User ReviewsReview this title
The performances, this is it, folks. We have two of the finest and very popular actors: John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. These two are amazing, to transfer back and forth. John had to go from this kind, loving, and very sensitive man to a looney, cold-blooded, heartless maniac. Nicholas went from being the scary and perverted psycho to a helpless and struggling man trapped in this killer's body. My kudos to Nicholas, that was a tough performance to capture. I felt his pain, no one would believe that he was Sean Archer, who would after all? His body has been kidnapped from Castor Troy who is now playing around with his job, his daughter, and his wife. I felt so scarred for him, because I cannot imagine in a million years what that must feel like, the isolation, the abuse, and the feeling of utter helplessness. In my opinion, these are one of the best performances in 1997. The supporting cast of: Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, and Alessandro Nivola add so much, you get into the film entirely.
This is a very scary movie. This is identity theft gone terribly wrong and beyond any borders. I loved this movie and any other film fanatic will definitely enjoy it as well. It has great action, drama, romance, and dark comedy that bring together a terrific film.
Nicholas Cage is one of my favorite actors and this was coming on TV last night and I decided to see it as it had been close to a decade the last time I saw it and I didn't remember anything. Some of my friends told me that Cage could have played the Joker in Batman, if this performance was anything to go by and provided he still looked like it (he is not this good looking now). I completely agree with them on this. The level of insanity and brilliance produced by Nicholas Cage in this movie is simply mind-blowing for its time. I mean, the Joker was not the standard bar for maniac characters on screen at the time this movie was made and Cage made Troy such a chilling presence. Even as Shaun, Cage was perfect. John Travolta (this is my second Travolta movie after 'The Taking Of Pelham 123' last year) couldn't carry out Troy's maniac part very convincingly (or I should say, as convincingly as Cage), except in the climax with Shaun's daughter. But, he was perfect as Shaun. I thought that Troy was beginning to have good feelings for the daughter, while he was teaching her how to defend herself and was trying to look at life from a fresh perspective. But, that was blown out of the window and I found out that he never had any sort of feelings for anybody but himself and his brother. Joan Allen as Shaun's wife, Eve was fine in her short role. Pollux Troy also was very convincing as the nerdy and somewhat maniac brother of Castor Troy.
Though the premise of the story is too far-fetched and the shoot-out between the main protagonists, whenever they meet, is insanely non-stop throughout the movie, it still entertains because of the powerhouse performance by Nicholas Cage and very credible acting from John Travolta. I hated the fact that most of the action scenes were made just to satisfy the fans, the climax was half an hour for god's sake. With this concept and these incredible actors, Face/Off's acting and dramatic scenes were so good that it would still be a great film without the shoot outs.
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Sound formats: Dolby Digital / DTS
This magnificent thriller represents director John Woo's triumphant return to the kind of hyperkinetic, emotionally charged film-making which made him such a hot property in the first place. Following the artistic bankruptcy of his first two Hollywood projects, this one is a marriage of high-octane movie-making and mind-twisting narrative complexities. It's also one of the few American action movies which manages to strike a balance between crowd-pleasing set-pieces and domestic interludes, and renders them equally important. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are perfectly matched as hero/villain (and vice versa!), whilst heavyweight theatre actress Joan Allen provides the narrative with much of its dramatic backbone in the role of Travolta's wife (the scene in which she is first confronted with her husband in Cage's body is almost identical to a similar scene in Terence Fisher's FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED ).
Technically, the film is a blast, and Woo stages the action highlights with a visual grace and dexterity that is often breathtaking to behold. The climactic speedboat battle is probably the finest set-piece of Woo's career to date, and the script is overflowing with visual and thematic ironies that underscore the action highlights. In fact, the production has arguably more dramatic resonance than any other Hollywood blockbuster of the 1990s, but the dictates of American commercialism mean that Woo is only able to skate over the emotional surface of his characters and their moral dilemmas. The two main protagonists are much too cold and heartless to fully engage the audience's sympathies, and there's nothing here that matches the scorching human drama of, say, BULLET IN THE HEAD (1990). But for all that, FACE/OFF dares to go deeper than your average Hollywood action picture. It's clever, witty and thrilling, and it manages to accomplish the difficult task of feeding the brain whilst entertaining the eye.
Nicolas Cage and John Travolta are phenomenal in their dual roles each. The rest of the cast isn't very deep and is more filler than anything else. The editing job feels underdone, particularly when the action sequences get to the "overcooked" staged. Still, how many speedboat chases or airplane crashes are you going to see in a slow-motion?
Overall, a summer action movie that delivers in acting, directing, and most other departments. 4 out of 5 stars.
1997's "Face/Off," the third (and to this date, most successful) American feature from Hong Kong action director John Woo, is everything a fan of Woo's Asian work could possibly hope for. It's a loud, fast-paced, and spectacularly violent epic helmed by a master craftsman. And even with this ambitious third American feature, it is vastly on par with the director's Hong Kong work and is very easily one of the best films of his career.
