Con Air

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Con Air Movie Poster Image
A schmaltzy action-adventure at 8,000 feet.
  • R
  • 1997
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The plane is full of antisocial and sociopathic criminals who act in accordance; one stereotypically gay inmate; a lot of disrespect for authority.


An inmate threatens then attempts to rape a female guard; several people are shot to death; an arm is severed from a body; a body is thrown from the plane.


The "n" word is used several times; crude terms for a woman's vagina are used to belittle men; general swearing.


The end is an ad for Las Vegas.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some smoking and drinking, but not by the main character.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that one character, a convicted rapist, threatens to rape a female guard and later attempts it. The film implies that a mass murderer killed a little girl (later, we find out he didn't). Characters graphically describe murders and rapes they have committed; many kill again, on screen and gruesomely.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBARDAN September 30, 2020
Adult Written byLowe's man January 27, 2017

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. I... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMeghna January 28, 2018

A good film

This movie was fine but the movie has some scences which are not for children. But the movie is good thanks to Nicolas Cage
Teen, 15 years old Written bysadhorse March 31, 2017


This film is incredible with it's action scenes. The humour is on point, just a nice nice meal for the family. Imagine going to Olive Garden and getting th... Continue reading

What's the story?

Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) goes to prison for killing a man during a light-night brawl outside the bar where his pregnant wife works. When Poe gets paroled seven years later, his plane is hijacked by criminally insane mastermind Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich) and black separatist Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames). It's up to Poe to save the day.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why movies like Con Air make murder seem so easy. Why don't any of the characters seem affected by the murders they've just committed? Families may also want to discuss why the film depicts the felons as dangerous but also loveable. Families may also want to discuss Poe's heroics. Do women need to be saved? How do men in your family show they love women? Did Poe defend his wife's honor by fighting those men, or was he really defending his masculinity?

Movie details

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