Face/Off (1997)
Directed by: John Woo
Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Travolta 
Release date: June 27, 1997
Running time: 138 minutes
Number of 'Travolta is gay' or Scientology jokes: 0. You should be impressed. 

This is it, the end of the trilogy. If Con Air was the Star Wars of funny accents, Face/Off is the Empire Strikes Back of stupid faces.

This review is spoiler filled so if you haven’t seen it yet…

Watch this movie if: You want to see Nicolas Cage be Nicolas Cage, and then John Travolta be Nicolas Cage. And doves. 

This John Woo movie about two men switching faces and lives in a cat and mouse game of murder and deception begins with John Travolta and a little boy riding a carousel. FBI agent Sterling Sean Archer (Travolta) is sharing a beautiful father-son moment with six year old Michael. They’re riding around in slow motion laughing and hugging and just having a grand old time. They have this carousel in the middle of nowhere all to themselves and they're hugging and smiling like two lovers being reunited after "The War." To put a cap on this borderline sexual display of affection for his son, Travolta slowly slides his entire hand down Michael’s face in a gesture that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be interpreted as something sweet, but it just comes off really fucking weird.

It’s the most awkward sign of affection possible. It resembles something you would see in a movie like E.T. where he’s trying to show the kid affection but doesn’t understand basic human interaction. If you’re wondering why I’m wasting time pointing out something so insignificant, it’s because it’s the exact opposite. It’s real fuckin’ significant. Because this isn’t just some awkward father-son secret handshake, this is a sign of compassion throughout the entire Archer clan that is sure to bring the scene to a screeching halt every time it happens. It would be less out of place if they fucking did the Kid and Play dance from the House Party movies.

Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) arrives on a hill overlooking the carousel with a sniper rifle and the worst mustache you’ve ever seen. He sets up shop and gets Travolta in his crosshairs.

Price of admission for this mustache ride? Your life.
Cage pulls the trigger while Travolta and his son are sharing another of their many unnecessarily and uncomfortably long hugs and the bullet slams into Archer’s back - and goes right through him and square into little Michael’s noggin. The prologue of this movie is literally Nicolas Cage inadvertently assassinating a six year old. And yes, watching John Travolta cry and hold what’s supposed to be his dead son in his arms is as uncomfortable as you’d imagine.

Danger zone
Six years later Travolta is the head of the FBI’s LA field office and has been relentlessly pursuing Cage, but there are no leads on his current location. Cage’s current location is the LA Convention Center, where he’s arming a bomb. He’s posing as a minister and being as conspicuous as you possibly could be, but apparently nobody notices the priest head banging, grab assing with a choir girl, and singing Hallelujah out of sync with the rest of the choir.



Back at the FBI office Travolta is yelling with FBI Assistant Director in Charge Lazarro over the phone. After he hangs up, his partner Tito runs in to tell him that Cage’s brother Pollux Troy (Alessandro Nivola) has chartered a jet at a nearby airfield. Travolta knows Pollux won't go anywhere without his brother, meaning they finally have a legit chance at catching Cage.

Pollux is shown waiting in his convertible on the tarmac with two cronies/henchmen/stunt doubles. Cage arrives a half hour late and asks Pollux if he's deviated from the plan. Pollux admits to paying for the jet himself to save time. It’s not outright stated, but I’m 99% sure Pollux is autistic. He talks like the aliens from Galaxy Quest and can’t even tie his own shoes. The second part isn’t a joke he’s a domestic terrorist's right hand man but Nic Cage literally bends down and ties his shoes for him before they board the plane.

Once on the plane they are greeted by Agent Some Broad, an undercover agent posing as a flight attendant. Cage greets her by having her sit on his lap as he kindly informs her that he “can eat a peach for hours.” Killin' kids and eatin' snatch. Welcome to Face/Off, bitch. 

Speaking of hummers, the pilot spots one speeding towards them on the runway as he’s trying to takeoff.  Cage heads to the cockpit and sees Travolta is driving the Humvee because of course he is. Agent Some Broad pulls out her pistol and aims it at Cage. Pollux throws his briefcase at her and beats the shit out of her, because an FBI Agent should be overpowered by a 100 pound autistic man who can’t comprehend double knotting his own shoes or the bunny ear method. 

