#12 Face/Off

#12 Face/Off
Year: 1997
Director: John Woo
MPAA Rating:  R 
Epic Co-stars: John Travolta, Margaret Cho
Running Time: 138 mins.
Cage Time: 50%
Cage Kills: 13
Cage Flip-outs: 8
Martine's Review: I laughed.  I cried.  I dreamed of the slow sensual eating of a (my) peach for hours.  And that was just in the first 10 minutes.  Face/Off did more for me in 30 minutes than 10 Romantic-Comedies combined.  Nicolas Cage starts as Caster Troy, the most ruthless/sexiest super-villain to ever grace the planet earth.  Troy and his brother are terrorists for hire and are responsible for some of the most elaborate terrorist attacks in history.  Castor Troy constantly eludes his arch-nemesis Sean Archer (played by the totally love-handlishous John Travolta) who is a super secret government guy who basically can't even tell his wife what he has for lunch when he's at work.  A few really well thought out twists and turns later the two find themselves in each others bodies impersonating one another while also totally trying to execute their own agendas.  Wow, my juicy peach was on such a wild ride I didn't know up from down, left from right...

Two Nic Cages in one film?  This penetrated my psyche like nobody ever has before: double (psyche) penetration!  Cage as Archer softly tickled the freshly ripe side of my peach as I watched him perfectly portray a noble family man caught in the clutches of the seedy underworld of prison inmates and super-mega sex/drug lairs.  Initially I teared up when I saw Travolta crying out in pain after losing his child, but later when Cage had his turn at the same situation it was too much for me to handle.  I burst out into a full fit, whaling so loudly that my fellow viewers had to make frequent use of the pause button on the remote control.

Which one is Nicolas Cage?  Both of them.
Cage as Troy set ablaze my fully ripe and juicy side as he so confidently and joyously planned and executed mass destruction everywhere he went.  To see the way he cherished and charmed each and every lady he came into contact with made me feel just a drop of regret about the path my personal life has taken, the wife of an engineer who possesses less passion and sexual spontaneity in his entire body than Cage (as Troy, or anyone else for that matter) does in his little toe.

If this is what was waiting for me every Sunday I'd join the church choir in a second. 
With most films, looking beyond Nicolas Cage's performance is futile, but Face/Off still brings several strong and memorable points to mind.  John Woo dazzled me with sultry prison fights,  totally gross ears being shot off of guys heads, mystifying laser ear reconstruction and re-attachment to guys heads, hot guys getting faces lasered off, hot guys with other hotter guys faces, guys that used to be totally hot but now have no face and look totally sick, hot guys being shot by hotter guys with spear guns, totally rad sex/drug lairs with tons of people snorting coke and cussing up a storm, and high flying helicopter / jet / Hummer / boat chases that took my breath away.  I have to say the most heartwarming and simply beautiful moment of the film came during a quite innovative and imaginative music video of my all-time favorite song, "Somewhere over the Rainbow" performed by Olivia Newton-John.  The video exposes the sweet and almost beautiful innocence of a small child clutching a stuffed animal set to the even more beautiful back drop of tons of drugged-out maniacs murdering each other in the aforementioned totally rad drug/sex lair. 

All in all, I think Face/Off draws a close parallel to my own life.  The juxtaposition of my constant struggle between good and evil, my face's transformation from daughter to mother, or my slow but steady decent from a young and free barely-ripe peach into a slightly decayed and withered old piece of fruit trapped in a monotonous and thankless existence that reiterated daily by a loveless marriage and an empty relationship with a spoiled and unruly child.  Alas, at the end of the day none of this really matters because I know that at any point I can slip off my shoes, put in my VHS version of Face/Off, a get double penetrated by Nic Cage for two solid hours which is all a girl like me really wants or needs.

