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4.2 out of 5 stars
Con Air
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84 of 98 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 18, 2006
Format: DVD
MOVIE: Con Air, an incredibly loud and in your face action movie that does what it sets out to do. Recently Disney has released a bunch of Jerry Bruckheimer produced "unrated" DVD's. Con Air was re-released with Crimson Tide and Enemy Of The State. This so called "unrated" edition is nothing but a marketing ploy, but we did need new editions of these Bruckheimer action extravaganzas. Con Air, directed by Simon West, is a flick about a man who is sent to prison after accidentally killing a man during a bar brawl. The opening scene and credits are set to a montage of Cage writing letters to his daughter that was born while he was in prison, and she writes back. So basically it's a narrated reading of the letters back and forth. Okay, we got the character development out of the way in about five minutes, now time for the action. Cameron Poe (Cage) is put on a plane to be sent back home, but he is transported with other hardened criminals. Cyrus The Virus (John Malkovich) has other plans though, and he stages a takeover of the plane. Let the mindless but fun action ensue. Nicolas Cage sports a bad southern accent, long hair, and pumped up biceps and is our protagonist. The movie has some bad dialogue and some cliched scenes, but it never takes itself seriously. We also get Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin's full blown action score. Mancina and Rabin are members of Hans Zimmer's studio at Media Ventures, and Bruckheimer almost exclusively uses Zimmer or one of the composers that collaborate with him. The score is all electronic based, but it suits the movie well. As for the "unrated" material, there is basically nothing. The original running time was 115 minutes, so that makes 7 minutes of added footage. There really isn't anything more in terms of violence and action, just some awkward dialogue scenes that didn't really fit. So, yes, in a way the added footage hinders the movie if that's possible.

ACTING: The movie also has a topnotch cast. Nicolas Cage, who is a favorite when it comes to Jerry Bruckheimer, is great as Cameron Poe the simple southern boy. John Malkovich steals the show as the movie's antagonist. He plays a serial killer yet adds class to the character. John Cusack plays the good cop who is back on the ground trying to handle the situation and believes that Poe is a good guy. So, you see the characters are pretty much cardboard cutouts, but they work. We have some great support from Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, and good ol' Dave Chappelle.

VIDEO: The original release came with a non-anamorphic transfer, which is why this release is appreciated. This release comes with an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. The picture is sharp, no signs of any major flaws.

AUDIO:The sound mix isn't the best, it's pretty much the same thing from the old disc, a basic 5.1 Dolby Digital track. It's not as spread out as I'd like it to be, but it's okay.

SPECIAL FEATURES: None. When you have no special features, that's a sign that this DVD's only purpose is to sucker in losers like myself into buying them. Oh well, I enjoyed it and don't mind double dipping for a better transfer.