Cage opens the cabin door and holds the now-disarmed Single Female Agent for Archer to see. He shoots her in the back and drops her limp body onto the runway. Travolta has had just about enough of this shit and slams the breaks and jumps into a helicopter, because that’s how you get vengeance.

A bunch of Stupid Bullshit happens that inevitably ends the only way it could in a John Woo movie: Travolta shoots out the engines with a handgun while piloting a helicopter and Cage crashes the plane into a hangar. It’s been 13 god damn minutes and the only things that's blown up are those six year old's brains, so obviously the plane crashes, sparks fly everywhere, and Nic Cage jumps out of the plane while firing two golden pistols at the same time. Because, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s a John Woo movie.

Don't worry, the doves come later
A Big Dumb Gunfight breaks out, in the middle of which Pollux is kicked in the chest and arrested by Agent Margaret Cho. That's not a racist joke, it's literally Margaret Cho. Cage makes his way through the hangar killing agents until he comes across Pollux being handcuffed. Pollux cries out for help but Cage ignores him and moves deeper into the hangar as Travolta and other nameless agents split up and search for him. More extras get shot, more things explode, more sparks fly as people jump over wooden crates.  

Eventually Travolta catches Cage and jams his pistol into his neck. Cage provokes Travolta and claims that he's about to "unleash the biblical plague 'Hell-A' deserves," because "Hollyweird" wasn't clever enough. He offers to spare the city if Travolta lets him and Pollux walk. Travolta believes he's bluffing and Cage starts taunting him about his daughter.

Cage asks Travolta if she's ripe yet and starts barking like a dog, then pulls the trigger. The magazine is empty. Cage gets on his knees and cries, then laughs, then pulls a knife out of his back pocket, and starts singing about how he's ready to die. Before your brain can process all of that happening in the span of 10 seconds, Cage stands up and swings but Travolta kicks the knife out of his hand, then kicks Cage himself in front of the nearby active wind turbine that’s there for some reason. A burst of hot air sends Cage flying into a ventilation grate and he falls to the ground in a crumpled heap. The only hot air hitting me is the hot air from “president" Obummer hitting my paycheck.

I love my dead gay son
Back at the office, Travolta is being congratulated by whatever agents he didn’t get killed on his stupid, reckless manhunt to avenge his dead son. He logs onto his computer and beep boops a bunch of stuff to officially declare the Castor Troy case closed. Movie over, roll credits.

He’s interrupted by Tito and the black woman from The Shield, who produce a floppy disk they found in Pollux’s briefcase.

Travolta ram jams it in his computer and graphics of an animated woman appaer with the sound of moaning. The words “My name is Sinclaire, and I am going to blow you AWAY” appear on screen. As “AWAY” appears, the animated woman turns into a skeleton. Spooky. Then schematics of “Sinclaire,” Cage’s bomb, appear onscreen. Apparently intricate bomb schematics can fit conveniently on a 3 and a half inch floppy. It wasn't even a fucking zip disc. 

I am going to blow you away

Travolta immediately warns Lazarro, but the Director refuses to evacuate Los Angeles on a sociopath’s hunch. That leaves Travolta no choice but to play by his own rules. Just because this movie’s made by a respected action director doesn’t mean it’s not still a stupid movie about a cop out for revenge. 

The FBI is unable to get information from Pollux, because he will only discuss the bomb with his brother. Pollux can barely tie his own shoes but he’s immune to the FBI's interrogation techniques. Alright. Random Agent tells Archer they could put an agent in a cell with Pollux to coax information out of him, but Archer quickly shoots that down. That leaves only one plausible solution...

Travolta is taken to a medical institution that specializes in ‘special’ surgery. Once in Dr. Krieger’s lab, he's led to the recovery ward, where he sees that Cage is being kept alive, albeit basically braindead, in a coma instead of six feet under. They reveal they’re capable of performing surgeries to alter the facial appearance and voice of a person. And by altering, I mean removing their god damn face and putting it on someone else’s. 

