Discs Are Rated
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage
Written by Mike Webb and Michael Colleary
Directed by John Woo
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround, French Dolby
Digital 2.0 Surround, English and Spanish Subtitles
"It's like looking in a mirror, only not." That line
basically sums up the major plot premise of John Woo's
"Face/Off." The movie revolves around FBI Agent Sean Archer
(John Travolta), whose son was killed several years ago by
renegade terrorist Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage). Since that
time, Archer has been hell-bent on bringing in Troy at any
The question is, how much do you have to know someone
before you can really become him or her? This is the
question that Archer is posed with, as, in order to bring
Troy in once and for all, he must literally become him. The
concept is that through a very technologically advanced
surgery, Archer can have his face removed, and have it
replaced with Troy's. However, with this done, there is
nothing to stop Troy from becoming Archer, and turning the
While the premise may be somewhat far-fetched, the movie
more than made up for it with explanation, to the point
where it seemed believable that this could really happen.
In addition, Cage and Travolta are both excellent on both
sides of the fence, to the point where I forgot that their
character traits were different. By that, I really believed
that Troy had become Archer and vice versa. The supporting
cast, including Joan Allen as Archer's wife, also fill out
their roles very well adding to the overall feel of the
The acting is just one good point to this movie. At
heart, this is a good, old-fashioned action movie. The
movie has some very well conceived and well-executed action
scenes which, rather than disrupting the flow of the plot,
only add to it. The suspense aspect to the movie is also
very compelling, as watching the movie for the first time; I
literally had no idea what was going to happen next.
Overall, this could become one of the classic action movies
given a few years for historical purposes.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is very
crisp and clear, as it should be for a movie so recent. The
colors are bright and vibrant; with the darker colors being
more muted and subdued. There are few to no artifacts, and
no pixelation. Considering this was one of Paramount's
earlier discs, the transfer holds up very well.
Again, the disc comes through in this instance. The
Dolby 5.1 sounds very good, with a lot of explosions,
gunshots, etc. to test the system. Not a reference quality
disc, necessarily, but certainly one that will exercise the
sound system. The dialogue and sound effects work very well
together to create an enjoyable sound experience.
Yawn. While Paramount has started to come through on
some of their more recent titles by including more features
on them, this, like I previously stated, was one of their
initial efforts and thus is fairly devoid of anything extra.
The theatrical trailer is the only special feature here, and while
it is definitely an entertaining trailer, I would have liked
to see something more. There was a making of produced which
would have been a nice inclusion, as would have some
interviews, commentaries, or whatever else Paramount could
have put together.
This definitely ranks fairly high on my list of favorite
'90s movies. The movie is an entertaining thrill-ride, and
is presented very well on this disc. While the lack of
features is somewhat disappointing, it is almost
understandable considering when the disc was released.
There isn't a special edition anywhere on the horizon, so if
you want the movie, this disc is the route to go. High
recommendation, despite the relative lack of features.
(4.5/5, NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)