There’s no Con Air 2. There should be, but there’s not. There’s not even a prequel (which there also should be). But we’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about how there’s no Con Air 2, even though there absolutely should be.
Here’s the plot for the original, which came out in 1997:
The movie starts with Cameron Poe, played by Nicolas Cage, getting honorably discharged from service as an Army Ranger. On his first visit with his wife back home, he accidentally kills a man during a fight outside of a bar. After serving eight years in prison, he ends up on a plane that is transporting a bunch of very deadly prisoners to a new supermax prison. Shortly after takeoff, the convicts take control of the plane. Poe spends the next 90 minutes of the movie covertly trying to sabotage their plans, then the last 20 minutes of the movie overtly trying to do so. That’s it. That’s the movie.
There’s a scene in Con Air where Poe writes a note to a law enforcement officer on a dead body and then shoves the dead body out of the plane, which is the second most aggressive kind of text message to send someone. (A dick pic is first.) The body lands on the car of a man who is complaining about a bird having just pooped on his windshield. That’s the kind of nuance the movie trades in.
There’s a scene after that where Poe has a gun standoff against U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin, played by John Cusack, the person to whom he wrote the note on the body. Larkin asks Poe to trust him. Poe responds, “Sorry, boss, but there’s only two men I trust. One of them’s me, the other’s not you,” and then there’s a scene later where the two are standing near each other again after they’ve defeated all the bad guys together and Poe says, “Just so’s ya know, Marshal Larkin, there’s now three people I trust.” Then they shake hands. That’s the other kind of nuance the movie trades in.
Con Air is a lovely movie. A perfect movie, maybe. There should be a Con Air 2. So let’s make one.
Here’s Con Air 2 (and then Con Air 3, Con Air 4, Con Air 5, Con Air 6, Con Air 7, and Con Air 8, too):
Con Air 2 takes place in 2005, eight years after the plane crash in Con Air. It features the same cast as the original, and they’re all playing the same characters, even the ones who died. Cyrus Grissom, Diamond Dog, Johnny-23, Billy Bedlam, Swamp Thing, and so on — they’re all there. They all actually survived the thing that was supposed to have killed them, even Pinball, who was crushed by the plane’s landing gear and then dropped 15,000 feet to earth.
They do this thing in Con Air where, as the prisoners are getting moved from the prison bus to the prison plane, Larkin narrates some of their crimes and existences. Here’s the scene:
We’ll do the same thing in Con Air 2, except this time the prisoners aren’t being moved from the prison bus to the prison airplane. Because guess what, motherfuckers? There’s no plane in Con Air 2. Because it’s Con Air 2: Con Water. This time, a submarine gets hijacked. It was supposed to make its way toward Aquatica, the new supermax underwater prison. Instead, the convicts take it and head toward Atlantis, an underwater paradise city with a strict non-extradition policy.
EXT. A NAVAL BASE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN — MIDDAY
A prison bus pulls up to the dock. Prisoners are exiting one by one, loaded into a prison submarine. The camera cuts away to the inside of a nearby van. Inside, we find VINCE LARKIN. He is talking to a few others in the van as they watch a live feed of the unloading. He’s explaining who each prisoner is and what each prisoner has done.
CYRUS “THE VIRUS” GRISSOM exits the bus.
LARKIN: This one’s done it all. Kidnapping, robbery, murder, extortion. His name is Cyrus Grissom, a.k.a. Cyrus “The Virus”; 47 years old, 33 of them spent in our institutions. But he’s bettered himself inside. Earned two degrees, including his Juris Doctor. He also killed 11 fellow inmates, incited three riots, and escaped three times, the most famous of which was when he orchestrated the overtaking of a prison plane in 1997, which we all remember because we were all there and I was saying all the same things I’m saying now.
UNNAMED GUARD (grimly): Wait … I thought he died. Didn’t a rock crusher smush his head after that plane crashed in Vegas?
UNNAMED GUARD: And he didn’t die?
UNNAMED GUARD: Jesus Christ. How? Why?
LARKIN: God didn’t want him. And the Devil was afraid he would take over.
UNNAMED GUARD (after a few seconds): Is that from an old T-shirt?
LARKIN (quickly): Yes.
CAMERON POE exits the bus.
UNNAMED GUARD: Who’s that guy?
LARKIN (unconcerned): That is Cameron Poe. A parolee hitching a ride home. He’s a nobody.
UNNAMED GUARD: Isn’t he the guy who stopped that plane from gett —
UNNAMED GUARD: Why’s he back in prison?
