Con Air 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
What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane?
I was just wondering what a black militant - that would be you - was doin' takin' orders from a white boy on a power trip? Don't you think that's strange?
Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones:
It's a means to an end, my white friend. A means to an end. See, I's can play house n*gger till we get to where we're goin'. And then, the day of the dog begins.
Nathan Jones, A.K.A. Diamond Dog. Former general of the Black Guerillas. He blew up a meeting of the National Rifle Association saying, and I quote, "They represented the basic negativity of the white race." He wrote a book in prison, "Reflections in a Diamond's Eye". New York Times called it a wakeup call for the Black Community. They're talking to Denzel for the movie.