BOTTOM LINE: They should have just thrown in a featurette or something to at least show some effort was put into it. I feel a little cheated that there is absolutely nothing on this set, especially since the added footage is pretty much crud. For those who don't own it, get this edition. However, if you do own it then don't double dip unless you really liked the movie or if you have a widescreen set that would benefit from the anamorphic transfer. Con Air is your typical mid 90's Bruckheimer actionfest. Nothing here to intrigue your mind, just entertain it.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Pound for pound, for pure fun, this is one of the greatest movies ever. Please note that I said for pure fun. I'm not comparing this movie to "Ben Hur," "I, Cladius," "Shakespeare In Love," or any other movie that has a great deal of scope & breadth. Again, I'm only talking about movies that are for unfettered entertainment's sake.
"Con Air" is a movie that doesn't take itself seriously, and you shouldn't, either. This is a Bruckenheimer movie that is heavy on action and comedy, and light on plot & character development. Yes, most of the movie is absurd, but it is also absurd in a fun way.
The cast is absolutely impeccable, featuring Nicholas Cage, John Malchovich, Steve Buscemi and John Cusack. We even get Colm Meaney as an irate Irish DEA agent - a wonderful touch! The direction is superb, and Trevor Rabin delivers yet another riveting score.
This is a can't miss for anyone who wants to sit back & watch an hour & a half of hilarious mayhem. This is what I would call a guy movie - squared!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Con Air is a good action film and several things keep it alive. One is acting. John Malkovich is good as Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom, who claims he's killed more people than cancer. John Cusack is in good form as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin, who owns the plane the criminals take over, named "the Jailbird". Nicolas Cage delivers one of his best performances as Cameron Poe, a decorated military hero who is catching a ride home after being in prison for 8 years for defending his wife in a bar fight. Other good performances were by Steve Buscemi as serial killer Garland Greene and Ving Rhames (Mission:Impossible) as Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones. The musical score was very good. There are a few plotholes but hey, there aren't too many movies that don't have a few plotholes here and there. Another good thing is action. Most of the action on board the plane is hand-to-hand combat. Probably the best action scene in the movie is where the criminals stop to get a new plane. U.S. troops attack them in a long and great gunfight. The other action sequence is when Cusack and Cage chase Cyrus on motorcycles through a tunnel in Las Vegas. It is very humorous when the plane is crashing and Garland Greene is singing "He's got the whole world in His hands". At the Academy Awards Con Air was nominated for two things:Best Sound and Best Original Song. It did not win either. Though Con Air may be a level below Crimson Tide, The Rock, and Air Force One, it's still a great action film
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
It was Summer 1997, I was fresh out of high school, it was a glorious morning in early June when Con Air rocked my world. I was thrilled in so many ways, not the least of which was the thumping score by Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin.

A week later the score CD was mine and loved it until I came to realize the horrible cheapness of the package, the pathetic arrangement and the slight running time (not even reaching 45 minutes).

The main Con Air theme is one of my favorite action themes ever and is the perfect anthem for Cameron Poe, the hero played by Nicolas Cage. It's very heroic and determined. As for the bad guy music, well lemme just say that whenever it kicks in you know Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom is on screen.

Mark Mancina was originally brought on board to score the movie on his own, but 20th Century Fox cut the post-production schedule for Speed 2: Cruise Control in half, which meant that Mancina had to abandon his work on Con Air and quickly begin work on Speed 2 (which came out a single week after Con Air in June 1997), It was exactly this kind of ludicrous scheduling that caused Mancina to quit movie-scoring. But Trevor Rabin came to the rescue for the Con Air scoring duties, and the style and themes of the movie are split evenly between them.

The music on here on this CD ranges from occasional noise to all out action with several awesome themes. The first track opens with the aforementioned grinding, metallic noise. Several tracks contain some wonderful guitar riffs that bring to mind the blue skies, burning sand and white hot steel featured in the movie. Tracks 13 and 16 are also perfect examples of the action/chase music Media Ventures did so well. It's rousing stuff indeed. High class it certainly is not but this CD is toe-tappin', air-punching, heroic fun. But it could have, SHOULD have been presented a LOT better.

As usual with score CDs of the era, it is totally out of chronological order. For those of you who wish to arrange the tracks in the correct order for your MP3 player or I-Tunes then THIS is the correct sequence:

1. The Discharge (01:09)
2. Overture (Main Title) (04:18)
3. Jailbirds (00:59)
4. The Takeover (03:52)
5. Carson City (03:04)
6. Lerner Landing (03:28)
7. Cons Check Out Lerner (01:55)
8. Tricia (01:04)
9. Poe Saves Guards (02:25) - incorrectly labelled as 'Poe Saves Cops'
10. The Fight (00:22)
11. Poe Meets Larkin (01:14)
12. Lear Crash (04:44)
13. Battle In The Boneyard (alternate version) (07:41)
14. Bedlam Larkin (00:49)
15. Romantic Chaos (01:22)
16. Fire Truck Chase (04:22)
17. Con Air Theme (01:31) (Bonus Track, combination of two separate tracks
18. How Do I Live (04:03) (Song by Trisha Yearwood not on the CD, but can be placed here for completists)

