Twenty years ago, the idea of an action movie directed by John Woo and starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta sounded like the perfect summer action movie. Twenty years later, what exactly were we thinking? Face/Off isn't a bad movie by any means. What it is, however, is utterly batshit insane. If you have, for any reason, forgotten just how crazy this movie really is, the nice folks at Honest Trailers are here to remind you. Check it out.
While the main focus of Face/Off is really the action set pieces created by director John Woo, that and the doves. The acting performances in the movie truly should not be overlooked. Not because they're good, but because they're nuts. Face/Off might be the movie in which we all discovered just how crazy Nicolas Cage could be on screen. His facial expressions in this film are the stuff memes are made of. The best moments aren't even when Cage is playing villain Castor Troy, it's when he's supposed to be hero Sean Archer pretending to be Castor Troy. Somehow the extra layer just adds so much more crazy to the performance.
While most summer action movies ask the audience to suspend disbelief, Face/Off pretty much asks the audience to suspend their disbelief over a pool filled with sharks. The movie sees a cop going undercover as the criminal he's been hunting by undergoing a face transplant procedure. Then the criminal wakes from a coma and, having no face of his own anymore, gets the cop's face transplanted on him, because it happens to be sitting around, I guess. This is one of those "turn your brain off" movies to say the least. If you can do that, it's not half bad. John Woo is doing some impressive work when it comes to the action, that can't really be denied.
The Honest Trailer points out that originally Face/Off was planned to be team up movie for Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is fitting, because as crazy as it sounds, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta were about as close to Stallone and Schwarzenegger as we got in the mid-1990s. Face/Off was the third big action movie for Nicolas Cage following The Rock and Con Air. For his part, John Travolta tended to follow up his Pulp Fiction success with other dramatic roles, but this was his second action movie of the era following Broken Arrow. Look, Dwayne Johnson was still wrestling so this was the best we could do in the 90s.
It's hard to believe it's been two decades since we experienced Freaky Friday with guns. Face/Off is ridiculous and a lot of people probably can't get past its premise, but if this one has gotten past you, it's probably worth checking out once just so you can say you've seen it.