Face/Off

1997

Face/Off (1997)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 Troy has planted a time bomb, with a biological payload that could destroy the entire city of Los Angeles -- and Troy isn't about to say where it is. The only other person who knows the bomb's location is Troy's brother, Pollux (Alessandro Nivola), who is no more helpful than Castor. FBI scientists hatch a plan: they have developed an experimental surgery which would allow them to graft Troy's face temporarily on Archer's head and allow him to question Pollux as if he were his brother. But after Archer has taken Troy's face, Troy regains consciousness and forces the doctors to give him Archer's face. Now the criminal mastermind has the FBI at his disposal, and the lawman is underground with few places to turn. Along with Woo's usual elaborately choreographed action scenes, Face/Off features a number of notable supporting performances, including Joan Allen as Archer's wife, Colm Feore and C.C.H. Pounder as FBI scientists, and Gina Gershon as Troy's loyal but long-suffering girlfriend. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

John Travolta
as Sean Archer
Nicolas Cage
as Castor Troy
Joan Allen
as Eve Archer
Alessandro Nivola
as Pollux Troy
Gina Gershon
as Sasha Hassler
Dominique Swain
as Jamie Archer
Nick Cassavetes
as Dietrich Hassler
Colm Feore
as Dr. Malcolm Walsh
Harve Presnell
as Victor Lazarro
John Carroll Lynch
as Prison Guard Walton
CCH Pounder
as Dr. Hollis Miller
Robert Wisdom
as Tito Biondi
Thomas Jane
as Burke Hicks
Matt Ross
as Loomis
Romy Walthall
as Kimberly
Paul Hipp
as Fitch
Kirk Baltz
as Aldo Adino
Lauren Sinclair
as Agent Winters
Ben Reed
as Pilot
Del Zamora
as Janitor
Lisa Boyle
as Cindee
Megan Paul
as Adolescent Girl
Mike Werb
as Iris's Dad
Tom Reynolds
as LAPD Cop
Steve Hytner
as Interrogating Agent
Myles Jeffrey
as Michael Archer
Carmen Thomas
as Reporter Valerie
Walter Scott
as Port Police Commander
Brooke Leslie
as ER Nurse
David McCurley
as Adam Hassler
Cam Brainard
as Dispatcher
David Warshofsky
as Bomb Leader
John Neidlinger
as Bomb Technician
Norm Copton
as Cigarette Guard
Gregg Shawzin
as Lock Down Guard
Clifford Einstein
as Restorative Surgeon
Marco Kyris
as Recreative Guard
Tom Fridley
as Prison Guard
Andrew Wallace
as Altar Boy
Chic Daniel
as FBI Squad Leader
John Bloom
as Prison Medical Technician
Laurence Walsh
as Walsh Clinic Nurse
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News & Interviews for Face/Off

Critic Reviews for Face/Off

All Critics (85) | Top Critics (27)

Woo, a master of poetical carnage, mixes kitsch, sadism, sentiment and comedy with choreographic precision.

Feb 27, 2018 | Full Review…
Newsweek
Top Critic

I won't pretend that I completely enjoyed it, but it certainly has a few elements that I've never seen before. Action aficionados will undoubtedly slobber all over themselves.

Jul 28, 2015 | Full Review…
CNN.com
Top Critic

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

Aug 2, 2013 | Full Review…

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

Aug 2, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

It's sick, slick and sensational.

Aug 2, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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

Aug 2, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Face/Off

½

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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.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

½

"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. Photobucket 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. "

♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

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!

Naveen Krishnasamy
Naveen Krishnasamy

Super Reviewer

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