A respectable label like La La Land Records ought to seek out the rights to Con Air and release a decent Limited Edition with better sound and better arrangement to make up for this cheap, flimsy 1997 CD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Very good music! If you hear this music you will remember many movie scenes. Much power in this music. You feel the speed of the action in "Con Air". The only two things to object to: 1. only a few change in the music, nearly all tracks sounds like the same, 2. I missed "Sweet Home Alabama" on the CD, that would have given a greater feeling of remembering the movie!!! That's why I rate 4 stars for the soundtrack, nothing is really perfect, (except me?! just kidding...)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 2, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I do have this film on Standard Def but this will not necessarily be a side by side comparison. Never the less, I have seen the film often enough to recall the SD quality. Enough has been said about the plot, acting, cast and other summaries so I will simply focus on the quality of the actual transfer to Blu Ray.

VIDEO...
This is definitely an older, albeit no less exciting, popcorn movie but doesn't really look like one. The film has legs, and even more important, the quality of the transfer from Standard Def to Blu Ray leaves little to be desired. Despite the relatively low Mbps rate which averaged in the low 20's, there is no appreciable grain to crawl and annoy you. The contrast throughout the film really was excellent and it brought along with it natural and true to life skin tones. Color grading throughout the film tended to be on the soft side as there appeared to be no artificial popping of colors. At no time did I see any artifacts or aliasing in the film and no stair stepping either in the wide angle shots. The video resolution rates a full 5 stars.

AUDIO...
Using an uncompressed Dolby PCM 5.1 codec, as this film does, will always produce a more transparent audio field. While your LFE channel gets and excellent workout with realistic bass tones, your surrounds are not left out either. There is plenty of front to rear, rear to front panning which places you in the middle of the action. However, despite the directional use of the front and rear audio stages, the actual audio mix could have been improved as it frequently sounded to my ears as a mash up of all the audio channels rather than discreet one surround foley fx from speaker panning to speaker. Unfortunately, audio often gets the short stick in the editing suite and the same issue was there for the Standard Definition version. That said, it is still an improvement over the previous lossy audio found on the SD DVDs.

Extras..
The same extras that were included on the SD DVD as well as a couple more that were just ok. Far too many previews of other films make you pay for advertisements rather than donating that disc space to an improved video transfer with a higher Mbps rate and thus even greater video and audio improvement. Great cast in this film.