Travolta is given a proposal: Take Castor’s face and voice and pose as him to extract information on “Sinclaire” from Pollux. Apparently it would be easier to cut off Cage's face, put it on top of Travolta's, lodge a voice modulator in his throat, and then hope absolutely nothing malfunctions as they drop him into a super secret prison where literally anything could go wrong, than it would be to just fucking waterboard his autistic brother. 

They have a morphogenetic mask, the inside of which is modeled onto Travolta's skull. The exterior is modeled to resemble Cage's face. They will laser off Travolta's face and place it in some science goop. They will place the mask on his head, then laser off Cage's face and place it onto the mask, then connect all muscles and nerve endings. Makes sense plenty of sense. 

There’s a bunch of faux-scientific explanations about how they could modify every single detail: height, skin tone, eye pigment, hair, chest hair, body type (aka Travolta's love handles), and anything else on the cosmetic level that would blow his cover. Keep this in mind for later.

Computer generated rendering of the removal process
Travolta responds rationally by telling them that’s fucking retarded and leaves. One of the agents stops him and reminds him that he's spent years chasing Cage and if the bomb goes off he wins, as if that is supposed to convince him to become the person who killed his son. He, again rightfully so, brushes them off and goes to do actual work and interrogate Cage’s men.

Travolta interrogates two nobodies so hard that one of them shits themselves. He interrogates Cage’s girlfriend Sasha Hassler (Gina Gershon), who refuses to talk until he threatens to put her son Adam in a foster home. She cuts the shit and claims she hasn’t seen Cage in years. It's a completely useless scene now but it ~plants seeds for later.~ I'm not saying those seeds blossom into anything interesting, but they're planted and there's nothing you nor I can do about it. 

Next he interrogates Dietrich (Nick Cassavetes), her brother and Cage’s explosives and weapons supplier. Travolta tries to wear his big boy britches and act like a smug asshole, only to have Dietrich ask him about his dead son. Travolta takes this really well and tackles Dietrich to the ground and shoves the barrel of his pistol in his eye. Dietrich realizes now is not the time for fucking around and admits all he knows is the bomb detonates on the 18th. We have a what and a when. But we need more, so it's time to take his face...off to find where.

Travolta successfully interrogates one of Cage's closest assailants who is more than likely responsible for building the actual bomb, and instead of continuing this trend and interrogating Pollux further, he agrees to the face/off mission. My biggest gripe with this movie is there isn't even a goofy code name for this project. I can deal with a criminal mastermind getting kicked in front of a turbine after tying his autistic brother’s shoes and crashing a jet into a hangar and murdering FBI agents in cold blood only to be secretly kept alive in an unknown government base for a mission where Travolta will assume his identity, but I’ll be god damned if there’s not one single “Operation Switcheroo“ to be found in this entire two hour film. 

Travolta doesn’t want to have the operation done until he tells his wife, but the mission is completely classified, not even Lazarro knows. Travolta thinks about this for about three seconds then accepts those terms and goes home to lie to his wife about having another assignment. The only four people who know about this upcoming operation are Travolta, Tito, black girl from The Shield, and the doctor performing the surgery. He goes home and vaguely says goodbye to his wife Eve and generic 'parents just don't understand' teenage daughter Jamie and prepares for surgery.

Here's a fun game: do this to someone you love in an emotional moment without explaining it.
He gives Tito his wedding ring and tells him to hold on to it's convenient for the plot. 

So the big dumb surgery is a success. Afterwards, Castor Troy is lying on his own bed, his head wrapped the way it’s only wrapped when there’s a dramatic reveal further down the line. Sean Archer, now being played by Nic Cage, wakes up and his bandages are slowly unwrapped like the big twist ending in a Twilight Zone episode. He promptly goes nanners while looking in a mirror but is calmed down and given a sedative. 

At least he's taking it well
They alter his voice with the aid of a larynx implant. Cage is warned that a sharp blow or even a violent sneeze could dislodge it. I include this detail solely because it’s a flat out lie. He’s able to perfectly match Castor’s voice after 3 tries on this piece of shit computer that could barely run a Mechwarrior game. He’s reminded he has six days to disarm the bomb, but the timer clearly shows there's 216 hours left, which is 9 days.