Woo made a name for himself back in Asia as the director of hyper-stylized, hard-hitting pot-boiler action films like "The Killer" (1989) and "Hard Boiled" (1992), where he made an art form of dual-pistol-wielding gun-play and action shoot-'em-up. You want action? John Woo is your man to go to. He made his first American feature with Jean-Claude Van Damme in "Hard Target" (1993) and followed it up with "Broken Arrow" in 1996. Now we're at "Face/Off."
"Face/Off" stars a daring and intrepid Los Angeles F.B.I. agent named Sean Archer (John Travolta), who for the last six years has been on the trail of psycho freelance terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) after he killed Archer's young son. So when Archer finally captures Troy (who's put into a coma as a result) within the film's opening 20 minutes, Archer thinks it's the last of his arch-nemesis.
But of course it's not over, not by a long shot. The screenplay by writers Mike Webb and Michael Colleary throws us a curve-ball in the form of something write out of a sci-fi medical novel: to save L.A. from biological annihilation, Archer must become his enemy and learn the location of said biological payload. Archer trades physical identities with Troy bu undergoing a radical surgical procedure to get Troy's sociopath younger brother Pollux (Alessandro Nivola) to give up the goods.
However, Troy comes out of his coma and assumes Archer's identity as an F.B.I. man, a job he comes to love and abuses with joyful glee, and even gets cozy with Archer's neglected wife Eve (Joan Allen) and daughter Jamie (Dominique Swain). His first move is to destroy all the evidence that proves each man's true identity and seemingly leaves no way to reverse the procedures when he kills everyone involved in the mission (how sick and twisted is he, anyway?). His next plan is to systematically eliminate his old allies to afford protection for himself and his brother. In the meantime, Archer (as Castor) is left to rot in a federal prison that the Geneva Convention doesn't know exists and has to find a way to get out to defeat his nemesis once and for all, even if it means actually "becoming" him, and using Troy's old buddies to his advantage. You want to talk about identity crisis?
10 years after its release, this movie is still as balletic and energetic, action-packed and exciting as it was all those years ago. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage were perfectly cast as the perfect hero and perfect villain in what was one of the hottest action movies of that year. The only problem is, though, both actors enjoy switching their roles and playing off each other in a vicious blood feud, although it seems that Travolta was having the most fun here, leaving Cage a little hard-pressed to remain on the sidelines as the hero. Hot off their success in movies such as "Pulp Fiction" (1994) and "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995), Travolta revels in Cage's bad guy performance (even if Cage is Cage and Travolta is Travolta - for only about 20 minutes each). Coldly sadistic and over-the-edge/brave and determined, you can tell who likes things best.
The film's action scenes, which there are plenty of, is where "Face/Off" chiefly excels at. Woo brings much of the gusto and gun-play loved by so many in his native land to a place that's foreign. Perhaps this is why his two earlier efforts may have been failures here in the U.S. (Yet, third time's a charm, right?) As if crises of identity weren't enough, Woo seemed to be going through a transformation himself, adjusting his craft for American audiences.
But with "Face/Off," Woo proves to be at the top of his game, since he has the right actors, the right action and special effects, and the right stuff to pull it all off.
Then there's the action. There are like three scenes where bad-John Travolta is in a 20 x 20 room with good-Nicholas Cage and both fail to shoot the other even with automatic weapons, yet John can kill 4 cops while simultaneously driving a high-speed boat. I understand that the good guy has to make it to the end, but the shootouts are so poorly coordinated that it's hard to believe a cross-eyed kid in a wheelchair could have fired as much as our two stars and failed to hit someone, especially when the squibs go off directly behind the person being shot at. The end seals the ridiculous deal: after missing with about 1000 gun shots, good-Cage finally finishes off his foe with the second of 2 harpoon guns that happened to be on a private leisure boat(why?), but only after John exerts about 500lbs of force with his hand on the gun's springs and staves off death for another few seconds. In conclusion, this movie is a bunch of cliché action that is too ludicrous to be entertaining. Don't waste your time with this or any other John Woo movie unless you enjoy seeing people not get shot and plenty of doves flying.
The plot has Sean Archer (John Travolta) hunting down dangerous criminal Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), who six years earlier killed his son. After apprehending him, Archer finds out that there's still a bomb threat, and with time running out and with no other alternatives, he decides to undergo a crazy procedure that will allow him to wear Troy's face and masquerade as him to get the info from his brother. Things go awry when Troy wakes up and puts on Archer's face, stealing his life.
The film's greatest strength is the two leads, who convincingly play each other. It helps that both actors are pretty over-the-top to begin with, and it gets even better when you see Travolta doing the best Nicolas Cage impersonation you'll ever see.
The action is just as awesome as you'd expect from a John Woo film, with improbable explosions and guns with seemingly infinite ammo all around.
The biggest problem I had with the movie is that the lead-up to killing Troy-as-Archer is really, REALLY long. There's a Mexican standoff, a church shootout, a hostage scene, a boat chase, it goes on and on and on, though it does lead to an awesome explosion and unconvincing stunt doubles. Still, that's not too much of a big deal because the action doesn't stop, but it can be a bit tiring.
If you like crazy awesome action, crazy awesome actors, or just craziness and awesomeness in general, then this is the film for you!
