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Face/Off (1997)

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In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.

Director:

John Woo
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Popularity
1,777 ( 331)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Sean Archer
Nicolas Cage ... Castor Troy
Joan Allen ... Eve Archer
Alessandro Nivola ... Pollux Troy
Gina Gershon ... Sasha Hassler
Dominique Swain ... Jamie Archer
Nick Cassavetes ... Dietrich Hassler
Harve Presnell ... Victor Lazarro
Colm Feore ... Dr. Malcolm Walsh
John Carroll Lynch ... Prison Guard Walton
CCH Pounder ... Hollis Miller
Robert Wisdom ... Tito Biondi
Margaret Cho ... Wanda
James Denton ... Buzz (as Jamie Denton)
Matt Ross ... Loomis
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Storyline

Sean Archer, a very tough, rugged FBI Agent, is still grieving for his dead son Michael. Archer believes that his son's killer is his sworn enemy and a very powerful criminal, Castor Troy. One day, Archer has finally cornered Castor, however, their fight has knocked out Troy cold. As Archer finally breathes easy over the capture of his enemy, he finds out that Troy has planted a bomb that will destroy the entire city of Los Angeles and all of its inhabitants. Unfortunately the only other person who knows its location is Castor's brother Pollux, and he refuses to talk. The solution, a special operation doctor that can cut off people's faces, and can place a person's face onto another person. Archer undergoes one of those surgeries to talk to Pollux. However, Castor Troy somehow regains consciousness and now wants revenge on Archer for taking his face. Not only is Troy ruining Archer's mission, but his personal life as well. Archer must stop Troy again. This time, it's personal. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Only one will survive See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense sequences of strong violence, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

27 June 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Face Off See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,387,530, 29 June 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$112,225,777, 2 November 1997

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$128,000,000, 22 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby | SDDS (uncredited)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In early drafts of the script, Archer went to Castor's mother's place to hide out. The writers wanted the mother to be played by Elizabeth Taylor or Jack Nicholson in drag. See more »

Goofs

Several times during the boat chase Archer still speaks in Castor's voice despite dislodging the microchip in his throat earlier. See more »

Quotes

Castor Troy: [notices Eve's rear end as she walks to car] I hate to see you go, but I LOVE to watch you leave.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Domestic release, the Paramount opening logo is played, and at the end of the film, The still closing version of the Paramount logo is shown; while on the International prints, the Buena Vista International logo is played for 20 seconds before the company credits is shown. See more »

Connections

References The Dead Pool (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Miserere
By Gregorio Allegri
Performed by Westminster Abbey Choir (as Choir of Westminster Abbey) under the direction of Simon Preston
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft mbH, Hamburg
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Preposterous fun – big, loud and exciting with a master at the helm
8 February 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Sean Archer is the head of a special unit set up to hunt down master criminal Caster Troy. In an airport shootout Archer puts Troy in a coma and captures his brother Pollux. Archer then discovers that Troy has planted a bomb in LA, yet Pollux refuses to reveal where it is. With time running out Archer is offered a terrible option - to switch faces with Troy and have surgery to alter his body shape. After the surgery Archer goes undercover in prison to learn the location of the bomb. However when in prison, Troy awakes from his coma, forces the doctors to give him Archer's face, kills everyone who knows about the mission and assumes Archer's life. Trapped in prison, Archer is forced to escape from prison and join with Troy's gang to expose Troy - mayhem ensues.

This was Woo's third American film and it was the one he finally struck gold with. The story is simply daft - don't try to pick holes in it because it's far too easy to do. What makes the film is that the plot is glossed over by sheer spectacle and great action - you barely have a moment to catch your breath, never mind pick holes in the plot. The action is fantastic throughout - plenty of trademark slow-mo, diving with two guns etc and all given such style. In his other US films it all felt like Woo-lite, however here he is allowed to do just what he wants. OK - the plot may not stand up in repeated viewing, but the action is superb!

Travolta and Cage both have great fun playing each other - they mange to swap roles really well. Travolta has the most fun as he gets to ham it up as Troy for most of the time, but Cage has the better role as he plays the `good guy' for most of it. Allen and Gershon are both good as the protagonist's partners but have little to do in this man's world. Really it's all about Cage and Travolta and Woo - nobody else really matters.

Overall this may not be a great film due to the weakness of it's plot, but it is still a superb action movie. Most action movies have poor plots - but not all can provide the huge amount of action and fun that Face/Off does. Fantastic!


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