Parents' Guide to

Con Air

By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

A schmaltzy action-adventure at 8,000 feet.

Movie R 1997 115 minutes
Con Air Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 7+

This title has:

Great role models
Too much violence
age 17+

Not for young teens; older teens ok if they can read between the lines.

If all movies gave the message that women need to be saved it would be one thing. But, while many movies do give that message, many other movies don't. It appears that "Con Air" was written and produced by men who have traditional ideas of the roles of men and women. A great opportunity for discussion of how some people cling to such notions even as so many others have gone away from them. The senselessness of the violence makes this a movie for 17 and up only. On the flip side, the good guys and the bad guys are clearly defined, and the parolee has learned from his mistakes, has changed his behavior and is as loyal to his friends as Fred Flintstone.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (16):

There's no moral to the story of CON AIR, and while the acting is great (Dave Chapelle plays a particularly gregarious felon), there's nothing to sink your teeth into. But that will be fine for most teens. This is typical blockbuster fare: The good guys and bad guys are clear from the beginning. Poe is a stand-up guy loyal to his good friend Baby-O (Mykelti Williamson) and the honor of guard Sally Bishop (Rachel Ticotin). The bad guys are everywhere and seem to have no end of devious plans. There are car crashes, massive explosions, pithy one-liners ("Why couldn't you put the bunny back in the box?" Poe deadpans after impaling a convict in the cargo hold), even a dead body flying onto the roof of an unsuspecting Volvo.

Con Air delivers the goods with good-natured jokes and oddly non-threatening psychopaths (Steve Bushemi plays a creepy serial killer who psychoanalyzes his fellow convicts and has a disturbing tea party with a little girl in a trailer park). But if Con Air is a typical blockbuster, then it suffers from the typical potholes of the genre. Poe supposedly goes to jail for killing a man to defend his wife's honor, and he continues the theme by protecting and saving guard Bishop. While standing up for women is admirable, it sends the wrong message to both boys and girls who watch that women need to be saved. One could argue, rather, that Poe went to jail to defend his masculinity, not his bride --- a worthy topic for families to discuss after viewing. The film also suffers from too much blood. People are tortured and killed with zeal, and no one seems to suffer a poor conscience after the murders. Only Poe seems spooked. The film makes death seem as simple as if the characters were playing a video game -- a dangerous message to send.

Movie Details

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