is proof that the slick, absurdly overblown action formula of Hollywood mega-producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun
, Days of Thunder
, The Rock
, Crimson Tide
) lives on, even after Simpson's druggy death. (Read Charles Fleming's exposé, High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess
, for more about that.) Nicolas Cage, sporting a disconcerting mane of hair, is a wrongly convicted prisoner on a transport plane with a bunch of infamously psychopathic criminals, including head creep Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich), black militant Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames), and serial killer Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi, making the most of his pallid, rodent-like qualities). Naturally, the convicts take over the plane; meanwhile, on the ground, a U.S. marshal (John Cusack) and a DEA agent (Colm Meaney) try to figure out what to do. As is the postmodern way, the movie displays a self-consciously ironic awareness that its story and characters are really just excuses for a high-tech cinematic thrill ride. Best idea: the filmmakers persuaded the owners of the legendary Sands Hotel in Las Vegas to let them help out with the structure's demolition by crashing their plane into it. --Jim Emerson
From The Hit-Making Producer Of The Rock And Crimson Tide Comes The Hard-Hitting Blockbuster Con Air, Starring Academy Award(R)-Winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Best Actor,1995), John Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank), And John Malkovich (In The Line Of Fire)! A Prison Parolee (Cage) -- On His Way To Freedom -- Faces Impossible Odds When The Maximum Security Transport Plane He'S On Is Skyjacked By The Most Vicious Criminals In The Country ... Led By The Infamous Murderer Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (Malkovich)! Buckle Up And Hang On Tight As Explosive High-Flying Action Soars To New Heights ... And Delivers High-Caliber Motion Picture Entertainment!