Let me take you back to a little decade called the 90’s. Bill Clinton was in office, grunge music was on the cusp of its popularity, Mondo and Kool-Aid Bursts were the sugary drinks of choice for children, the X-Men and Batman cartoon were totally badass, and movies were the best they had ever been. Maybe I’m just getting older, but movies now are atrocious. Nearly every summer movie I have seen thus far has been a complete and utter let down. Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, they all sucked major ass. Sure there were a few gems here and there like The Hangover and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, but on the whole this has been a disappointing summer, just the previous summer and the summer before that.
On July 14th my friends and I have a tradition where we all get together and watch Con Air. Why July 14th? Because that is the day Cameron Poe (played by Nicholas Cage) is released from prison and is able to see his daughter for the first time, who was also born on July 14th. Ignoring the stupidity of our little tradition, watching that movie again reminded me how just how fucking awesome it is. This gave me the inspiration to start a series of articles on Behind the Hype called ‘They just don’t make ‘em like they used to’.
Why the hell can’t Hollywood make movies like this anymore?! Is it really that hard to film an action scene without the use of CGI or quick cuts? There is so much unadulterated destruction and chaos in this movie it gives me an orgasm. But the most important thing is that there is almost no CG in the entire film. Sure there is some here and there, like the Corvette flying through the air. But when that corvette crashes through an airplane control tower, THAT shit was real. Sure it may have been a miniature, but at least it actually happened! Every action scene was superb; the boneyard shoot out, the Las Vegas strip crash/chase, the take over of the plane, everything was pulse-pounding and brutal.
But action aside Con Air was also a movie chock full of memorable characters and quotes. Who can forget Cameron Poe’s “why couldn’t you put the bunny back in the box?” Or Baby-Os “don’t get all juicy on me son!” Or Pinballs “the last Mohican is burning man!”. Billy Bedlam, Johnny 23, Diamond Dog, Cyrus the Virus, Garland Greene, they were all great characters.
But even on top of the characters and action scenes, this movie has an extremely entertaining story. For the uninitiated, Con Air is about a military man, Cameron Poe, who goes to prison on an involuntary manslaughter charge. On the day of his release Cameron Poe is hitching a ride home on a plane full of convicts. But unfortunately the convicts manage to take over the plane and it’s up to Cameron Poe to, quote, ‘save the fucking day’. What a great story, what a great plot for a movie. There are no stupid super powers, no stupid alien robots, no stupid borg or wizards or orcs, none of that stupid fantasy bullshit. It’s real people in real situations, although it is a BIT exaggerated.
Oh, and the music! That guitar riff is totally badass! Now that’s what I call a movie soundtrack. No stupid fucking Beastie Boys or Linkin Park here.
This movie has it all, a great story, hilarious and memorable characters (especially Cyrus the Virus), a great soundtrack, and fan-fucking-tastic action sequences. It’s a good example of how they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.