Face/Off - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Face/Off Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 13, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2012
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!
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2012
The beginning of the downfall of both Nick Cage and Travolta.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2012
Another Woo masterwork but this time the action he is known for best is overshadowed by the brilliant acting of the two leads. This is what a action should movie should be.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
In one of the more psychological action films to star the ambivalent Nicolas Cage, the tangled pasts and frightening motives of a serial killer, psychotic, and career criminal, who has assumed the identity of his worst enemy and our hero, comes forth. The reason the tension between the two characters works so well is because they aren't simple characters. Cage's insanity is there just because, he is in fact a disturbed and complex character, confronted by morality on a daily basis and in the most sinister of ways, reveals his own ridiculous actions by cramming evil down his own throat. The science behind the operations and the dastardly plot isn't what makes me uneasy about giving this film a glowing review. I can deal with a high level of suspension of disbelief based on my own love of action films, but it's the way everything is directed, the photography, the presentation of certain scenes, that just irked me. The plot got so tangled up in itself while trying to be climactic, that it became a lack of easy effects and witty dialogue. Woo is an accomplished director, and his way of doing things isn't wrong, but for my tastes I would never create scenes that are so distorted and airy, with that ugly soundtrack, that at times I wasn't certain if they were dream sequences, mock endings, or what the director wants us to perceive. Travolta, who plays over the top with an air of pretension in the Castor role, does come off as human through and through. Sean Archer, though portrayed by two separate actors, is composed and fleshed out. He is not only likable, but truly an original figure in action films. He has problems with his wife, daughter, the death of his son, and his work taking down Castor Troy. The action was inciting, the explosions annoyingly unrealistic, and the relationship betweent the two halves didn't seem completely real because Troy's motivation isn't apparent. I still don't understand why Troy exists as a character, and what his actions mean in the context of his life, his role in this vendetta against Archer. The cast is phenomenal, including a big lipped Gina Gershon and a trembling rebel of a wife played by Joan Allen. It was entertaining without being highly cerebral. I only wish I could have enjoyed it without pretension.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2011
Face/Off was a good action film, and probably one of the better films of Nicholas Cage. I quite enjoyed the film considering that both Nick Cage and John Travolta are so-so actors. The concept for the film was good, and quite interesting. But the film is far from perfect. I very much enjoyed the film, but I felt that the film could have been much better than this. There are some good action scenes here, but at times the film does fall flat. John Woo has always been hit and miss and with Face/Off he succeeds at creating a good action film, but it definitely isn't perfect. A good effort, but not even close to a flawless action film. Unfortunately the film has little substance, but works only as a popcorn flick. The story was great, but instead of really developing the plot, John Woo took the easy way out. The thrills are plentiful, but the plot suffers. Face/Off is a good popcorn flick, nothing more. The film is worth watching, but is actually quite forgettable. John Woo always goes for the mindless thrills, which is good, but where he lacks is effective story development Face/Off is a good film, but it lacks in some areas. The performances could have been much better, and the story could have been better developed too. But that's what you get when you watch a John Woo film. A good action film, but it leaves a lot for improvement.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2011
I loved this movie. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage were tremendous. The action was awesome, beyond most action films I have ever seen. The plot is so imaginative and original, it deserved an Oscar nom. The music was intense, & it was perfect. Basically, this movie is amazing, and so original that its too good for the big screen.
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2006
Director, John Woo's American action masterpiece. It's utterly mind-blowing and endlessly heart pounding from start to finish. An incredibly spectacular action-packed thrill-ride. One of the best action movies you'll ever see. Incredible action sequences that you wont forget, from the opening gun battle at the airport to the concluding boat chase. A feast for the eyes and ears. An amazing ballet of bullets, brains, explosions, emotion and awesome performances by Nicholas Cage and John Travolta.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2006
An obsessive FBI agent goes undercover by switching identities with a comatose psychotic terrorist but when he reawakens and kills everyone who knows about it they find themselves leading each others lives. The idea of Face/Off had a lot of potential but instead of exploring the psychology involved, Woo decided to just have his slo-mo stars flip-flopping around with guns blazing while blowing the scenery up, and that's about it. In fact Face/Off can be seen as the prototype to the modern action film; but I don't mean that in a good way. It plays out EXACTLY like a Michael Bay film, with associated over the top but unexciting and generic action sequences, absurdly overblown and contrived melodrama and laughable sentimentality. As the film goes on the directorial gimmickry gets more and more intrusive as by the absurd finale including a ridiculous speedboat chase that's straight out of a bad 80s Bond film I'd become totally exasperated. There are some decent shoot outs and Travolta has some fun aping Nic Cage's appalling over-acting but as a whole its ludicrous Van Damme standard script and clod-hopping over-direction are examples of everything that's wrong with the modern blockbuster. At least it did it first, I suppose...