Taking it really well
Cage is helicoptered to Erewhon Prison, which is an anagram of ‘Nowhere.' Get it. He’s told he has two days to get Pollux to talk, after which he will be removed from the prison regardless. The prison warden comes in and lets Cage know that the Geneva Convention is void and Amnesty International doesn’t know they exist. The Geneva Convention has absolutely nothing to do with criminal prisons and technically doesn't apply in any civilian prison in the country. But what do I know, I'm not a schlubby prison warden wearing a black tactleneck. Cage’s feet are clamped in magnetic boots that are connected to a field that allows the guards to not only monitor the location of every prisoner, but shut down their boots and keep them stuck in place. And just in case you were wondering, the boots are the exact same kind as the ones in the Super Mario Bros movie. 

Cage, now an inmate, trudges through the cafeteria line until he notices Pollux. He heads straight for him but is stopped by Burke Hicks (Thomas Jane - played The Punisher in that god awful movie) who wonders why Archer keeps blowing him off. He recognizes The Punisher as a man he arrested years ago for stalking the UN Secretary General. Punisher claims he was framed and Cage almost blows his cover like the stupid asshole he is. 

In the heat of the moment (stomp stomp, clap) he remembers he’s wearing another man’s face and an entire city will get firebombed back to the Flinstones era if he can’t keep his shit together for 48 hours. He realizes Punisher has outlived his usefulness for this scene so he leaves to talk to Pollux. Before he can reach him, he’s attacked by a gigantic Russian inmate. Turns out the real Castor had a three-way with said Russian’s wife and sister, and he has not forgotten about it. 

Zangief beats the absolute shit out of Cage until he's able to regain his composure and return aforementioned shit kicking with a lunch tray. The sound of the inmates cheering him on is apparently enough for him to forget his real identity and he almost brains Zangief with the lunch tray. Before he splatters his giant Russian brains all over the cafeteria, he regains composure and stops himself. It would be different if he had just seen his reflection and he saw himself as Castor, but no, he gets in a fight and then almost kills a guy within ten minutes of his covert operation. Nice going, asshole. 

Cool as a cucumber. They don't suspect a thing.
Back at Krieger’s lab, Castor is still in a coma because for some reason or another they decided to keep him alive. There’s absolutely no reason to keep him in a coma considering he’s been high on the FBI’s most wanted list for almost a decade, but they leave him alive and faceless in a bed unattended. Because the fucking FBI would be light on security. 

Castor's heart rate accelerates and he suddenly bolts upright in his bed. Needless to say he’s pretty stunned to find his face wrapped in bandages, and stunned moreso at what’s underneath. He touches the exposed muscle on his face to prove to himself that he’s not hallucinating. He hobbles around the room until he notices Archer’s old face floating in a jar. He calls two of his goons and tells them to come over immediately. 

There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry
Two of Castor's goons abduct the doctor because they know where he lives for some reason and bring him to the lab. They take him to the operating room at gunpoint, where Castor is waiting for him. Castor is watching a recording of the surgery while listening to classical music, and breaks into applause and a Cage-ian monologue. Because he’s Dr. Claw. How is he not constantly screaming in hellacious agony? He found painkillers. Cut, print, perfect. Castor advances towards the doctor, who asks Castor what he wants. We see his faceless-face reflected in the doctor’s glasses and he replies, “Take one goddamn guess.” God I love this movie.

Back at Camp Nowhere Prison, Cage talks to Pollux and learns the bomb will go off at the LA Convention Center. If there's one thing I love in movies, it's watching the main character learn something we've known for 45 minutes. He returns to his cell where he’s informed he has a visitor. Cage is taken to the visitor’s room where he’s met by Castor Troy wearing Archer’s old face. Castor, now played by John Travolta, has a magnificent shit eating grin at the sight of Cage being stuck in prison while he’s free to abuse his new power (and wife). “It’s like looking into a mirror, only not.” No words, they should’ve sent a poet.

