Nicolas cage won the Oscar for Best Actor in March 1996 for his unforgettable portrayal of a suicidal drunk in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’But Hollywood had already noticed his possibilities as an action hero before that happened. Just over two months later, ‘La Roca’ hit theaters, a great success that triggered Cage’s career and also that of the director Michael Bay.
The paths of both never crossed again, but the actor did continue to explore that facet immediately, because in 1997 he premiered both ‘Con Air (Convicts in the air)’ and ‘Face to face’, two modern classics of the genre that ended up raising him as the new great Hollywood star. Today, taking advantage of its broadcast on Paramount Network tonight starting at 10:45 p.m., we are going to focus on the first one.
A little miracle
After a brief prologue focused on introducing Cameron Poe (Cage) so that we know both what he is capable of and why he has been imprisoned for several years, ‘Con Air (Convicts in the air)’ takes very soon to start to tell us how a transfer of prisoners is complicated and ends with it by controlling the plane that was transporting them.
From there, the film could have opted for a more or less conventional heroic approach, but the truth is that there is a playful spirit at all times that leads the film to flirt with the delusional at all times. In this way, it arises an unrepeatable cocktail in which Cage himself stands as an essential ingredient.
If in ‘The Rock’ he was a bit of an unlikely hero, he would have ended up dead on several occasions had he not had the help of Sean ConneryHere the actor emerges as a kind of superman always with good intentions, but who does not take things too seriously either. Good proof of this is everything related to the stuffed bunny that you want to give your daughter.
Cage gives the character of an unquestionable humanity but at the same time he exhibits perhaps the best physical form of his entire career so that having to deal with a multitude of prisoners willing to do almost anything does not end up being a headless nonsense.
Furthermore, the presence of John Cusack It serves so that it is not necessary to influence more than necessary in the more honorable side of Poe and that he can move like fish in the water while totally impossible situations take place. He is the mainstay of ‘Con Air (Convicts in the air)’, but watch out for his co-stars, especially among those who give life to some of the prisoners.
From the unprecedented that is everything related to Steve Buscemi, so much so that to this day it still seems to me a miracle that no one said that it had to be eliminated from the film, until a John Malkovich embroidering a lousy baddie who never fully understood due to the constant changes in the script. That does not mean that he is fantastic as the great villain of the function.
There is something also refreshing in that slightly crazy tone that flies over at all times by ‘Con Air (Convicts in the air)’. It is as if he always needed to take another step to end up almost falling into the cartoonish but without it ever happening, and even seeking to endow the whole with a commendable conviction. Perhaps that was what attracted the project to Jerry Bruckheimer, being the first film he produced after putting an end to his professional relationship with Don simpson, who would pass away even before finishing their last job together.
The icing on the cake was put by the debutante’s staging work Simon West, who had been making video clips and advertising spots for several years. It is true that there is some spectacular situation -especially in his explosive last act-, but also that at all times he shows an enviable clarity when planning action scenes and executing them. Sure that Cage’s great involvement helped to shoot most of his action scenes and that Bruckheimer would tie him short, but we are not going to detract from his work for that.
‘Con Air (Convictos en al aire)’ achieved worldwide revenues of $ 224 million versus a cost of $ 75 million. It was an unquestionable success despite being the lowest grossing of Cage’s “trilogy” of action films and from time to time there is even talk of a possible sequel in space. It no longer sounds so absurd after ‘Fast & Furious 9’, but for my part I think it doesn’t make much sense to do it anymore.