The Rock vs Con Air: JOE definitively answers what's the better film 4 years ago

The Rock vs Con Air: JOE definitively answers what's the better film

Two great films. One winner. Agree?

Both Con Air and The Rock celebrated their anniversaries this month but we want to know what's the better film.


FYI, they're both incredible and this choice was extremely tough but here's what we came up with.

The categories are...

Cage's hair

The easiest choice that there is to make.


Cameron Poe's weave in Con Air is so majestic that it deserves its own film. Flowing, deranged and with a mind of its own, this is Cage's greatest ever cinematic look. Well, apart from that scene in The Wicker Man when he was covered in bees.

In The Rock, he's just sporting a typical GI man barnet. Short back and sides that's a little messy on top.

Convicts rule here.

Con Air 1-0 The Rock


The main villain

Again, while The Rock had an amazing cast playing those elite US soldiers, Ed Harris' General Frank Hummel didn't have the stones to actually fire the rocket at San Francisco.

Compare this with Cyrus the Virus.


Now here's a man that delivers lines like "Ohh... nothing makes me sadder than the agent lost his blader in the... aaaiirrrplane," "Make a move and the bunny gets it," and "You lost your mind? According to my last psych evaluation, yes" with unnerving aplomb.

He kills anyone that betrays him, orchestrated a prison break and managed to do all of the following: earn two degrees while in jail, murder 11 inmates, instigate 3 riots and escape lawful custody... twice.

When Malkovich goes out there, like, really out there, he's a joy to behold.

Con Air 2-0 The Rock



We've already touched on some of Cyrus' best lines but Con Air is brimming with other majestic nuggets.

"This is a situation that needs to get UN-FUCKED, RIGHT NOW!" is a personal favourite of mine along with the iconic "Why couldn't you put the bunny back in the box?"

This being said, The Rock also has some absolute whoppers like "Your "best"! Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen," and "Well, I only bring it up because, uh, it's you. You're the Rocket Man."

Mmm, we're calling this one a draw. It's too hard to separate them.

Con Air 3-1 The Rock

Supporting cast

Con Air does have some scene stealing turns from the likes of Steve Buscemi, Dave Chapelle, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, and Colm Meaney, but The Rock is a veritable who's who of wonderful character actors.

Aside from the major trio of Cage, Connery and Harris, we also get David Morse, Tony Todd, Michael Biehn, John C. McGinley, Bokeem Woodbine, John Spencer and William Forsythe.

If you ever want to rock Alcatraz to its core, this is the team to do it.

Con Air 3-2 The Rock

The soundtrack

LeAnn Rimes was the main focus of the Con Air soundtrack but there were also a few belting scores that soundtracked the action.

This being said, very few films can top The Rock in terms of sheer balls-to-the-walls, adrenaline pumping and incredibly O.T.T. drive.

Hans Zimmer is a god and this score will make you feel like you could take on an entire army with one hand that's tied behind your back.

Con Air 3-3 The Rock

Clip via - JTH82

The cheesy family backstory

Stanley Goodspeed is basically a lab rat that learns to grow a pair throughout the course of The Rock.

As Agent Paxton reminds him after Mason looked set to go rogue following the laundry room massacre "What do you have, a fuckin' water pistol?"

Stanley is just a good guy that wants to protect his fiance and the baby that she's carrying. He's nice but lacking a killer instinct.

Compare this with the rain-drenched drama that unfolded in in Con Air as Cameron protects his wife from the would-be attackers. The montage of Cameron writing letters to his daughter, Casey, at the start of the film is also a wonderful piece of character development and as for that ending....awww!

Con Air every single day of the week.

This being said, Monica Potter really didn't have an awful lot to do in that film.

Con Air 4-3 The Rock

Best action set-pieces

A tough one.

There's a giddy joy to seeing how the convicts managed to take the 'Jailbird' in Con Air as Cyrus' plans, Pinball's pyrotechnics and the DEA's ineptitude combines to create the perfect shitstorm.

Also, the battle at Lerner Airfield was really well executed that featured some class explosions.

This being said, it's not a Michael Bay film without some Bayhem and there's plenty in The Rock. What's even more impressive though is how the action sequences are varied.

We've got the nail-biting tension when the FBI agents just about manage to defuse the 'doll chemical weapon,' the horror of seeing what the VX nerve agent gas can do to someone's skin, the drama of the shootout in the laundry room as both sets of marines refuse to disobey their orders and of course, the car chase through San Francisco that ended in the line "You just fucked up your Ferrari! Wasn't mine."

The Rock wins out in this hard place. Also, when Con Air really had to deliver, it failed - more on that later.

Con Air 4-4 The Rock

What the critics said

At present, here are the ratings for both films on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic respectively.

Con Air - 55% and 52%

The Rock - 66% and 58%.

FYI, both films should have scored 100%.

Con Air 4-5 The Rock though.

To any critics that don't like these two films, we have this so say...

The ending

Mmm, controversial klaxon here but when Con Air crash lands into Las Vegas, the film loses some of its fun and pacing. Plus, the chase sequence and the subsequent death of Cyrus Grissom drags on for a bit too long.

He deserved better.

Compare this to The Rock and the cathartic conversation that Mason and Goodspeed have after the fighters nearly bomb them into the stone age. It's a really nice moment between both characters.

Also, Con Air closes with Garland Greene -  an insane serial killer, notably for the murder of close to forty individuals along the eastern coast of the United States - roaming free around a Las Vegas casino. Yeah, that leaves us slightly uneasy.

Meanwhile, The Rock closes with that wonderful cliffhanger where Goodspeed and his wife actually discover who kills JFK.

Con Air 4- The Rock 6

Clip via - joe_vs_the_volcano

Best chemistry

Aside from the occasional help of Larkin and O'Dell, Cameron Poe is a bit of a lone wolf throughout Con Air. Compare this to the zingers that Goodspeeed and Mason deliver throughout The Rock.

"It's a grunge thing," I'd take pleasure in guttin' you, boy" and "trade secrets, my son" are some of the brilliant back-and-forth that Cage and Connery exchange.

Clear winner.

Con Air 4 - 7 The Rock

The Cage-ometer of crazy

During The Rock, the remark about Zeus' butthole and the "Glass or plastic, GLASS OR PLASTIC!" is about as mental as Cage goes but nothing can ever top 1) his hair, 2) the bunny in Con Air.

Con Air 5- 7 The Rock

Most insane moment

Bunny. Box.

We don't have to say it again.

Con Air 6-7 The Rock

Best 'asshole agent that gums up the works'

Womack vs Malloy.

We really do love the disdain and levels of hatred that Sean Connery expresses when he delivers the line "Womack! Why am I not surprised, you piece of shit!" but there's a clear winner.

After all, Malloy was prepared to shoot down Uncle Bob's plane without hesitation.

He really is one of the great cinematic jerks.

Con Air 7-7 The Rock

Clip via - Treegnome


Ultimately, we're going to let the people have the final say. Here are the respective takings according to box-office mojo;

The Rock $134,069,511.

Con Air $101,117,573

The winner is....Face/Off.

Na, The Rock edges out Con Air by 8-7.

Welcome to The Rock!