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2010
A fun popcorn blockbuster... I just didn't dig John Travolta's acting. This was the time when Nicolas Cage was actually okay.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2010
one of the best action film ever.
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2010
Probably one of the best straight up action movies of the nineties. It's so bizarre, crazy and downright cool. While making no sense in the real world, it really does have its own sense of rules. The face swap aspect is such a great technique and is more interesting than it rightfully should be. Part of this goes to the performances from Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Both do great eccentric imitations of each other and make convincing characters at the same time. The other reason it tends to be so well done is John Woo's amazing action sequences and directing. While this isn't always his strong suit, action movies tend to go better with his style. The slow motion and rapid gunfire look tasteful in this rather than corny. On top of all that, it's just a flat out entertaining movie. At not one point are you left wanting to be somewhere else.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2010
I have been wondering so much about this movie, and from the first time I heard about it, I thought it was going to be like an action films with a freaky friday feel! Wow, was I wrong! Every situation was well shot, and the acting was great! To top it off, the action was incredible! What a fantastic film!
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2006
Yes I'm recommending this AGAIN. When John Woo was finally let off the Hollywood chains which stifled his start in Hollywood, the result was a masterpiece which defined the new sky high limits of adrenaline fueled action that will stand the test of time and is an instant classic.Aside from the operatic display of guns and violence, Travolta and Cage, two of Woo's favourite actors, combine to great the most dangerous and deadliest enemies to grace the screen, the literal live wire tension and crackling energy between the two is beyond good and evil, it's another universe in itself. A flawed, broken FBI agent out for revenge, hunting down his worst enemy and nightmare, a psychotic criminal genius without remorse or a conscience, that it nearly drives him insane.... and nearly does when switches identities with his mortal enemy for an undercover mission... only to discover the trap has reversed and his now the hunted.Losing everything but his hatred, he decides to play the game his way.... and becomes the person he hates.The script is perfect, the music score is perfect, there is no limit in this movie to what is possible or not, it happens and it doesn't just happen.... it annihilates everything and anything. There is no flaw that I can see at all. It is without a doubt, the perfect action movie, and its hard to beat. Just watch it yourself and see why.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2009
I've told everyone this is an all-time favorite movie of mine since I saw it at the theater when it was new....and it still is a favorite and probably always will be....for a long time I said it was my absolute favorite. Everything about it's just plain awesome, the action, the sarcasm, the story, etc. etc.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2007
Face/Off may not be John Woo's first Hollywood film, but it is one of his greater Hollywood hits. It deserves to be.What starts as a typical undercover story to find a location of a bomb, Face/Off slowly evolves into something much more engrossing as two men, who have switched faces, set out against each other ... as each other. The run time is a tad long at around 20 minutes past 2 hours and this is because there is quite a bit of time spent on the 2 main characters as they settle into their new lives. This does help because it does have an effect on what happens later on.The multiple firefights have John Woo's signature all over them as bullets fly all over the place. They are entertaining and the standoffs, including the mirror and church scenes, between the 2 characters are nicely done.Both John Travolta and Nicolas Cage put on excellent performances as both get a chance to play the good guy and the bad guy. Their lines of dialogue are great to listen to. Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, and Dominique Swain have other notable characters.Face/Off has a creative story, amusing characters, and a decent amount of firefights to make this a fantastic action thriller.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2006
A really really interesting story which could not be possible. The talent was fantastic and was really believable. Got me stuck right in.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
John Woo's best movie and probably the only "3 stars or higher" rating he'll ever get from me. The far-fetched story requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief, but the action is so intense and thrilling that you really won't think too much of it. The only thing that got a major reaction out of me was the whole face transplant scene, because at the time this movie was released, it seemed totally unbelievable. Quite recently, however, I heard somewhere that the medical technology for said procedure actually exists now (even if the results are obviously far from as perfect as they are here), which is pretty cool as it shows that this movie was way ahead of its time. That fact alone earns it some extra kudos.
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