Movie quotability: 5/5
  • "You know, I can uh... eat a peach for hours."
  • "Goddammit! Don't play chicken with a goddamn jet!"
  • "You're not having any fun, are you, Sean?"
  • Troy: "Well, I have got to go. I've got a government job to abuse, and a lonely wife to fuck." [Archer sobs] Troy: "Oh, sorry... make love to."
  • "I want to take his face... off."
  • Dr Walsh: "What do you want?" Troy: "Take one god damn guess."
  • "It's like looking in a mirror, only... not."
  • Troy [reading Archer's wife's diary] "'Date night, fizzled again. We haven't had sex in two months.' ...what a loser."
  • "This nose, this hair... this ridiculous chin."
  • "Dress up like Halloween, and ghouls will try to get in your pants."
  • "Oh well, Plan B. Let's just kill each other."
Plot Holes:
Basically the whole movie, including- 
  • John Travola can drive as fast as a jet in a Humvee, and fly faster than a jet in a helicopter. 
  • Your face can be pulled off like ham off a sandwich, not to mention stuck on someone else's skull and make them look exactly like you.
  • Archer isn't allowed to tell ANYONE about switching faces with Troy (conveniently setting himself up to get screwed later). 
  • Wife woken by husband coming home super late for work and wants to have sex with him. 
  • After taking his face, the feds keep Castor Troy's body alive for no apparent reason.
  • Nic Cage sent to prison as Troy to get info from Pollux, although it seems like they could have just set up a brief meeting to accomplish the same purpose.
  • People heal superfast from facial surgery.
  • Archer has been following Troy for years, but how does Troy know about Archer's family?
  • Archer (as Troy) could still save everyone by telling the cops about the bomb at the Convention Center. 
  • Prison has "System Overload" button.

!Did Her Nails and Read Her Book in the Cage!


Steve M said...

Excellent review Martin, you've mentioned a lot of plot holes that I noticed, including that the whole movie is one big plot hole. One thing I still haven't figured out is how Cage shook off the helicopter at the oil rig and managed to get to land. Yes, there was a boat near by, but I'm sure the guys with guns saw it too.

For some reason I felt like Travolta did a better job of acting like Cage than vice versa. Maybe I just don't know Cage acting acting like Travolta when I see it, but I suspect that the reason is simply that it is easy to act like a screaming maniac, the typical Cage character.

The movie is somewhat enjoyable, but mainly just for the action scenes and making you ponder the twists of looking just like someone else and if you would be able to tell if your spouse had recently turned into another person.

Rilifon said...

Review #8

This another one of the good movies I've watched recently. I mean, they were some glorious 2 hours of weird plotlines, and epic chases and gun fights. And by epic i just mean everything exploding and Nicolas Cage running shooting the air, but one thing at a time.

First of all, the plot goes around Travolta becoming Nicolas Cages, and in some sense, doing an ok job acting as him, and...well... Nicolas Cage supposedly becoming John Travolta but jsut acting as himself the whole movie.

My favorite moments would have to be Nic literraly without a face watching tv and smoking while laughing, or even the awesome boat chase at the end, that ends with Cage crucifying Travolta with a bolt gun.

Travolta also deserves an honouring mention trying to be Cage's character and licking the face of his supposedly daughter in front of her dad. Hilarity ensues.

Cage factor was relatively high in this one, and I would give an 8, in honour of Cage's moments using drugs, and staring at the soul of poor Sasha. John Travolta also gets his credits for weirdly having a fetish for grabbing people's faces.

Overall, I give this one a 8.5. Would watch again.

Also, mentioning Steve doubts, knowing Cage characters, I assume he swam all the way to the island. But how he manage to get to that car while wearing a prison's outfit, and how he changed clothes so suddenly we will never know...

KaBluie said...

#7 = Face/Off (1997) First Time View! Another great movie! Gina Gershon should have been on the list of Epic Co-stars. Not to mention Joe Bob Briggs! That hand gesture which was important seemed weird. Whenever John (as Archer) did it it seemed creepy, when Nic (as Archer) did it it seemed natural.

Post a Comment