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One of the greatest action films ever made
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews29 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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John and Nicholas make quite a pair in Face/Off
Smells_Like_Cheese28 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.

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An Action Classic That Will Never Lose Its Appeal
gatsby224423 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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a great action experience
Special-K8814 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 and 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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Corny. Crazy. Cool.
Angry_Arguer10 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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Woo's US breakthrough: A triumph!
Libretio26 January 2000

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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In my top 3 best Movies.
balgeorge27 July 2010
What can I say?! One of the best movies I have ever seen. The Storyline is superb, and the acting is of the finest actors there is. Cage and Travolta deserve Oscars for their performances; how Cage changed from a murdering criminal to a determined good cop in the way he did, I will never know.

Another great element of this film is the action: Guns, knives, grenade launchers, AK-47s and so on! Some of the greatest gun fights I have ever seen in any movie take place here, specifically the the cop vs criminal fight in the mansion, is it? Anyway, these are just a few things I have mentioned that put this in my top 3 movies. But I must emphasise the acting once more, and how tremendous both Travolta and Cage are in this master-piece.

10/10, or in other words, brilliant!
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Nicolas Cage and John Travolta Make the Film Succeed
tfrizzell27 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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Way too over the top
rab4021 September 2006
Warning: 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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"Face/Off" - Identity crisis?
dee.reid11 September 2007
A movie about a hockey match, this isn't.

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.

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Redefines the word "implausible"
EvMcc1 February 1999
Plenty of action yes, of the 1000 bullets per second with no-one getting hurt variety, but a laughable plot. Cage's face is removed and grafted onto Travolta; Travolta's original face is then saved for replacing at the end of his mission. Obviously the face would be locked away somewhere safe and out of harm's way? No, when Cage unexpectedly comes around he gets out of bed, looks through the window, and there, in the room right next to him and in a brightly illuminated jar is Travolta's face! At this point I watched the video for a little longer to see if it could get any more ridiculous and when it started to, I turned it off.

One of the worst films I have seen in a long time.
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Wow....this one is good
gazzo-227 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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Greatest action movie ever made, period.
Castor-3023 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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An Insult to Intelligence
IloveHanks30 June 2010
What a crap movie ! One flaw after the other. I wonder what the makers of such movies think about us.This movie is an insult to our intelligence.. Of course it would be a feast to the eyes who love the bombs exploding, planes crashing, buildings blowing and other kinds of unimaginable dross stuff. I don't really mind these if there is a semblance of reality in all the action scenes. But unfortunately that is not the case here. It appalls me that the makers dint realize the quality of their movie while making it. They invest millions of dollars in such BS stuff.

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
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getting philosophical about an action film
ariah0129 January 2003
First of all, this is an action film; if anyone wants to see a movie challenging intelectualy, please watch something else. As an action film, this should be viewed and judged among its so to say 'species' - and as for me - it gets 5/5.


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?...
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A steaming pile of crapola
seanahalpin18 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Yet again, Hollywood has too much money to even consider making a worthwhile film. Instead, they trot out this pile of manure for the willing consumption of the tasteless masses.

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.
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Utter Nonsense
TRENTY2829 December 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This has got to be one of the most ludicrous films i have ever laid eyes on. I mean i never realised the film title meant taking someones face off and putting it onto another person. I mean they have different body shapes, neck sizes, wrist sizes, shoe sizes. Totally pathetic and puts you off the film which has some good action sequences in places but its got to be slightly believable surely!

Only recommended for people with a very low I.Q.
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JasonS-57 August 2002
I rank this movie as one of the most awful things I have ever seen. Not only is it totally unbelievable, but the situations are so unpleasent, so cloying, so awful, that its more like a nightmare that just won't end. And when I say "won't end," I mean it. This movie drags on way past the comfort level. It keeps going from one improbable situation to another, linked by flashy chase scenes, until you're begging for some kind of resolution.

The acting of Nick Cage and John Travolta are just about what you would expect -- that is to say totally over-the-top. Chewing on the scenery is a polite term for what they do.

As for the talents of John Woo, well I've heard all about his "violence as opera" philosophy of film-making, but I just don't buy it. Every movie I've seen of his isn't scary, or exciting, or shocking -- its uncomfortable, like sitting on a sharp spike.

