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Face/Off (1997)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 82
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 7

John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.


Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 1

John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 447,822

My Rating

Movie Info

The third of John Woo's American-made feature films, Face/Off stars John Travolta as Sean Archer, an FBI agent obsessed with capturing Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), a criminal genius who years before killed Archer's son while trying to assassinate the agent. Archer's single-minded pursuit of Troy has caused serious harm to his marriage, but Archer thinks the light may have appeared at the end of the tunnel when a seriously wounded Troy is captured in a bloody shootout. However, it turns out that


Action & Adventure

Mike Werb, Michael Colleary

Oct 6, 1998

Paramount Pictures

Watch It Now


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All Critics (82) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (7) | DVD (27)

[A] gorgeously shot, repetitively violent, occasionally repellent, sometimes silly and consistently trashy fantasy.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its fiery explosions, Face/Off just kind of implodes.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's sick, slick and sensational.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Face/Off, Woo sweeps us away again, into a world of wild action, heroism, villainy and double faces that turn deadly.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A knockout new thriller by John Woo.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Face/Off is a full-blooded, movie-going experience. It's 100 percent movie.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Face/Off is a giant step for a filmmaker known more for action sequences than psychological insight.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

An engaging and at times sophisticated story of identity and behavior, wearing the leering face of a farcical action cartoon.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

What really makes Face/Off tick, what sells the movie more than anything else, are the dazzling performances from the two leading men.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Woo more than delivers in the overblown action stakes. It's also patently evident that both stars are having a ball sending up each other's mannerisms.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Face/Off is a masterpiece equal to the action classics Seven Samurai, The Wild Bunch and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

[Woo] benefits from the dual performances of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, who alternately glower and boogie their way through creepy material that would have been far beyond the reach of lesser stars.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Spokesman-Review (Washington)
Spokesman-Review (Washington)

The visuals are impossibly glossy and the sound impossibly loud. Every frame glistens with that antiseptic precision of advertising. Even the slightest emotional vibration is writ in 100-point type,

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Cage is good, Travolta is better. There is a glee to his performance, a sheer joy at playing two roles in one. He's having a rip-roaringly good time, and so are we.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

This is the ultimate Woo movie, but while his fans will enjoy every minute, others will find it too long, repetitive, and violent.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Though the plotting is preposterous, this is John Woo's most successful American movie, demonstrating his unique signature as auetur applied to a a blockbuster.

June 19, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comment (1)

Overwrought, sci-fi crime thriller. Not for kids.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Face/Off

September 24, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

This film might have been better if done with today's CGI. But then again, maybe not. The story's kinda foolish and no amount of modern technology can make it seem like Travolta can act. Travolta is the single worst element of this film -- his acting is so bad, it's a distraction.
June 13, 2013

Super Reviewer

"Face/Off is one of my all time favorite thriller/action movies. Travolta and Cage have great chemistry and I would really like to see them do another film together. They both play crazy well. Cage in the opening scene makes me laugh every time. I love him when he plays crazy.

The movie is about a terrorist named Castor Troy and the cop, Sean Archer who has a personal vendetta in putting him away.
The movie is packed with action and great performances.
This will always be my favorite Travolta and Cage film. "
February 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

I was far too young to fully appreciate this movie when it came out, but I remember my father and uncle continually raving about it, claiming it to be the best action movie out at the time!
Upon watching this recently, I'm going to make a bold claim. I'd say this is one of the best action movies, period.
I truly believe that Hollywood never saw the best of John Woo. However, if there were any movies directed during his foray into Tinseltown that even came close to the grandiose HK action belters he is famous for, Face/Off was the best of them by a stretch.
The action sequences are haughty and adrenaline-induced! The opening and closing set pieces are particularly breathtaking. John Woo's famous 'bullet-ballet' is on full display, along with all the ridiculous firework-explosions, crimson backdrops, slow-mo diving shots, metal scenery, infinite-ammo weaponry and white doves we've come to expect from him!
The premise of this film is deliciously ridiculous and adds a delectable flavour to the mayhem. The dialogue is over-the-top, stereotypical and campy in the way a 90s action flick's should be. The characters are incredibly archetypal; a madman megalomaniacal baddie and a downtrodden cop who deals with the death of his son by investing himself completely in his work (at the expense of tending to his family).

Yet it all makes for a remarkable chemistry that works on every level! Special mention must go to Nic and John who play their parts so well, and each other's even better!
Basically, I love this film!
If you love action flicks, then watch it! NOW! You will not be disappointed!
In fact, make a night of it! 'Con Air', 'The Rock' and 'Face/Off'. DO IT!
October 4, 2012
Naveen Krishnasamy

Super Reviewer

    1. Sean Archer: Sasha, I'm Castor, that's Archer.
    2. Sasha Hassler: Yeah? I'm bored.
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
    1. Sean Archer: I don't think you heard me Jaime! You're going to be seeing some changes around here.
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
    1. Jamie Archer: Dad, you're not respecting my boundaries!
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
    1. Sean Archer: Clod! No daughter of mine would shoot so wide.
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
    1. Castor Troy: Dr Walsh! I was enjoying some of your groovy painkillers!
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
    1. Pollux Troy: I am the only one in the family with looks now.
    – Submitted by sean b (9 months ago)
View all quotes (20)

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