TRANSLATORS NOTE: this shit is really confusing. Einhorn is Finkel, Castor is Archer. Nic Cage is Archer with Castor’s face, John Travolta is Castor with Archer’s face. See this here:

Nic Cage is Archer pretending to be Castor. John Travolta is Castor pretending to be Archer now. Got it? Me neither. 
Now you might be asking yourself: wasn't it made explicitly clear how great lengths were taken to alter eye pigment, skin tone, hair, body hair, body type, and everything else you could see with your two fucking eyes? How did he magically put on 30 pounds? How did he grow more hair? How did he get taller? How did they implant a voice chip and sync it to a recording of Archer's voice until it matched perfectly? Fuck you for asking, that's your answer. It's never brought up and you're stupid for asking questions. Just let it happen. 

Travolta tells Cage how annoyed he was when he MAGICALLY WOKE UP FROM A COMA IN WHICH HE WAS SO CATATONIC THAT HE DIDN'T EVEN TWITCH WHEN SOMEONE PUT A CIGARETTE OUT ON HIS ARM, WHICH IS LITERALLY NEVER QUESTIONED OR ACKNOWLEDGED to find that he no longer had a face. He thrusts a newspaper into Cage’s face, where he reads an article about a deadly fire that destroyed the entire institute, the doctor, Tito, and That Black Lady. This is intercut with shots of the three of them sitting on the floor, bound and gagged, as they’re doused with gasoline. Just in case you couldn't fill in the blanks in your head. 

Travolta flashes Archer’s wedding ring as he ever so casually reveals he destroyed any and all evidence of the surgery. Cage has no way of proving who he really is. Travolta plans to abuse Archer’s job and even give his wife Eve some sweet, sweet dong. Cage takes this about as well as you’d expect and tries to strangle Travolta, but guards rush in and give him the ole baton to the head. Travolta thanks the warden for saving him, then leaves while Cage is left beaten and alone on the grimy prison floor to contemplate his fate.

Travolta goes to Archer’s house and starts reading Eve’s diary, because why wouldn’t a woman in her 40s keep a diary. He then goes into Archer’s teenage daughter Jamie’s room and whispers “Hmm, the plot thickens…” to immediately let the viewer at home know that something awful is laying ahead. He slowly approaches her and tells her she has something he craves and gets reeaaaaaaally close - then steals a cigarette. He tells her she’s going to “be seeing a lot of changes around here” and slowly slinks out of the room. It’s fucking weird.

Travolta cuts a “deal” with Pollux to have him released from jail. Travolta enters the interrogation room and turns off the mic. He reminds Pollux that he’s supposed to be confessing, but has a change of heart and realizes he will gain a lot of media attention if he, as Archer, single handedly disarms the bomb. With him as an American Hero and high ranking FBI official, there are endless opportunities for shenanigans.

So he does just that. John Travolta channels Nic Cage’s crazy from the beginning of the movie and dances and sings “Hallelujah" and deactivates his own bomb with 2 seconds remaining. He’s interviewed by CNN and it’s shown on the giant Titantron in the generic dystopian prison, and Cage spends the rest of the afternoon sulking in his cell. While earlier in the movie the real Archer brushed off the accolades of his fellow agents for the capture of Castor Troy, Travolta is reveling in all the glory and fanfare from his colleagues. Instead of reminding them about the agents who died, he’s spinning around smiling while everyone applauds him like he and the Mighty Ducks just beat the Hawks for the state Pee Wee Championship. They're too busy celebrating to wonder why the bomb squad said it would take hours to defuse and he did it in about a minute.

Literally nobody questions why he's acting like this
Travolta gives it to Eve so, so good after a romantic dinner. Cage meanwhile realizes the only way he can stop Castor Troy is to break out of prison. No shit. During the exercise hour he asks Punisher about escaping, because this imprisoned stalker would know exactly how to accomplish that. The only way he can get his robo boots off is if he’s taken to the clinic to get shock treatment, because it wouldn't be a super scary secret prison without electro shock therapy. 