I saw this movie years ago in the theatre, but it still sticks with me -- I guess that should say something about its power, but years ago, I saw a dead deer sitting by the side of the road. It was rotting in the heat, its muscles had contracted, it smelled awful and it looked alot like a mummy -- that experience stuck with me too. Seeing "Face/Off" was alot like seeing that deer: unpleasent, nauseating, and unnecessary.
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Incredible Action Film, That's Now One Of My Favorites, With 2 Amazing Performances From John Travolta and Nicolas Cage!
callanvass23 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is an incredible action film, that's now one of my favorites, with 2 amazing performances from John Travolta and Nicolas Cage!. All the characters were fantastic, and the film is extremely exciting and action paced throughout, plus John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are simply amazing in this!. The plot is of course preposterous, however i thought it was extremely creative and simply fascinating to watch, plus Travolta and Cage both made it very believable!. I had very high expectations for this, and i must say it surpassed all of them, plus you really start to root for Sean Archer's family, plus Nicolas Cage and John Travolta both have a lot of fun playing each other!. Travolta and Joan Allen have excellent chemistry together, and it's one of the most exciting movies i have ever seen, plus The finale is simply incredible!. The ending was just great, and this is now one of my favorite movies, plus some of the scenes were very shocking. This is an incredible Action film, that's now one of my favorites with 2 amazing performances from Travolta and Cage, and i say drop what your doing immediately and go see it!. The Direction is phenomenal!. John Woo does a phenomenal job here, with some amazing camera work,fantastic angles, a lot of shots blew me away, plus he kept the film at an extremely fast pace!. This movie is filled with blood and violence. We get, Hundreds and hundreds of extremely bloody gunshot wounds,lots of graphic fall victims, TONS of bloody gunshot wounds to the head, with blood and brains spurting,slicing and dicing,bloody stabbings, bloody impaling's, faces cut off, faceless people walking around,ear is cut off,gory surgery scenes, and more!. The Acting is amazing!. John Travolta is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is extremely likable, as Sean Archer,was a blast to watch hamming it up as Cage, he also had excellent chemistry with Joan Allen, was amazing in the acting department, and was just amazing overall ! (Travolta Rules!). Nicolas Cage is also AMAZING as always, and is amazing here,he was fantastic as both Castor Troy and especially Sean Archer, was incredible in his emotional scenes, had some classic dialog, and i just loved him overall! (Cage Rules!. Joan Allen is fantastic as Travolta's wife, she was very likable, had excellent chemistry with Travolta, and just did a fantastic job overall!.Dominique Swain is beautiful and does awesome as the Daughter, she didn't have much screen time, but shined in all of her scenes!, i loved her. Gina Gershon is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS!, and is excellent with what she had to do, she had, great chemistry with Cage, and was just fantastic in her scenes, wish she had more screen time though!. . Alessandro Nivola is good as the weasel brother. Rest of the cast do fine. Overall Go see it right this instant, it's now one of my favorite movies. ***** out of 5
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Nicholas Cage could have given the Joker a run for his money!
GirishGowda2 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage) is an accomplished international assassin & Shaun Archer (John Travolta) is the head of an anti-terrorism police force. While on a mission to kill Shaun, Troy accidentally kills Shaun's little son. So, Shaun now makes it his life's mission to bring Troy to justice & gain peace of mind for himself. When Troy goes into a coma during his escape from the police, Shaun learns that he is planning to blow up a square mile of the city. So, with the help of ultramodern technology, Shaun transforms into Troy to get the information about the location of the bomb from Troy's younger brother & only three people know about this. Then Troy wakes up from his coma, transforms himself into Shaun, kills everyone who knows about the procedure & goes to live in Shaun's home. Can the real Shaun protect his family and thousands of people and show he is not Troy to everybody?

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.

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Woo Never Saw An Explosion He Didn't Like
ccthemovieman-113 May 2006
Yes, make no mistake: this is a very entertaining, very stylish film, done by Hong Kong action guru John Wood and featuring two fine actors. However, its almost too much to watch in one viewing. It just wears you out! If this film was cut from 140 minutes to 120 it would have been much easier to watch.

Woo's action scenes includes tons of explosions and breaking glass. This director just can't get enough of those explosion scenes. Some of those segments are excellent but many of them go on too long, particularly at the end of the film where it went on what seemed like forever.

