Submitted by Tornado Dragon
While the Jailbird is flying away from Lerner Airfield after the convicts’ planned escape flight with Cindino and his cartel ended in Cindino trying to double-cross them (which failed, and Cyrus burned Cindino alive for it), Nathan finds Casey’s letter to Cameron in the cargo hold saying that Cameron is paroled (though it doesn’t mention his name), along with the stuffed bunny he planned to give her as a birthday gift. He shows these to Cyrus, and Cyrus tells everyone that these items, combined with the earlier mysterious death of Billy and the authorities being tipped off to their whereabouts the whole way, indicates that there is a traitor among them. To flush out the traitor, he grabs the guard Sally and threatens to shoot her. To protect Cameron, Mike tells Cyrus that he is the traitor, so Cyrus shoots him in the abdomen.
Just then, D.E.A. agent Malloy and U.S. Marshal Larkin show up in attack helicopters, and Cyrus, Nathan, and a few others have a gunfight with the former. Cameron decides to reveal his true nature to the crooks and take over the plane, so he fights his way into the cockpit and gets in touch with Larkin over the radio to signify that he has control of the plane, which stops Malloy from trying to shoot it down with a missile. Larkin then draws Cameron’s attention to the sight of Las Vegas drawing near and encourages him to land at the city’s airport, but when Cameron orders Earl to do that, Earl points out that they have a damaged right engine, no fuel, and they are dropping too fast, so he is going to land on the Strip. The plane touches down and goes skidding along the Strip until it is on a clear collision course with the Sands Hotel and Casino. Cyrus gets a hold of Cameron, but before he can kill him, the plane crashes into the Sands, and the right engine’s propellor breaks off and comes tearing through the part of the plane they are in, but both avoid it. Cameron ends up dazed while Cyrus disappears.
The cops show up and round up the cons while Cameron gets Mike into an ambulance, but Cyrus, Nathan, and Earl sneak out of the plane and try to escape in a fire truck. Cameron and Larkin spot them driving off and give chase on police motorcycles, and they catch up to the truck and wind up killing all three men in different ways. The two return to the Sands, and Cameron meets up with Casey and his wife Tricia and gives Casey the stuffed bunny before embracing them both.
After the convicts ground the prison transport plane, the Jailbird, at the abandoned Lerner Airfield to catch their transfer flight arranged by Cindino (Jesse Borrego) and his cartel, Cameron (Nicolas Cage) decides to go look for a syringe for Mike (Mykelti Williamson) so he can administer his insulin and stay alive. When he steps outside, he sees Nathan (Ving Rhames) preparing to kill three of the guards, and he tells him that he can’t kill them because they still have worth as hostages. When Nathan asks why he cares, Cameron informs him that Cindino has been deceitful and treacherous to others in the past, including family members, and he will probably not hesitate to screw them all over as well, so it would be best for them and the other cons to wait for the transfer flight to arrive before they start killing their only leverage. Cyrus (John Malkovich), who got involved in the conversation midway through it, accepts that Cameron is right (plus the fact that their transfer flight is apparently not here has stirred his own suspicions about Cindino), so he announces that they are moving on to Plan B: Refuel the Jailbird, dig it out, and get it ready for takeoff. Cameron volunteers to find a fuel truck as an excuse to go look for a syringe.
While looking around one of the hangars, Cameron is suddenly seized by a member of Cindino’s cartel and dropped at the feet of two more members at a private jet hidden in there, and Cameron realizes that Cindino is planning to double-cross the other criminals. Before one of the goons can shoot him, U.S. Marshal Larkin (John Cusack) appears, and together they subdue the thugs (though the pilot keeps himself hidden in the jet). Larkin tells Cameron that he got the message he earlier sent to him on Joe’s (Dave Chappelle) corpse (which stated that the convicts were coming to this airfield) and says that the National Guardsmen he has called for will be here shortly. Cameron tells Larkin that he needs to get back to the plane, and when Larkin asks why he doesn’t just leave seeing as how he is a free man, Cameron explains that he can’t because he needs to keep his friend from dying. As Cameron starts to walk away, Larkin informs him that he had earlier spoken to his wife Tricia (Monica Potter) and daughter Casey (Landry Allbright), and Cameron tells him to tell Tricia – in the event things go badly for him – that he loves her, but he just couldn’t leave a fallen man behind. Larkin agrees to do that for him, then asks what Cameron is going to do for him in return, to which Cameron simply replies that he is going to save the day. Meanwhile, Johnny (Danny Trejo) spots the National Guard troops approaching in the distance from the air traffic control tower, and he yells out to the other criminals that they’ve got company. Nathan hears him and tells one of the other crooks to inform Cyrus.
