FILM OF THE WEEK: Stand back - this guy's packing irony
Con Air Today, 9pm FIVE
Sunday 06 February 2005
Con Air is, I would respectively submit (and with due nods to the Die Hard series) the best action film around. It takes the slightest of storylines - a plane-full of maximum-risk convicts plan an escape and are chased by the authorities - and pushes the genre stereotypes beyond their limits, as much playing with the form as it is conforming to its requirements. The first film made by high-concept king Jerry Bruckheimer after the death of his production partner Don Simpson, it has a humour lacking in the duo's previous outings that is born out of knowing exactly what it is and what it isn't. And it's helped along by a cast of fine actors - John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and Ving Rhames - camping up their psycho personas to the nines, plus nice, cuddly John Cusack as a prison service agent packing a piece and rolling with the punches.
Where the story happens and how it came to be are of little consequence - this is an exercise in rhythm and one-liners. In the fastest-cutting sequences - a shoot-out at a desert airfield and in the film's Las Vegas denouement - I lost count of the edits and lost track of where the explosions, gunfire and screams were coming from. Director Simon West is Bruckheimer's creature, less auteur than animateur, and scriptwriter Scott Rosenberg has his tongue so firmly planted in his cheek that it's nearly sticking out of the opposite ear. "They're talking to Denzel for the movie," says someone of Rhames's murderous Diamond Dog, who has written prize-winning novels in jail. "Love your work," says Malkovich to Buscemi mid-flight.
And where else could you get to see a diminutive, Hispanic, transvestite psycho-killer sashaying her ass aboard the wreck of a flying prison to the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"? As Steve Buscemi so neatly puts it: "Define irony... A bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash."
So don't say it's not art just because its artfulness is to the fore. And don't say that it's less worthy just because it doesn't pay dues to the "feminine" side of our natures - I have a list as long as my arm of women who love this movie for its sheer relentless invention and wit. Remember, it's not meant to be real. It's a film.
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...