Face/Off – Movie Review!

Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who has boarded a plane in Los Angeles. After the plane crashes and Troy is severely injured, possibly dead, Archer undergoes surgery to remove his face and replace it with Troy’s. As Archer tries to use his disguise to elicit information about a bomb from Troy’s brother, Troy awakes from a coma and forces the doctor who performed the surgery to give him Archer’s face.”

Ranking 7.2 on IMDB and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes!

Face/Off, one of Nicolas Cage biggest 90s movies. They magical days of Cages career in a 90s decade which saw him in blockbusters movies like Con Air, The Rock, Face/Off, Snake Eyes, 8mm, Kiss of Death, Leaving Las Vegas and City of Angels among others.

Run time : 2 hours 18 mins

Director: John Woo

Genre : Action

Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Travolta

Trailer for 1997 Face/off

This is one of the greatest movies ever made, one of my all time favourites and one of Nicolas Cage and John Travolta best movies. It has all the material for a blockbuster action film, including guns fights, fist fights, terrorism, gangsters, crazy protagonists and more than enough likeable characters.

The highlight of this movie is the acting, really superb, surpassing many movies that either actor did after the year 2000. The movie starts with deluded terrorist Castor Troy being apprehended by FBI agent Sean Archer after many years of pursuing him following the murder of Archers son. It has all seemingly been settled, until they discover a bomb will go off and the FBI induct Archer into a top secret program to remove his face and replace it with Castor Troy who is currently in a coma, or so they think. After receiving Troys face, Archer is brought to a secret prison, where inmates are forced to wear metallic magnetic boots which they cannot take off. It is a sadistic prison and Archer, wearing Castors face, has to not only blend in but convince others he is who he says he is, including the terrorists brother, who has doubts.

Not long after extracting the information on the bombs location, Archer is ready to be removed from the prison, however, Troy has escaped, and killed the only people who know about the operation. This is also one of the points I did not understand, surely more than 2 people would know about this, but it addsto the tension and the fear. When Archer is visited in prison by Troy, wearing Archers face, both him and the audience will feel their hearts drop. I know I did, because it really is quite a scary moment in movie history, and the worst part is that these sorts of things are possible.

But this is where the magic happens, as Archer is breaking down, and Castor is reveling in his new found FBI career and new found wife and daughter, we see an incredible transformation in acting and I really believe they studied each other well. As Troy is living with Archers family, the first time I watched this movie, and still to this day, I was surprised that he did not hurt the wife or daugther, physically or sexually. I think it shows a different part of the bad guy, and also shows up how crazy he really is. He even tells the FBI where the bomb is to become an American hero, and free his brother at the same time.

See the source image
Sean Archer as criminal Castor Troy in prison.

I suppose it can be a little confusing when talking about it, but when you watch it I cannot imagine anyone struggling to understand, although when I first watched it I found it slightly difficult to grasp that they were the opposite person because again, the scenes, acting and storyline were convincing.

Of course, what would a 90s action movie be without action. It has plenty of guns fights, plenty of antagonist and protagonist chases and plenty of tensions. Soon, Archer has escaped the prison and brings the fight to the city where he encounters some of Troys well known friends. He also discovers that Troy has a girlfriend of sorts and a son. See, Archer is a FBI agent who caught this major criminal, and he still retains that goodness throughout as he doesn’t actually kill anyone, tries not to, by shooting to the side and maybe disarming. This is important as it shows a clear difference between the real Troy and Archer, yet, nobody knows, and this is blending. He has successfully blended with the criminal world and convinced them that he is still that bad guy. Back to Troys son, Archer does in a sense lie to the mother by saying that he will keep the son safe. This is sort of true, but if he really was Castor Troy it would be lies. At the end of the movie, Archer takes in the son, seemingly to replace his own deceased son Mike.

Before the finale, we have this tens church scene with Troy and Archer. It leads to a gun fight, and a boat chase. One of the most memorable and brilliant endings in any movie, up there with The Rock. It also kept me on edge, as Archer has now convinced his wife, but not his daughter, that he is wearing the bad guys face. This naturally leads to the FBI coming in, with this information and helping, at the end once Archer shoots Troy with a spear. A gruesome death.

I feel like the ending is bittersweet and I never want the movie to end. But of course it does, and it just always feels like a massive action adventure with enough heart and goodness that one can enjoy for many years.

I watched this on Amazon Prime the other day as it was recently added. I had not seen it for years so when it popped up I thought, that is a paid movie or a mistake. They never have movies like this on streaming, probably because it is actually good.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes action, Nicolas cage or just good 90s movies.

Rating; 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 thoughts on “Face/Off – Movie Review!

  1. One of my favourite Nic Cage action movies, aside from Con Air. I always thought it was underestimated, especially as it hasn’t been cool to like Cage movies for a while. A great review and I agree! A top class movie. Some of the themes are dark AF too, especially with the wife and daughter, but I love all that sinister shit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes one of my favourites too. Totally agree that people don’t talk about him too much now… I think they are bringing a movie out about him as a person lol called ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ 🙂


  2. Yes one of my favourites too. Totally agree that people don’t talk about him too much now… I think they are bringing a movie out about him as a person lol called ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ 🙂


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