Con Air - BRD
(Simon West, 1997)
Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Touchstone Pictures
DVD: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Resolution: 1080p / AVC
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Supplements: mostly 480i
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48kHz/24-bit)
English DD 5.1 Surround
French DD 5.1 Surround
Spanish DD 5.1 Surround
Feature: English SDH, French & Spanish
• A View From Above
• The Destruction of Las Vegas
Standard Blu-ray case
January 8th, 2008
Con Air ~ Comment
Nicholas Cage followed his new action hero status created the previous year in The Rock with this popular menagerie that, for all its hard-hitting action, seems to me to a thinly disguised comedy, and best appreciated as such. Drama or Comedy – and I know this will strike many as heresy –the film's greatest weakness is the casting of John Malkovich. Just because he struts around like a petulant eight-year old uttering pseudo ironies doesn't make him tough or even believable. The same characterization that worked so well for In the Line of Fire couldn't compel a bunch of Boy Scouts, let alone a plane full of hardass cons. Cusack is lightweight for the part, but he's a much more interesting actor - and he knows he's doing comedy here. Cage's rockabilly accent borders on insulting. Buscemi, as the world's most dangerous serial killer, is brilliant, especially in his ersatz Frankenstein scene with the little girl. Meany is pointlessly – well, meany. The movie's subplots are all over the map and not to be taken as seriously as the director would have it. Not satisfied with using downtown Las Vegas for a landing strip, a car chase follows, heaping ending upon ending. All the same, Con Air is a good time if you can put your brain on hold for the in-flight movie.
The Score Card
The Movie : 6
Nicholas Cage plays Cameron Poe, a Ranger and basically good guy with a macho temper, returns home (why is his wife only 3 month's pregnant, I wondered?), gets into a brawl, kills a man, and does 10 years. On release, Poe is transported home by special plane, along with the country's worst convicts on their way to a new maximum security prison. Apparently the same precautions do not apply to the plane, for the bad guys, led by Malkovich, soon take over the contraption in a prearranged effort to flee the country. Poe wants to get home directly so he can reunite with his wife and daughter, but his creed of leaving no man behind gets in his way: there are innocent and endangered people still aboard.
Image : 9 (8.5-9.5/9)
The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a 10-point scale. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
This Blu-ray represents a substantial improvement in all areas, not least the dreaded edge enhancement, which the Disney SD had much too much of. There are moments of excellent sharpness that stand out oddly from the general OK-ness of the overall image.
Audio & Music : 8 & 7
The audio in the SD DVD was more compressed than I was comfortable with, which means that at high volumes, my head ached a bit. Not so in the BRD, which has a dramatic presence befitting the material.
Operations : 8
After the usual endless Disney promos and previews, a straightforward, easy to use menu comes up.
Extras : 3
Not much here, and what there is we suffer in rather poor SD.
Good adolescent fun. A very good, if not demo quality image, but weak supplements add up to a Rent Me first.
January 8th, 2007
Enter the Dragon