The best part of the film are the two lead actors and the interchangeable characters they play. John Travolta and Nicholas Cage are extremely entertaining in here. If they kept the story more about those guys and their switched identities and didn't have eight thousand explosions, this could have a super movie.
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Brilliant. High Class Action.
mooncheese_431 October 2005
Possibly John Woo's greatest American film yet. Watching it brings out my emotions from start to finish and the action scenes were done with the style of a master director known as John Woo. Even though he has made some movies that are not that impressive, it seems that he uses the style of A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2, the emotions of The Killer and the action of Hard Boiled, and incorporates all of this to make one awesome blockbuster featuring top actors such as John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. These two actors make the movie work and if Woo used different actors it would not have worked. Travolta and Cage changing roles from good to bad and bad to good is superb as both actors change their emotions as the characters change their identities. A must see for all John Woo and action fans and definitely the movie to have as a collectors item. John Woo's American Masterpiece is worth every dollar you spend on it.
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Great action flick with an unusual twist
blanche-22 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw Face/Off in the theater and I enjoyed it very much. I say it's a great action flick with an unusual twist because there's some actual acting going on and a storyline. It's got a real sci-fi premise to it, switching faces, which feeds into the fantasy life of those of us who want to call 1-800-FACEOFF and get a Charlize Theron face.

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.
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One of the most appealing, richest, touching, action films in a long time.
hu67522 September 2007
Sean Archer (John Travolta) is a FBI Agent, who tries to capture "Terrorist for Hired" Caster Troy (Oscar-Winner:Nicolas Cage). Sean also has an personal vendetta against Caster, when Caster accidentally killed Sean's son (Myles Jeffery). When Sean finally caught Caster in a airport and knocking him down with an air vent. Sean thinks it's finally over until an mysterious Doctor (CCH Pounder) knows that Caster was hired to plan an Bomb somewhere in LA. While his ex-partners knows nothing about the bomb. Caster's brother (Alessandro Nivola) is refusing to talk. The Doctor proposed to Sean to disguise as Caster Troy by using his face! Which it's seems possible by switching identities and using voice spots as well to sound like Caster with the help of another doctor (Colm Feore). This operation is an success and Sean is going to prisoner as Caster to find out, where's the bomb is by meeting his brother. But when the real Castor awakens from his Coma without an face, Castor uses the two doctors by putting Sean's face and stealing his identity. Caster also killed the doctors and killing Sean's partner (Robert Wisdom). Because they are the only ones, who the dark secret between Sean and Castor. Now Castor as Sean is having an great time by having his job, sleeping with his wife (Joan Allen) and using Sean's daughter (Dominique Swain) more to be a criminal as well. Castor in the identity of Sean using the hero credit by disarming the bomb. Now Sean is furious and he escapes from prison. Now Sean has to face his wife by telling the truth and posing as Caster to meet his dangerous criminal buddies for help.

Directed by John Woo (Broken Arrow, Hard Target, The Killer) made an One of a Kind action film with an preposterous premise that actually works. Which it was originally written as a Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller. But director Woo and screenwriters changed the premise sightly to be in modern today instead. Travolta and Cage are extremely good in their roles by giving heart and soul to this excellent action movie. These two actors are also having an great time playing these characters Over the Top as well. Woo is an expert for creating memorable dynamic action sequences and as well making these characters human as well. There's one stand-out sequence, when the point of view of a little boy (David McCurley) is listening to "Over the Raindow" while watching People getting killed all over him is unexpectedly touching and beautiful in a dark way.

The DVD is a 10th anniversary edition, which this DVD is a 2-Disc Set. Disc One has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an aggressively loud DTS 6.1 Expanded Surround Sound (Also in Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex). Disc one includes an running commentary by the director and the two screenwriters Mike Werb (Darkman 3:Die Darkman Die, Curious George, The Mask) & Michael Colleary (Firehouse Dog, Lara Croft:Tomb Raider). Disc 1 also has an other commentary track by the screenwriters and as well Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by the filmmakers. Disc 2 includes an fascinating one-hour documentary of the film with many new interviews with the cast & crew (expect for Travolta and Cage, sadly "although vintage interviews was used in the DVD"), 25 minute documentary of the films of John Woo and the original theatrical trailer. This film certainly made an impact, once it was release in the summer of 1997 and it went on to have an huge following. Once it released on Video and DVD. This film is still John Woo's best American film to date. I think it's one of those films that Woo will have an hard time to top this one. Because this is an extraordinary picture. Don't miss it. Plenty of familiar faces appears in bit parts, including an young Thomas Jane as a prisoner, John Bloom (Better known as Joe Bob Briggs) and Danny Masterson as a Would-Be Rapist. Two Time Oscar-Winner:Michael Douglas is one of the executive producers of this instant action classic. Panavision. (**** ½/*****).
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Preposterous fun – big, loud and exciting with a master at the helm
bob the moo8 February 2002
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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