He spots a guard pulling out a carton of cigarettes and hatches a super secret scheme. He moseys over to the guard and demands a cigarette. When the guard orders him to step back in line, Cage punches him, starting a fight with several guards. The inmates smell blood and immediately just start throwing shit like someone yelled ‘food fight’ and Cage is dragged away.

In the clinic, Zangief is getting shock therapy in The Chair. Why? Who cares. When they’re done with him, they pull him out and drag Cage onto it, with the assistance of MonsterVision’s own Joe Bob Briggs. Three of you out there enjoyed that reference. As he’s being secured, he tells Zangief he didn’t touch his wife or sister and knows they’re waiting for him, and it’s time for them to break out. This is enough to sway the opinion of a giant hulking Russian who has just been electrocuted into a drooling mess, so Zangief hits the warden in the back, causing yet another riot.

Cage breaks free from the chair restraints as a guard on a catwalk above them opens fire. Cage grabs the warden’s pistol and kills the guard, apparently forgetting that he’s a federal agent who’s murdering a man doing his job to keep a domestic terrorist from breaking free. A bunch of people get shot as ANOTHER full scale riot breaks out. I'm not entirely sure why but it looks like there was a jar of acid just sitting around, because he throws it in the air and shoots it and the two guards who get hit by it sure look like they're being eaten alive by acid. Our hero. 

Cage breaks into the control room and somehow knows the codes to disable the security system. As he’s entering codes, Zangief is murdering countless guards and protecting him for some reason. The warden shoots Zangief 3 times, who flails around then falls over a railing. Cage grabs him and tries to pull him back up but he slips and falls to his death. We hardly knew ye character whose name I didn’t bother writing down. 

The warden fires at Cage but Punisher and other inmates surround him and beat him to death. You don’t see him die, but either he’s dead or he’s gonna be lookin like Professor Hawk when he’s finally dragged out of there.

Cage makes his way to the roof, only to find the prison is actually an offshore oil tanker in the middle of the ocean. How will he escape this prison and return to the ones he loves and regain his old life? He jumps in the fucking water. 

Travolta returns to the FBI offices and is told that Archer has escaped from prison. He asks to see the body, but is told it hasn't been recovered. He knows Cage is alive and is coming for him. Why is he so sure? I'm getting real fuckin' sick of all of your questions. 

That night, Cage, still in his prison garb, steals a car and makes a call from the car phone, because that was still a thing in 1997, and warns Eve about Castor. Eve doesn't recognize his voice because why would she. She hangs up on this crazy person and he frantically calls the FBI office and asks to be put through to Lazarro, but is transferred to Castor himself. He lets Travolta know he’s there to get him and hangs up and switches off a radio report about the police manhunt Cage has placed on him.

Instead of calling his wife back or waiting ten minutes and calling the FBI offices again, he drives to the penthouse where Dietrich lives. Since you’ve probably forgotten by now, Dietrich was Castor’s explosives guy who almost took a bullet in the eye socket for making fun of Archer’s dead kid. He goes apeshit when he sees ‘Castor' still alive and takes him upstairs where several of his old buddies are hanging out.

His amazing 90's earring is easily in my top five favorite things about this movie
Cage and Dietrich sit down and start to discuss "Castor’s" next course of action. But before they get too into it, he drinks some drug-laced water. Because if there’s one thing that movie was missing, it was Nic Cage tripping serious balls. 

He wants Travolta dead, and he’s gonna do it with Castor’s old gang’s help. Just like Cage is using Travolta’s FBI friends (at least the ones who are still alive lmao eat shit Tito). Dietrich asks Cage what the plan is, and Cage declares he's going to use their help to take down ‘Archer.' Castor's men point out that Archer is a supercop, so Cage starts disclosing intimate details about himself, like his house security code. He explains he knows these because "he" sleeps with Eve. The plan once they abduct ‘Archer?' Cage wants to "take his face…off.” They just think he's high as balls and brush it off.

Are you feeling it now, Mr. Krabbs?

Cage is feeling his body rejecting the drugs and rushes to the bathroom. He tries to rinse his face, but when he looks in the mirror he sees Castor's face and immediately draws his pistols on the refelction. He snaps out of the panic attack and is interrupted by Sasha, Gina Gershon's fine ass.


