When Con Air recently came out on DVD-Video, the RabidBunnies insisted on seeing it. According to a rumor, a plush bunny was among the movie's cast -- reason enough for the RabidBunnies to check the film out.
Imagine the RabidBunnies' surprise and approval on finding out the whole movie revolves around this Bunny. In their opinion, the Bunny should have received top billing, not Nicolas Cage (even though he does aid the Bunny in its quest).
Plot Summary and Review:
Con Air stars a Pink Plush Bunny. Its top-secret government mission: to become the birthday present of a Small Blond Girl. For convoluted reasons, its heroic journey begins in a high-security prison ward. The Bunny's guardian (Nicolas Cage) places the Bunny inside a high security cardboard box which is placed inside the cargo hold of a prison transport airplane. [illustrated version]
Led by the Founder of the John Malkovich School of Overacting himself, a bunch of crazed prisoners hijack the plane. A bearded hoodlum (Nick Chinlund) finds the Bunny in the cargo hold and brutally manhandles our hero. Nicolas Cage comes to the rescue: "Put the Bunny back in the box", he commands. During the ensuing fight fight ensues the Bunny suffers a heavy concussion; the would-be Bunny Rapist dies. [illustrated version]
Once again, Cage leaves the Bunny, who remains nameless throughout the movie (reminding the audience of Clint Eastwood's better efforts), in the bowels of the airplane. Some unimportant action scenes occur. Then, Ving Rhames sniffs out the Bunny's hide-out and discovers the Rabbit's secret mission. He hauls the mission papers and the Bunny, which is still groggy from the previous assault, to John Malkovich.
Triumphantly, Malkovich reads out the top secret mission description to the other convicts. When Nicolas Cage tries to step in, Malkovich places a gun against the Bunny's skull: "Don't move or the Bunny gets it." The Bunny tries to talk sense into its attacker when military helicopters appear, following a plot device. They are obviously on a mission to save the Bunny, but nonetheless shoot the airplane down. [illustrated version]
The Bunny almost escapes John Malkovich's clutches when the plane crashes into the middle of Las Vegas. By now, Malkovich knows the true value of the Bunny. He flees the crash scene in a fire truck, taking the Bunny with him.
Cage (the Bunny Guardian) goes after the evil Rabbitnapper on a motorcycle, followed by a clueless John Cusack. Inside the fire truck, the Bunny eliminates the driver, off-camera because it's a Disney movie. On the back of the vehicle, Nicolas Cage dispatches John Malkovich. The truck catches fire, crashes into an armored car and explodes. The Bunny is knocked out by the explosion and washed away by a torrent of water from the fire engine. Dramatically, our unconscious Hero drifts into the darkness of a black gully. [illustrated version]
For an instant, the audience fears the worst. In the Nic of time, Cage heroically pulls the Bunny out of the gully. Cage and the Bunny lock eyes in silent appreciation of each other's efforts (a truly moving scene). While manfully embracing the Bunny with his left arm, Cage shakes hands with Cusack, whose efforts didn't amount to much at all.
Interesting, but true: A few seconds in Nicolas Cage's armpit are enough to completely dry a sopping wet Bunny. Cage goes on to deliver the dried Bunny to its destination, the Little Girl. After all these exertions, the Bunny clearly doesn't feel too well: One ear's almost ripped off. Still, the Bunny has completed its mission and the Girl hesitantly accepts its new Master. Nicolas Cage, the Little Girl (Landry Allbright) and a Dumb Blonde (Monica Potter) give the Bunny a group hug. [illustrated version]
So, how did the movie rate?
John Malkovich, John Cusack and Colm Meaney turn in sub-par performances, riddled with clichés. Ving Rhames and Nick Chinlund disappoint as well: at no point do they rise above the sub-par script.
Nicolas Cage earns points for helping the Bunny out thrice and for the touching scenes at the end. (Unfortunately, a minor subplot of Cage wanting to go to Vegas himself to either marry Sarah Jessica Parker or perish in the arms of Elisabeth Shue fails to fully develop.)
Steve Buscemi leaves a lasting impression by staying almost completely out of the plot's way -- a wise decision. At no point does he threaten the bunny, a fact the RabidBunnies appreciated as well.
Summing up, Con Air is one commendable effort to increase the number of motion pictures featuring plush animals in starring roles. However, an unique chance has been squandered: The plot disappoints, the actors seem to phone their parts in (John Cusack and Colm Meaney do this literally, at several points). The explosions don't manage to distract the audience from the sad fact that the Bunny's character is never developed.
In closing, the RabidBunnies would like to invite Mr. Cage for their next trip to the washing machine -- they could sure use his amazing powers of quick-drying. The Sheep and Critters would like to know whether this effect is limited to bunnies.
About the reviewers:
They are opinionated and potty-trained. Once a year, all of them have to take a spin in the washing machine to get rid of the dust which gathers in their fur. They have seen and taken sides on Men In Black, positively love the Wallace & Gromit films, especially the third one and will one day, hopefully, be invited to the Ebert show.
(All images on this and the following pages are from the Jerry Bruckheimer production Con Air, © 1997 by Touchstone Pictures. Used for satirical purposes only; no copyright infringement is intended. The images were scaled down, some were even cropped a bit, but otherwise remain unaltered.) Text & Image Editing © by MOATMAI.