Cyrus orders the plane dug out immediately, but as the cons are distracted with doing this, Cindino runs away and finds his jet. As he and the pilot are trying to take off, Larkin dashes into a crane and brings the arm of it down on the jet’s tail, breaking it off and causing the rest of the jet to crash into a gas station while Cameron is in there looking around for a needle. Having seen that Cindino was trying to betray them, Cyrus gets Cindino’s attention as he crawls out of the wreck, then ignites the gas gushing out of the broken pumps with Earl’s (M.C. Gainey) cigarette, setting him ablaze and killing him. The rest of the jet soon blows up, forcing Cameron to jump out of the other side of the gas station to escape the blast. He rolls under a truck to find an elderly worker hiding under it, and after asking him where he can find a syringe, the worker replies that one might be stored in a First Aid kit in a fire truck over in the aircraft boneyard.
Cyrus breaks into the Jailbird’s cargo hold from the outside and finds a stash of powerful firearms in there, but he also finds the body of Billy (Nick Chinlund), whom Cameron had earlier killed down there in self-defense after he discovered that Cameron was out on parole and just hitching a ride home. Cyrus creates a plan to trap the National Guardsmen in the boneyard when they come into it and then slaughter them, and after going over it with the other criminals, they prepare their ambush and also put the guards into a big shed for safekeeping. Just as Cameron finds the syringe in the fire truck, the troops fall into Cyrus’ trap, coming under heavy fire and sustaining casualties. Fortunately for them, Larkin manages to hotwire a nearby bulldozer and drive it into the boneyard, using the blade as a shield to protect the survivors. Cameron hurries back to the plane, but before going inside, he attaches a strong tow rope from the plane to a cement pillar in an effort to keep the Jailbird from leaving. He then enters and saves one of the guards, Sally (Rachel Ticotin), from being raped by Johnny, knocking him out and cuffing him inside a cell, and then he gives Mike the needle. After seeing some of the cons getting blown away, Cyrus orders everyone else to get the guards and retreat back to the plane, and as it begins its departure (where we see the engine on the right-wing start to smoke, having gotten damaged during the landing), Cyrus notices the tow rope and what it is attached to, so he and Nathan shoot the pillar to bits to free the plane. The criminals manage to get airborne shortly after Malloy (Colm Meaney) and his fellow D.E.A. agents touch down in their attack helicopters (having been misled by the convicts on where they were due to Joe planting the Jailbird’s transponder on another plane back at Carson City), and when Malloy decides to chase after the Jailbird, Larkin hops into one of the helicopters and follows him.
While in flight, Nathan goes into the cargo hold and finds the stuffed bunny Cameron intends to give to Casey as a birthday present as well as a letter she wrote to him, which doesn’t mention his name but mentions his parole. He hands both the letter and the bunny to Cyrus, and Cyrus tells all of the convicts that there is a traitor in their midst who killed Billy, tied a rope to the plane, and has been tipping off the authorities to their whereabouts. To flush out the traitor, he grabs Sally and puts a gun to her head, then gives the traitor a count of three to reveal himself or else he will pull the trigger. Just as Cameron is about to confess, Mike stops him and tells Cyrus that he is the one he seeks, so Cyrus shoots him in the abdomen, and Cameron and Sally find themselves tending to him. Moments later, the attack helicopters catch up to the plane, and Malloy’s helicopter spots Cyrus through the open rear door and starts shooting at him, but the bullets only put holes in the plane. Cyrus, Nathan, and a few other criminals return fire with their guns.
