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FACE/OFF

SYNOPSIS:
FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (Travolta) tries to locate a biological weapon placed in Los Angeles by sadistic terrorist-for-hire and criminal mastermind Castor Troy (Cage). Archer has hunted Troy for the last 8 years, and is consumed by revenge because Troy is responsible for the death of Archer's son. To do this, Archer must "borrow" Troy's face using a surgical procedure to go undercover as Troy, but things go wrong when Troy assumes the identity of Archer.

"When John Woo says Action!, he means it; not satisfied with running interpersonal gun battles, Woo has his actors, dive, fly, leap, tumble and pirouette during the rapid fire exchanges, edited to great effect, giving us a balletic display that adds to the filmís cartoon strip quality. Thatís not a put down but a categorisation: the film is a fantasy trip, the kind you would expect to find in better comic books. Surgeons can remove faces and complete the body switch operation with such perfection that wives fail to recognise frauds in bed; the facial surgery leaves no scars; the voices are fixed up by implanted microchip gizmos . . . Many of the ingredients defy credibility, but then they happen in another world, not the one you are sitting in - but the one you bought a ticket for. Face/Off marries medical techno-wizardry with stunt work of the highest order, and beneath all the effects and action is a script that dares to be as bold as the visuals. It weaves in family morals, love and decency, the generation gap and even a touch of spirituality. And a lot of big bangs."
Andrew L. Urban

"Hang on to whatever, and prepare to be truly blown away by the most exhilarating and dynamic action film of the year. OK, so the plot is absurd, and reality never sets in here, but leave all that behind, and with John Woo back in top form, you have an action film with more depth and sense of character, than any other film in the genre of recent memory. The action sequences have been perfectly choreographed like a ballet, each step a wonder to behold, visually expressive and exciting to watch. The sequence where a young child is listening to 'Over the Rainbow' while bullets weave and spin around him is cinematic poetry, as Woo comments on the relationship between innocence and destruction. It's one of many fine moments. But it's also a film that belongs to its actors, each of whom has to play the other's character, and they work some wonderful magic, Travolta in particular, who seizes his 'Cage' sequences with humour and intelligence. It's a masterful performance in a genre that rarely gives actors room to move. Even the women are able to add something here, especially Gina Gershon who continues to do such fine work in a man's genre. Her few moments on screen are beautiful to watch. From performances to the stylisation of the action, Face/Off is a movie that not only bristles with consistent energy, but with humanity and profoundness. It's a wild ride for action buffs and beyond."
Paul Fischer

"There are innumerable compelling reasons to see Face/Off - Nicolas Cage and John Travolta are two. Directed with flair and pizzaz, Face/Off is a spectacular explosion of nail-chomping suspense and sensational action; all maximised by the enormous star power and inspired performances of Cage and Travolta. A bit over the top? So what? After all, isnít anything and everything possible in Hollywood? John Woo delivers all the goods, and marries extravagant action fireworks with an undercurrent of vulnerable emotions. Starting with a fine script sensitively handled, Cage and Travolta have plenty of opportunity to show their amazing ranges; their multi-dimensional characterisations drawing us deep into the minds of each. Complex, gripping and visually enthralling, Face/Off never drags or sags. And what intriguing mind games this plot premise can bring. No one can bargain for the kind of emotional turmoil encountered; perception is everything. Within the old battle of good versus evil, we see that life is not so black and white; the big up-side is that no-one is all bad. With awesome stunts (the scenes on the water are mind-blowing), Face/Off is an action and emotional rollercoaster, which erupts into the biggest screen thrill of the year."
Louise Keller

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FACE/OFF(MA) (US)

CAST: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain, Nick Cassavetes, Harve Presnell, Colm Feore, John Carroll Lynch, CCH Pounder, Robert Wisdom, Margaret Cho, Jamie Denton, Matt Ross

PRODUCER: David Permut, Barrie M. Osborne, Terence Chang, Christopher Godsick

DIRECTOR: John Woo

SCRIPT: Mike Werb, Michael Colleary

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Wood

EDITOR: Christian Wagner, Steven Kemper

MUSIC: John Powell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Neil Spisak

RUNNING TIME: 138 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 28, 1997







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