LARKIN: Two days after he was released in 1997 he got into a fight in a grocery store parking lot. It was with the younger brother of the guy he killed eight years earlier. He accidentally killed the younger brother, too, and he got another eight years in prison. Now he needs a ride to the underwater processing facility that will officially release him. Let’s see if we can’t get him there this time.
The only addition to the cast is a new criminal. His name is Akira Ando, and he is the head of the Yakuza, the famed Japanese crime organization. He is played by Matt Damon. Damon wears a hat like Raiden from Mortal Kombat the entire movie because “it’s the most Asian thing I could think of,” he explains during Con Air 2: Con Water’s prerelease media tour. “I’m a method actor.” Akira rarely talks in the movie, but when he does it’s with an extremely thick accent. Every time he kills someone, he looks sternly down at the dead body, bows, then says, “Thank you very much,” but in that way that they used to have Asian people talk in old movies when they were played by white men. It becomes his catchphrase. “Damon’s a front-runner for the Oscar this year,” the Oscar committee says. “His performance as Akira Ando is so authentic. And did you see that hat?! Wow. Bravo.”
The movie ends with the following scene:
EXT. A BUSY SECTION OF A GAMBLING SUBURB OF ATLANTIS — NIGHT
Thanks to the efforts of Cameron Poe, the prison submarine, which had been taken over by convicts, is no longer a threat. It’s been crashed into an underwater casino. Everything is wrecked. Millions and millions of underwater dollars in damage has been incurred. CAMERON POE and VINCE LARKIN stand outside of the underwater casino, bloodied and bruised, but not beaten. They stare at all the chaos.
LARKIN (jokingly): We gotta stop meeting like this.
Poe just stares.
LARKIN: I can’t believe this ended the same way as what happened with that plane. I mean, a casino? I didn’t even know they had casinos underwater.
POE: Me neither.
LARKIN: Never underestimate the U.S. government.
POE (turns to LARKIN): Just so’s ya know, Marshal Larkin, there’s now four people I trust.
LARKIN (confused): Four? Wait. I thought it was three? You, me, and some other person?
POE: I wasn’t talkin’ to you.
The camera pans over. We see Akira Ando, who played a critical role in helping stop the submarine getaway attempt, slowly getting up from a pile of rubble.
POE: I was talkin’ to Akira.
After a few moments, Akira finally straightens himself. He dusts off his clothes. He scans the ground. He sees his hat. He picks it up. He puts it on. Then he looks at Larkin. Then he looks at Poe. Then he looks back at Larkin.
LARKIN: That’s a huge honor, Akira. There are 7 billion people on Earth. You’re one of four that he trusts. Do you have anything to say to that?
Akira looks back at Poe. It’s quiet for a second. Then he finally speaks:
AKIRA (in that accent): Thank you very much.
Hard cut to black.
The screen reads: Con Air 2: Con Water.
The film is a massive success. Following its record-breaking opening weekend, a third film is immediately announced and shot and released. It’s called Con Air 3: Con Ground, and this time it takes place on a train. All of the same characters are back again despite several of them having died again in Con Air 2: Con Water. (Poe gets sent back to prison again because he gets into yet another fight with yet another guy in yet another parking lot. He accidentally kills him, too. Turns out, it was the younger brother of the younger brother of the guy killed in Con Air 2: Con Water. There’s a scene in Con Air 3: Con Ground where we see a mom crying at a table all by herself. “Why does Cameron Poe keep accidentally killing my sons in parking lots?” she cries out to no one, because they’re all dead, because Cameron Poe has killed them all.) The new character introduced this time is Joaquin Guevara, a hitman for the Mexican cartel. He’s also played by Matt Damon, who does double duty as both him and Akira Ando. “The greatest Hispanic actor I have ever seen,” says the Oscar committee.
“What’s next?” a reporter asks Cage during a CA3:CG press junket. “I don’t know,” he says. “We’ve already conquered air, land, and water.”
“Maybe space,” he adds jokingly.
Con Air 4: Con Space is announced the next day. (It’s on a space shuttle. Matt Damon plays a Cambodian guy.) Then Con Air 5: Conderground. (It’s on the subway. Matt Damon plays a Puerto Rican woman.) Then Con Air 6: Con Travel. (It’s on a time machine. Matt Damon plays an 1800s slave. He finally wins his Best Actor Oscar.) Then Con Air 7: Con Elevator. (It’s on an elevator. Matt Damon plays Quoc Ando, Akira Ando’s twin brother.) Then Con Air 8: Conternet. (It’s on the internet. Matt Damon plays an ethernet cord.)
That’s Con Air 2 mapped out and also the whole Con Air movie franchise mapped out, too. The Fast and the Furious franchise got eight movies. So should Con Air. Congratulations to Oscar winner Matt Damon.