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Face/Off
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Reviews & Ratings for
Face/Off More at IMDbPro »

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125 out of 179 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest action films ever made

8/10
Author: Grann-Bach (Grann-Bach@jubii.dk) from Denmark
29 July 2004

John Woo knows, if anybody, how to make good, stylish action. And that's exactly what this film is; good, cool, stylish action. The plot is great; fairly psychological and quite interesting. It has a fast(and remarkably even) pace, I don't think more than 30 minutes passes at any point in the movie without a giant action scene. All in all, I'd guess there are about four or five major shootouts, and two chase scenes which are each several minutes long(without getting repetitive, fortunately). The acting is excellent; every single major part is well-played. John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain... all give great, entirely believable performances. The best are definitely Travolta and Cage, though; fantastic, truly stellar performances. The characters are all well-written and credible, right down to the most minor one. The action is cool and very stylish, in every single action-scene. The theme of the film is great; of course, the story is completely unlikely, with the face-switching and all, but once you get past that, once you suspend disbelief, you'll most likely enjoy the film thoroughly. The script is excellent, plenty of action, drama, and thriller parts. Also, you gotta love the sharp contrast 3/4's into the movie, with the kid listening to sugary pop-music, while people are shooting intensely at each other. Great film. I recommend it to any fan of John Woo, Nicholas Cage, John Travolta and action films. 8/10

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93 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

John and Nicholas make quite a pair in Face/Off

10/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
28 November 2003

"Face/Off" is an excellent movie that will never get out of your head, it's that memorable. I saw this movie probably 6 or 7 years ago and I still think about it and finally bought it the other day.

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.

10/10

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78 out of 113 people found the following review useful:

Woo's US breakthrough: A triumph!

8/10
Author: Libretio
26 January 2000

FACE/OFF

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 [1969]).

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.

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84 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

An Action Classic That Will Never Lose Its Appeal

9/10
Author: gatsby2244 from India
23 July 2005

I consider John Woo to be one of the greatest action movie directors in the world,and "Face/Off" proves just that.However,the element that makes this film one of the most intense and spectacular action movies to ever come from Hollywood is the presence of two tremendously talented actors,both of whom are my favorites.Yes,when you have John Travolta and Nicholas Cage together in a movie ,the results are bound to be over the top. John Travolta plays Sean Archer,a dedicated FBI agent who survived a murder attempt by notorious criminal Castor Troy six years ago. However,tragically his son died instead of him and since than Archer is relentlessly chasing Troy.Nicholas Cage plays Troy,and the film begins with a spectacular chase where we see the sheer intensity generated by both these great actors,and you realize that this is not going to be just another action flick. Troy escapes,but his younger brother Pollux Troy(played by Alessandro Nivola) falls into Archer's hands,along with a floppy that contains the blueprint for a bomb to be detonated in downtown L.A. Pollux refuses to reveal the location of the bomb and then a desperate Archer is given an option that is so spine-chilling that Archer refuses immediately.Realizing soon that he has no other choice,he decides to do what he is asked to-to exchange his face for Troy's, and what's more,to alter his entire physical attributes,so that he can go to the prison where his brother is being kept,and fool him into believing that he is Troy and get the location of the bomb from him.The plan seems to work until the moment Castor realizes what has happened,puts on Archer's face,and sets out for revenge.He fools the FBI,fools Archer's wife and sleeps with her and just when one thinks that this is too much,the real Archer escapes prison and it's payback time. Both Travolta and Cage play their roles perfectly,and they do a fantastic job playing each other too. The rest of the cast simply fades away in comparison,and who cares ? Dominique Swain as Archer's rebellious daughter looks good on screen-but that's about it.Joan Allen as his wife is not too impressive either.Gina Gershon as Troy's lover seems much more real in comparison.John Woo provides the film with a novel and flawless script,and some of the best action sequences ever filmed.This film is an absolute must for any action fan,and definitely the best Woo ever made.

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48 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

a great action experience

Author: Special-K88
14 February 2002

From director John Woo comes this exhilarating action movie that takes a deadly cat and mouse game to the next level! A tortured federal agent, haunted by a painful tragedy and obsessed with catching the slick sociopathic terrorist who's eluded him for years and years, is forced to take the face of his mortal enemy in order to acquire vital information. The daring plan quickly goes awry when he loses his own identity in the process, and discovers his arch-enemy is cohabiting with his family. Film's enjoyment depends on the viewer: you'll either condemn the film's story as absurd or far-fetched, or you'll buy into it and go along for this supercharged, over-the-top action extravaganza. Travolta and Cage are both extraordinarily good, and with Woo at the helm you know that you'd better hang on for dear life! Occasionally silly, with a plot that tosses credibility out the window, but still lots of fun. ***

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49 out of 75 people found the following review useful:

Corny. Crazy. Cool.

9/10
Author: Angry_Arguer from Shermer, Illinois
10 July 2003

Face/Off is amazing because it mixes an outrageously cornball plot with some of the best acting in an action movie. How John Woo pulled it off is beyond me. His visual imagery is flamboyant and decorative, yet never fails to deliver the goods. There is always a flurry of images to grasp our attention. Granted, his typical trademarks are here, but never does the script suffer from the same problems as in his other works.

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.

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71 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

Nicolas Cage and John Travolta Make the Film Succeed

Author: tfrizzell from United States
27 July 2000

"Face/Off" is a somewhat complicated action thriller which involves an obsessed FBI agent (John Travolta) who decides to become a comatose criminal (Nicolas Cage) by literally trading faces with him. The purpose in doing this is to learn where a bomb is by going undercover in a maximum-security prison and getting the information from Cage's brother. When Cage's character comes out of his coma, he decides to take Travolta's face. Still with me? In short Travolta's FBI agent is now Cage's crazed criminal and vise versa. What follows is a wild and crazy thrill ride that is a bit hard to keep straight, but ultimately fun to watch and quite satisfying. Overall a really good film. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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136 out of 251 people found the following review useful:

Greatest action movie ever made, period.

10/10
Author: Castor-30 from Detroit, Michigan
23 March 2000

This is simply the best action movie I have ever seen. Very few movies come close, but don't overtake, this masterpiece. John Woo has unleashed an action movie that all should see at least once. And all action fans should own. The action scenes are fast and furious, the script is great, and the story is pretty good, and John Travolta and Nicholas Cage give excellent performances. See this movie now if you haven't already, or if you just haven't seen it recently you will not be disappointed. This movie would get 10 out of 10 from me.

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49 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Way too over the top

3/10
Author: rab40 from United States
21 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first time I saw this movie I thought to myself "hey, this is pretty exciting." After the first fight scene it quickly dawned on me, however that the action in this movie is all the same and none of it makes any sense (like every John Woo movie). First of all, lets examine the movie's main premise. Taking a face from one person and grafting it on another will not make them look exactly like them: there's their entire facial structure underneath to consider. The movie tries to briefly explain this and their two very different body types but it's very sketchy. Also, apparently medical science has progressed past scarring and major surgery patients can drive themselves home from the hospital the very same day.

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.

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43 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Wow....this one is good

Author: gazzo-2 from United States
27 August 2000

This one has a tough job of convincing the audience that the main characters, Travolta and Cage, could swap faces via plastic surgery and still be convincing as one another. It works! Woo has a certain style down-the long flowing robes, slow mo shootouts, orchestral hype in the background, furious shoot outs, explosions, etc. Essentially a more stylish Bruckheimer movie if ya think about it.

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

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