Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh

10 years ago, who could ever have imagined that awkward, weak-chinned weird boys John Cusack and Nicolas Cage would be able to reinvent themselves as action stars, casually wielding high-powered weapons and careening around the screen on stolen

police motorcycles? But their macho antics are no more improbable than anything else about this polished (to a high, hard gloss) testosterone attack, in which the vilest criminals the American penal system has to offer are packed into one small plane that is soon navigating some very unfriendly

skies. Led by psychopathic Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom (John Malkovich) and militant black nationalist Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones (Ving Rhames), the bad, bad boys commandeer their flying cell block and make a break for freedom. Standing between this airborne crime wave and civilization: quirky

federal marshall Larkin (Cusack), who's monitoring the disaster-in-progress from the ground, and newly released prisoner Cameron Poe (Cage), who picked the wrong plane on which to get home to his devoted wife and angelic little girl. This is a noisy, nasty diversion for adrenaline junkies that's

almost worth seeing for the scene in which Cage rescues his daughter's birthday present from some smirking hard-ass or other. "Put... the bunny... down," Cage intones, voice trembling with suppressed paternal rage, as the plush toy dangles in mid air from an open cargo door. Mega-budget action

extravaganzas don't get much sillier than this.