COLUMN: “Face/Off”: an exciting and shameless action extravaganza


Rob Le Cates

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television and video production major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Drew Coffey, Columnist

Realistic Plot? No. Realistic acting? No. Realistic action?  Definitely not. A fun and exciting film? Absolutely. 

This film is “Face/Off” starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, and Dominique Swain and was directed by John Woo.  

It tells the story of FBI agent Sean Archer, played by Travolta, who obsessively tries to bring down terrorist and murderer of his son Castor Troy, played by the always psychotic Nicolas Cage.  

After Castor Troy is put in a coma, Sean Archer undergoes a procedure to replace Troy’s face with his to get information from his brother about a bomb that could kill thousands. After Troy wakes up from his coma, he takes Archer’s face to get revenge.  

Like I said earlier, this film is logically nonexistent.  

The science behind the procedure and the implications that Cage and Travolta, actors with completely different physical builds, are even remotely compatible for the surgery is laughable in itself.  

However, what is commendable is that this film boldly knows the hilarity of the plot and uses it in its favor.  

They quickly breeze past through the scientific jargon and get right into the bloody and flashy action.  

The action in the film is an astounding spectacle with heavy gunfire, large explosions, and tons of casualties.  

John Woo, director of films such as “Broken Arrow” and “Mission Impossible II,” is a master of entertaining and eye-opening action that holds your attention until the final bullet is shot.  

Travolta and Cage are masterfully unhinged in “Face/Off.” 

Travolta has a field day playing a deranged criminal with many chuckle-worthy scenes that make the film highly enjoyable.  

Cage is obviously great as Castor Troy but plays a more subtle and mentally conflicted character when he is acting as Sean Archer.  

Both actors are amazing at switching their performances in the film and are unpredictable about what they will do to take each other down.  

A notable scene is when Cage has switched faces with Travolta’s character but must act like Castor Troy while in prison. The facial changes that Cage has in this scene are wild but appropriate for the situation.  

The cinematography in the film is also very complex, especially in action scenes. 

One shot in particular is when both men are fighting each other and find themselves near a two-way mirror. This results in a visually intriguing moment between the two as they continue the fight.  

With John Woo directing, there are many slow-motion shots and an abundance of dramatic doves flying in the air as sparks fly.  

Face/Off is a film that knows what it is. It provides grade A action while using its entertaining plot to carry itself and its character’s stories.  

If you are a sharp criticizer of logic and realism in movies, you might be hesitant to check this one out.  

However, the movie serves as a great time and has performances from well-known actors fully indulged in the wackiness of the story.  

My overall rating: 4/5 

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.