movie film review | chris tookey

Face/ Off

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  Face/ Off Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
7.60 /10
Sean Archer ............ John Travolta , Castor Troy ............ Nicolas Cage , Eve Archer ............. Joan Allen
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Directed by: John Woo
Written by: Mike Werb and Michael Colleary

Released: 1997
Origin: US
Length: 140

PRO Reviews

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"Like a blast of adrenaline. Face/Off is the first summer action movie that is actually thrilling. Directed by Hong Kong action virtuoso John Woo, it is also the most violent. And from the opening scene, which shows a woman being thrown from a plane during takeoff, then bouncing off the tarmac, it is clear that the violence will be neither politically correct nor socially redeeming. But it will be great fun. Woo choreographs the basic movements - the hail of bullets, the high-speed chase, the flying bodies and breaking glass - with astonishing finesse and exuberance. He favors balletic stunts over special effects. Carnage that would be overkill in the hands of a less-skilled director seems almost transcendent. And because the violence has such a graphic edge, the viewer is forced to ask why it seems so confoundingly beautiful."
(Brian D. Johnson, Maclean's)
"The summer's most thrilling thriller so far... Travolta hasn't been this mesmerizing a star, or this good an actor, since Pulp Fiction. Obviously thriving under the stewardship of Woo (who also directed him in the less satisfying Broken Arrow ), he draws out a performance from his costar as rigorous as Con Air 's is lazy. Indeed, everyone in Face/Off rises to the joy of making something good (and even funny) as well as big. Joan Allen, as the FBI man's wife, responds in arpeggios of emotion to the disorienting sexual excitement of Troy with Archer's face; Bound's Gina Gershon, as Troy's tense girlfriend, relaxes in the presence of compassionate Archer with Troy's face; as Archer's adolescent daughter, Dominique Swain (she stars in the upcoming Lolita ) works smoothly with Travolta as real dad and as dangerously false dad."
(Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)
"A complete and total blast. In addition to stunning action sequences - its climactic speedboat scene puts the lumbering Speed 2 to shame - Face/Off has what The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Con Air, Batman & Robin and the summer's other big movies are missing: characters with intellect enough to reflect on their actions."
(Leah Rozen, People Weekly)
"Does have plenty of explosions and chase sequences, along with Niagaras of shattered glass, geysers of bullets, cyclones of somersaulting stuntmen. That's because it was directed by John Woo (The Killer, Bullet in the Head ), who made his reputation in Hong Kong as a Chinese hybrid of Sam Peckinpah and Vincente Minnelli. Face/Off is his third made-in-America picture but the first in which a studio has allowed him to do his stuff, orchestrating and choreographing images with an exuberance that needs no justification. And yet, thanks to Woo and screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary, it has one... The actors have a great time doing each other's shtick; the characters go nuts, since they see their worst enemy every time they look in the mirror. Travolta wins the cool-dude contest (again); Cage tops his personal best for mugging; Joan Allen and Gina Gershon get to play big, credible supporting roles. Every other Hollywood "action" director (such as Batman & Robin's Joel Schumacher) had better start looking for a new line of work."
(Stuart Klawans, Nation)
"This business of exchanged identities is, of course, not new to drama. Shakespeare enjoyed having characters play each other (see "Twelfth Night"), and in Chinese and Japanese plays it's common for masks to be used to suggest identity swaps. Here, using big movie stars and asking them to play each other, Woo and his writers find a terrific counterpoint to the action scenes: All through the movie, you find yourself reinterpreting every scene as you realize the "other" character is "really" playing it."
(Roger Ebert)
"As pretty close to genius as you're going to get."
(Sky Magazine)
"The Holy Grail of action movies."
"Puts it in as having a strong claim on the title 'best action film ever made'. Really."
(Adam Smith, Empire)
"Absolutely fucking awesome. The best film ever made since Apocalypse Now , which makes it the second best film ever made. Fact!"
(New Musical Express)

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