Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1997. Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Kouf/Bigelow Productions, Runway Pictures, Hiett Designs of Las Vegas. Screenplay by Scott Rosenberg. Cinematography by David Tattersall. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Music by Mark Mancina, Trevor Rabin. Production Design by Chas. Butcher, Edward T. McAvoy, Seven L. Nielsen. Costume Design by Bobbie Read. Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon, Steve Mirkovich, Glen Scantlebury. Academy Awards 1997.
Nicolas Cage returns home to his pregnant wife (Monica Potter) after serving in a high-ranking military outfit, only to be caught defending her from bar thugs and thrown in jail for murder. Years later his term has been served and he is on his way home to his family (which now includes a grown-up daughter) on a cargo plane full of mass murderers and serial killers. When the bad guys take the plane hostage, Cage has to somehow save the day without letting the psychopaths know that he isn’t really on their side. Cage gives what is probably his worst performance ever, with a hangdog Elvis accent and bad hair that make the term “Academy Award Winner” completely meaningless in his case. The film itself is a lot of brainless diversion, however, not as boring as Armageddon or The Rock but the kind of fun that doesn’t try too hard. The highlights reside mainly in the supporting characters who all shine, especially John Malkovich as the psychotic leader of the escaped convicts, and Steve Buscemi as the quietly disarming child killer. Potter and her subplot are insultingly manipulative, as if producers constantly feel the need to show a woman crying on the home front in order for guys to justify bringing their girlfriends to these kinds of movies. And why is it that Jerry Bruckheimer movies always have some stupid dope picking up his lady in his arms and swinging her around to the sound of a Diane Warren song? Don’t let it get you down, though, for despite the drawbacks it’s a pretty good time.