1997 was Nicolas Cage’s year for action movies as he was in two of the summer’s biggest action movies that year. I already reviewed the first movie so now it’s time for the second one. I remember going to see this in theaters and thinking two thoughts while watching it; the science was complete bullshit and that John Woo can direct some entertaining gun fights. So let’s get on with today’s movie, Face/Off.
The plot: FBI agent Sean Archer has a long standing grudge against international terrorist Castor Troy over the death of his son. After years of effort, Archer finally manages to capture Castor and his brother Pollux, although Castor is left in a coma after the encounter. When Archer learns that Castor had placed a bomb somewhere in L.A., he undergoes a radical surgery where he is given Castor’s face in order to get the information from Pollux. However, the procedure caused Castor to wake up from his come and after getting the procedure done so that he has Archer’s face, he kills the only people that know the truth about which person is which. Now wearing the face of his worst enemy, Archer must somehow escape from the prison he is in, find a way to stop Castor, and reverse the process so that he can get his life back.
Critics were very positive about this movie, giving it a rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some praised John Woo’s action sequences and story telling ability, while others tended to criticize the excessive violence. The general consensus is that :Travolta and Cage Audiences were eager to see it as it earning over $245 million worldwide. Face/Off was nominated for an academy award at the 70th Academy Awards, but it wound up losing to another big budget Paramount movie about some boat that sunk.
Of the two Nicolas Cage movies that came out in 97, this was my favorite. It doesn’t hurt that this was a pretty entertaining movie. I thought the whole concept of the two stars going back and forth from playing the good guys and bad guys was very interesting. Travolta was great in this movie but I honestly liked him better as the bad guy. Cage was ok but I didn’t think he put as much difference into his characters as Travolta did. The action sequences were very well done, as you would expect from a John Woo film, filled with plenty of “gun-fu” fights and lots of doves (seriously, does this guy have some sort of bird fetish). A nice action movie that does not fail to deliver.
So if you are in the mood for a decent action flick, then feel free to give this a shot.
Rating: 3 out of 5