An FBI agent and a terrorist—played in highest octane by John Travolta and Nicolas Cage—surgically swap faces, each confronting a version of himself embodied by his adversary. This unusual premise could suggest that the film deliberates on the philosophical dilemmas of identity and the nature of the self, but Face/Off transpires on an alternate plane of sheer irrationality, offering unrelenting, highly stylized, and choreographed physical violence. After two previous failed attempts (1993’s Hard Target and 1996’s Broken Arrow), Woo had finally transported the effects of his celebrated Hong Kong action films to Hollywood. While his subsequent American efforts failed to replicate this triumph, at the time Woo had been an emblem for the transnational ambitions of Hollywood and the global financiers of the late 20th century, his aesthetics formed abroad but packaged stateside and consumed from Boston to Bombay and Beijing.
This film has no current screenings