Time: 138 mins.
Academy Award nomination for Sound Effects Editing.
There's no denying that John Woo is a fantastic action director. The way he moves the camera and sets up his stunts are unlike anything that American filmmakers produce. But a film should be about more than the next gun battle or explosion. And even though the acting in FACE/OFF is a sight to behold, it is at times so over-the-top that I didn't know who was going to vomit from sheer scene-chewing first, Travolta or Cage.
To begin with, Cage is this ultra mean criminal that Travolta, an FBI agent, has been trying to capture for years, not only for his various atrocities against the general populace but because he killed Travolta's young son. This is the first thing I had a problem with. Travolta's son is killed in a public place by a sniper with a bullet meant for him. If he didn't see the killer how does he know it was Cage? Being an FBI agent, I'm sure he had many enemies. But he's just sure it was Cage, so he just hates, hates, hates him. Whatever.
Cage is finally captured, but is injured trying to escape, winding up in a supposed irreversible coma. He is a vegetable, or so the doctors say. This makes Travolta very happy, except for one thing. Cage planted a bomb somewhere in Los Angeles right before he was captured and it's scheduled to detonate within a few days. In order to find out where the bomb is, Travolta goes along with this top secret plan only two people in his organization know about to undergo this leading edge plastic surgery technology which will give him Cage's face so he can infiltrate the jail as Cage and get the info from Cage's brother. Why they didn't just beat it out of the brother, I'll never know. Then again, if they had, there wouldn't be a movie.
They also implant a microchip in Travolta's throat so he'll sound like Cage as well. So now, we have Cage, pretending to be Travolta pretending to be Cage. And Travolta pretending to be Cage pretending to be Travolta. Believe it or not, this part of the film works. They each got to play both characters which must have been quite a unique acting experience. You'd think that it would be hard to make the characters consistent, but it shows their acting expertise because they nailed them. I never doubted either's performance.