give you the last ten minutes, okay? Remember: the last *ten* minutes only. Okay.

All you need to know is that prisoners have taken over a prison transport plane and that Cameron Poe is our muscled, bloody, semi-lucid, ex-Ranger hero, a parolee caught up in the chaos as he was on his way home to his family. After almost two hours of mayhem, he is forcing a guy to crash-land the very large plane in Las Vegas. On the strip. In traffic. Which is what it does, casually mowing down cars and people and entire casinos in a glory of fire and terror. As it shudders in pain like a wounded elephant, its hull cracked open, everyone climbs out and wanders around, police and emergency services pulling up in swarms to reapprehend the prisoners etc etc. And then just as Poe (Nic Cage) is about to wind down his epic journey he sees his nemesis, Cyrus Grissom, getting away with his cronies Swamp Thing and Diamond Dog (I am not making that up) on a firetruck. So Poe jumps on a police motorcycle--at the exact same moment that John Cusack's U.S. Marshal Larkin jumps on another--to give chase. Side by side they gun their engines and race after the firetruck. They follow it into a tunnel and keep tight on its tail as it weaves through traffic. Shots are fired. And then Poe revs up to the back of the fire engine and jumps and *grabs* onto the ladder while his cycle explodes, taking out Diamond Dog. To help him out, Larkin pulls up alongside the truck and jumps on to the *running board* (please try to picture Geek!Action!Hero! John Cusack doing this in his battered linen suit and floppy hair). At the rear, Cyrus begins stabbing at Poe while he dangles, first by one hand, then the other (he has a gunshot wound in one arm, by the way), until Poe grabs the spear and breaks it into two and shoves it *entirely through Cyrus's ankle*, pinning him place long enough for him to pull himself onto the truck. Cyrus of course pulls the spear out and lunges up for the classic fistfight-on-firetruck scene, while Larkin takes an axe and hacks his way into the cab to tell Swamp Thing to pull over. There are fisticuffs and banter as we cut back and forth, and then Larkin turns on the firehose and shoots water into the cab (don't they need to get that from a hydrant? ohnevermind), and the whole rolling carnival begins to derail. Meanwhile Poe has tied Cyrus to the ladder, which he's raised, so that when they reenter the strip, the sneering bad guy--John Malkovich, by the way--is smashed like the rock in a slingshot across a skyway and out the other side, where he lands somewhere in debris. The firetruck ends its journey not by grinding to a meek halt but by smashing into an *armored car* filled with money, which blows open, as armored cars do. In Las Vegas. On the strip. Cue flying money, gushing water, fireworks from exploding neon signs. As Cyrus lies broken but alive he's smashed in the face by some kind of piledriver. The end. Of Cyrus. But we're not done yet. Oh, please. Let's cut to the bunny--the bunny? Yes! This is the stuffed bunny that Poe's been trying to bring home to his little daughter--the daughter he's never seen, ever, as he's been in jail for eight years for a manly and completely understandable mistake of manslaughter, sentenced unfairly because of an incompetent lawyer, of course--because, back to the bunny now, it's his wee daughter's birthday! And coincidentally his parole date. So we see the bunny swirling away in the gushing water, in the gutter, toward the drain, and it actually *plunges* *down* inside, except that, score! There is Poe's grimy hand! Yanking the bunny back from a watery grave! The bunny he has sworn and *killed* to protect! (Oh no. Noooo no no. I am not making that up. He has killed. For the bunny.) Then there is that moment we've all been waiting for, the manly moment of bonding between ex-con and lawman, Poe and Larkin, wherein Poe pledges his undying love trust, in his thick Southern-honey drawl (which has to be heard to be believed, and even then can't be believed) over a firm handshake. And then Poe stands there lost, looking around, only to spot...his wife! His blonde china-doll wife, who he calls "Hummingbird"! In her girlish dress and tidy white sweater, holding the hand of his beautiful blonde daughter, oh god, will someone please give me a Kleenex! *waiiiiiillllllll* He goes to them, a proud but humble ex-con, nervous as he greets his daughter for the first time, because he'd never allowed her to see him in prison, a terrible place for kids--though I should note that he does first give a hello to his unfucking*believably* patient wife (she and her Southern accent have waited eight years for him, chaste and true). Then he gives his daughter the bunny. And they all hug, one big reunionized family. And they cry. And I cry, just a little. (I wish I were making that up.) And then there's some banter back with the Cusack, and another round of "Sweet Home Alabama" to close out the movie, which ends with the audience celebrating the freedom of the most notorious but fictional serial killer ever to walk this land, Steve Buscemi--sorry, I mean, Garland Greene. A truly beautiful ending.

I laughed. I cried. I laughed so hard I almost snorted a peanut out my nose.

God bless America, Hollywood, and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Why am I still up?
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