Sean Archer finally catches terrorist Castor Troy and puts him in a coma. But the psychopath left one last present for LA, a bomb.
Using state of the art surgery Sean becomes Troy and goes into a maximum security prison, but problems surface when Caastor wakes up and becomes Sean Archer.
The film is an adrenaline pumped action flick which shows a hail of bullets and blood, Travolta plays Castor with pure delight as he jumps around and does his one-liners, while Nicholas plays the man completely alone in the world.
John Woo definitely brings Hong Kong cinema style movies to Hollywood.
I have always liked the Bald guy and Gina Gershon here the most from the supporting cast, and enjoyed the way both the leads got to 'understand' the others' family, way of life, friends, etc. You have to like how Castor gets Travolta's girl to learn knife fighting, for example, or seeing the camaraderie of Cage's group.
Good shootouts and action, sometimes the conceits here are quite far flung, but you can live with that as an audience. I sure did, and so give this...
*** outta ****, it's quite good
I'm pondering on it myself. I'm a girl; I should hate action movies and go watch romantic comedies instead (yuck!). I should search the screen for handsome hunks with bare torso and do other crazy, girlish things like that. 'Face/Off' doesn't have handsome men (come on! Travolta in his 40's and the ever sad, puppy-eyed Cage? No fun!). So what is in this film, that makes me watch it whenever I have a chance?
Let's see. The plot - no big deal. Good guy, bad guy, tragedy in the past, revenge, remorse etc. Been there, done that, in dozens of movies before. So what is there left?
Actors. Travolta playing Cage and vice versa. Fun to watch, especially Travolta the good bad guy (or the other way round, the bad good guy). Gershon - liked her in 'Bound', now she's straight. Too bad there's so little of her.
Directing. It's Johny Woo. It was the first film by him I saw, it stayed with me a long way. Why other directors can't stage a simple scene the way he does it - beats me. It's pure poetry; the music, the motion - at one time You forget the people are shooting there, because it all looks like a ballet... Yet, it's 'just' an action film; there's no need in getting too philosophical about it...Or is there?
The split personality. The fact that your worst enemy knows you better than you know yourself... Oh, stop it. It's just an action film.
I wish more action films were like that. Wishful thinking?...
As far the acting is concerned, the lesser i say the better. Cage cannot act to save his life.Clearly he remains the most unimpressive mainstream actor in Hollywood to me. Travolta is no better either. Overall this is really a pathetic movie..
And it is so so so overrated in IMDB...7.3 r u kidding ?
it deserves a 3.7 !
1/10..I regret having watched this movie..I simply couldn't wait it to end..Thankgod i watched it in TV with the usual commercial breaks which gave me some respite.
Well Face Off--------"Beep" Off
Don't get me wrong, I like a good action movie. But this isn't one.
I couldn't get past the woeful acting, the thin plot, the ridiculous, hammy 'climax'.
Oh please, so what if they had their faces swapped. What about their bodies? Nicolas Cage was in shape; John Travolta looked like he'd chugged a few too many cheeseburgers a la Pulp Fiction. Couldn't Travolta's wife tell the difference? I hope to god my wife would be able to tell *my* Mr Happy from that of some crim who's had my face sewn on.
And all that rushing around on jet boats with bangs and whistles and hoo har. Oh please. One punch in the chops would be enough to knock a guy out... let alone knock his newly sewn on face off. And we are meant to believe that this was all really happening???
I sat there laughing at the wrong places. I was thinking, F*ck Off / Face Off. But surprisingly some of my friends actually liked it.
1 out of 10.
One of the worst films I have seen in a long time.
Only recommended for people with a very low I.Q.
Nicholas Cage as a terrorist and John Travolta as a secret agent are both excellent, but when they switch identities - WOW. Travolta really turns it on and does a great job in Cage's persona. Cage is always good, and it's interesting to watch him do the more subdued Travolta persona. And when they're on screen together, it's great.
There's plenty of action and violence to keep the viewer entertained. To those who aren't particular fans of the genre, you will still enjoy this old "Mission: Impossible" premise where they put on those latex masks.
An overcharged, comicbook flavored kind of doomsday scenario with a huge twist and more action than two hours can handle. Terrific to watch, even if it's preposterous and filled with superficial glitz. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are both terrific as themselves—and as each other!
No doubt this kind of trading places story could have really interesting psychological depths—and that movie is waiting to be made—but here they choose to play up the sensational aspects (sleeping with the other's wife, etc.). And that's exactly what this movie demands. It's all about excess.
And fun. If you take it too seriously, you're too serious. It's seriously funny and almost joyous, even as lots of people get unceremoniously killed. Even the ridiculous first scene, which goes on a very very very long time, is all about outdoing James Bond in outrageous chase and shoot-em-up scenes.
If the movie lacks class, or wants some subtle aspects here and there, or even needs strong female roles, there is a kind of deliberate pedal to the floor aspect here that is perfect. Perfect. Chinese born director John Woo isn't known for subtlety, though I haven't seen his Chinese films. But he melds well with Hollywood's larger style, and here is the result, a must see.