All my reviews focus on the quality of the Blu Ray transfer and I do hope this review has been of some help to you in deciding your purchase.
Thanks for reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2001
Format: DVD
Well, Con Air is an action film. There's no escaping that. And when the name Jerry Bruckheimer pops up in the opening credits, we know it's going to be a big action film in every sense of the word.
Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is a retired US Ranger who, the day of his return, gets involved in a drunken brawl protecting his wife from some local thugs, accidentaly killing one of them during the scuffle. It's not long before he's convicted and sent to prison for his crime.
Determined not to screw up again, Poe spends the next five years or so growing his hair and doing push-ups, from what we see in the opening shots. Eventually he gets paroled and he and his friend, Baby-O are brought on board The Jailbird - a lumbering troop transport designed to fly prisoners around the country.
But they are not alone on this aircraft. Onboard are an assortment of master criminals and general nutters from all over the country. There's super-clever Cyrus the Virus (a shaven-headed John Malkovich), black militant Diamond Dog (big bloke Ving Rhames), serial rapist Johnny 23 (greasy Danny Trejo) and creepy mass murderer Garland Green (Steve Buscemi).
Needless to say, it's not long before the cons break out and take control of the aircraft. With Baby-O dying from lack of insulin, Poe is forced to remain on the aircraft and try somehow to get things under control. On the ground, Federal Marshall Vince Larkin (John Cusack) does his best to calm things down and work out just how the hell to stop the whole thing turning into a bloodbath.
The plot isn't anything spectacular, but at least it's better than the likes of Armageddon. The first two-thirds of the film are relatively slow, with Poe skulking around the aircraft and generally doing his best to help the good guys without getting himself killed.
It's only in the last half-hour that the film succumbs to the inevitable Bruckheimer influence and disintegrates into an orgy of guns, explosions and even a bit of fist-fighting. Still, the action sequences are solidly staged and competently shot, particularly the battle in the deserted airfield.
The only real problem is that the film just doesn't know when to stop. After crashing an aircraft into the heart of Las Vegas, we're then treated to a fire truck chase through casino's, tunnels and even construction sites, resulting in a totally over-the-top death for the villain. The film reaches a high with the airplane crash, but it keeps going for more and by the time Cyrus is finally disposed of, it comes as an anti-climax.
The performances are good rather than great. Malkovich, since his performance in The Line Of Fire, has become the new Alan Rickman - a thinking mans bad guy. He's always ready with a sarcastic remark or witty postulation and he certainly looks nasty enough, but he doesn't really have the presence to carry off the role.
Cage turns in a solid performance as all round good-guy Cameron Poe, but after the likes of The Rock and Face/Off, this film certainly doesn't push his limits as he mumbles his way through his simple-Simon dialogue. Still, he seems to have put in some hard time at the gym for this movie, and wastes little time on showing off his new physique.
The rest of the actors are there mostly as cannon fodder or comic relief. John Cusack does what he can in what is really quite a limited role, while Steve Buscemi turns in one of his patented 'Creepy little guy' performances, still managing to raise a few laughs with his occasionally insightful remarks.
The soundtrack for Con Air is top class, perfectly summing up the mood of the film. There's a lot of heavy bass whenever one of the villains strolls up (usually in slow motion) and plenty of electric guitar during the fight sequences. The dialogue is rather intermediate, mostly witty and entertaining, but occasionally flat and dull. At least most of the puns are good. Upon seeing a sports car hanging in the air behind their plane, Poe remarks simply, "On any other day, that might seem strange."
All in all, a good movie with some interesting and stylish touches. Above average, but not a classic.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2006
Format: DVD
Nothing. Not even a trailer. What a wasted opportunity for a commentary by West (who does do them -- he did one for When A Stranger Calls) or a retrospective featurette.

All you do get with this extended version is additional dialogue between Cusack's character and a female law enforcement officer in a hanger, footage of a prison riot during the opening credits montage and a few more graphic shots of hapless inmates being killed during the course of the movie.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Most people don't consider this movie to be an action-comedy, but is. This is definetly John Malkovich's funniest movie. It is about a plane transporting deadly convicts across the country, until it is taken over by the convicts. The convicts include, Cyrus "the virus" Grissom (Malkovich), a deadly killing machine who's violated every law in the book. A black-supremeist leader "Diamond Dog" (Ving Rhames), and a quiet, psychotic killer, Garland Greene (Buschimi) who's creepy in his own little way. Cyrus's plans are fouled by a parolee, Cameron Poe (Nicholas Cage), an ex-army ranger charged with manslaughter returing home to see his family. This movie is packed with action, plenty of laughs, and great actors give this movie two thumbs up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2006
Format: DVD
I don't see see what was so wrong with this movie. I heard a lot of people complaining about it but I really liked it. You got give these guys their due. Here, in this movie, you've got a good cast, cool dialogue, and a non-stop action thrill ride.

Cameroen Poe is just being released from prison, boarding a flight filled with the world's meanest, baddest bad guys, two of which are top priority: Siris the virus and diamond dog. John malkovich does a great villian. He always does. But now, after the flight gets overtaken, Cameroen Poe is forced to save the day once again. It's hard not to find this movie funny or entertaining. Enjoy!
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