After Mike tells Cameron that he doubts that he will make it and he thinks that there isn’t a God, Cameron stands up and replies that he will show him that God does exist. He then storms his way up to the cockpit, knocking out a couple of the criminals along the way, and he activates the security gates to keep Cyrus, Nathan, and the others helping them out in the back of the plane. Cyrus sees him doing this and realizes that he is the traitor, but after emptying his machine gun into the lock on the first gate to get it open and then dropping it on the floor, Sally grabs it and hits him across the face with it, knocking him out. Cameron gets into the cockpit and orders Earl to land the plane, then gets on the radio and speaks with Larkin to let him know that he has taken over the aircraft, which winds up stopping Malloy from attempting to shoot it down with a missile. Larkin then tells Cameron that Las Vegas is drawing near and he can land at the city’s airport, but when Cameron tells Earl to go there, Earl points out that the plane has a busted right engine, no fuel, and they’re dropping too fast, so they are going to be landing on the Las Vegas Strip instead. The plane touches down and skids down the Strip, taking on more and more damage as it goes, and Cameron and Earl eventually see that it is on a collision course with the Sands Hotel and Casino. Cameron heads back into the body of the plane to get out of harm’s way, but he immediately finds himself confronted by a revived Cyrus, now pointing a handgun in his face and having every intention of killing him. Suddenly, the plane comes to a destructive stop inside the front of the casino, and the right engine’s propellor breaks off and comes tearing through the part of the plane where Cameron and Cyrus are standing, but both avoid it. Cameron is left dazed while Cyrus disappears.
Larkin and Malloy land outside the casino, and the police join them in rounding up the convicts while the paramedics tend to the surviving guards and dead bodies (with Johnny being among the dead). Cameron gets Mike and Sally out, and he gets Mike loaded into an ambulance before having a pleasant farewell with Sally. Meanwhile, Cyrus, Nathan, and Earl escape the plane out of a hatch on the bottom and sneak through the crowd and try to get away in a fire truck, but both Cameron and Larkin spot Cyrus on top of the truck as it is driving away, so they take a couple of police motorcycles and chase after it. Cameron and Larkin catch up to the truck in a tunnel, and Cameron grabs hold of the turntable ladder while his motorcycle drives right into Nathan – who is shooting at them from the back – and blows up and kills him. Cyrus attacks Cameron with a pike pole, but Cameron manages to grab hold of it, snap it in two, and impale Cyrus through his left leg with his broken end, then climbs up top and dukes it out with him. As this happens, Larkin jumps onto the truck and uses a fire axe to chop a hole into the roof of the cab, and he soon sticks a fire hose in through the hole and turns it on so the cab will flood with water and make Earl lose control. Cameron overwhelms Cyrus, then cuffs him to the ladder before switching on the elevating cylinder to raise it, and Earl goes flying through the windshield when the truck hits a couple of cars and he gets fatally run over. After Larkin jumps off the truck, Cyrus collides with a pedway and goes sailing through it, then falls through some electrical wires before landing on a conveyor belt on a construction site. He falls off the other end of it and lands underneath a pile driver’s raised hammer, which comes down and crushes his skull. Cameron gets off the truck himself before it goes plowing through an armored delivery truck and makes it explode. He saves Casey’s stuffed bunny – which was still in Cyrus’ possession – from going into the sewer, then meets up with Larkin and exchanges a congratulatory handshake with him for stopping the villains.
Shortly after the heroes return to the Sands, Cameron spots Tricia and Casey standing nearby, having been flown to the scene just after the transport plane crashed. He approaches them and gives Casey the stuffed bunny and wishes her a happy birthday before having a tearful, loving embrace with her and Tricia. The movie ends with Garland (Steve Buscemi) – the one criminal who was not accounted for and has apparently reformed – playing craps at another casino.