Travolta is in ‘his' living room in the middle of a phone call with his brother Pollux. He reminds Pollux once he's able to use Archer’s job to get rid of their rivals, he'll be set for life with full protection and resources from the government. And his own face. Can't forget about that. 

He's interrupted by loud music outside and walks over to the window to see Jamie and her boyfriend "Hyde from That 70's Show" pulling up the driveway. As Jamie tries to get out of the car, Hyde keeps making advances on her. She turns him down, but he starts to get more forceful. Recognizing what's about to happen, Travolta hangs up the phone and kicks in the car window, pulls Hyde out of the car, and gives that Dumbass a beating he won't soon forget. He finishes by slamming his face against the roof of the car and ordering him to apologize. This doesn't have much to do with the plot but I just wanted you to imagine John Travolta beating the shit out of Foreman's best friend.

You dumbasses have hung vacancy signs on your asses, and my foots looking for a room
Travolta talks to Jamie about the incident. As they're talking, he sees past the bullshit 'teenager with attitude' wall Jamie has put up and notices what's really bothering her: she still hasn't come to terms with Michael's death at Castor's hands, and blames her dad for not doing a better job protecting their family. She hides behind different outfits and goofy ass makeup to avoid feeling the sense of loss. Not wanting to see her get hurt, he gives her a butterfly knife for protection. This criminal literally breaks down her emotional barrier, helps her come closer to terms with a traumatic event in her life, and gives her protection she feels her real father can't. Imagine getting family-cuckolded by John Travolta pretending to be Nicolas Cage.

Back at casa de Dietrich, Cage is shirtless for some reason lying face down on a bed with Sasha sitting next to him. She nibbles on his shoulder to wake him up, and he mistakenly calls her Eve. When he realizes she's not Eve, he jumps up and grabs one of his pistols. She doesn't even do a double take, she stays the course and takes his pants off. Cage freaks out for the twelfth time this movie. Unbeknownst to either of them, Pollux is just hanging out on a roof across the street watching them. He lets Travolta know what’s going on. I guess when Travolta heard Cage had broken out of prison he ordered his brother to just hang around the rooftops and spy on Dietrich's house with binoculars until something happened. Jesus Christ John Woo you made Hard Boiled, you could at least try. 

Cage gets Sasha off him and she tells him to leave, recalling threats Archer made to put her son Adam in a foster home if she's seen conspiring with him. Cage realizes that Castor is Adam's biological father, something the real Castor never knew. He regrets threatening her, realizing she's just a single mother struggling to raise Adam the right way (by fucking a terrorist and living with a bunch of violent criminals in a penthouse. Whatever. The writer doesn't care so why should I.).

Members of an elite FBI SWAT team take up positions on the rooftop across the street while Cage learns that Adam is five years old, almost the same age as his own son Michael was when he died, and that Sasha has hidden the fact that Castor's the dad from him. She feared someone would hurt Adam in an attempt to get to Castor. She encourages Adam to meet his "father." Cage puts his hand on Adam's face and has PTSD attack, repeatedly calling him Michael and nearly bursting into tears. She pulls the kid away and asks him what the fuck his problem is.

Yeah, I can see the relation
An FBI agent fires a smoke grenade through the window. The team opens fire, thugs grab their weapons, and a bunch of people get shot in a big dumb gunfight that goes on forever.

It’s obviously Castor’s kid because the kid is clearly autistic. He’s walking around the house in the middle of a gunfight listening to Somewhere Over the Rainbow on his giant 90's headphones. He has literally no concept of the murder and bloodshed happening all around him as he stands still in the middle of a room with his stupid hand outstretched for his fake dad. The Troy DNA is a chromosome shitshow. 

The gunfight ends when Cage has his pistol drawn and spots Travolta walking down a flight of stairs. Travolta aims at Cage, then at Sasha when he spots her hiding. Dietrich notices and quickly moves in the way just as he pulls the trigger. The bullet hits Dietrich in the side of his neck, and as he’s dying he tells Sasha to run after giving her a really weird full on kiss. Way worse than Luke and Leia. Cage arrives too late to save him, and Dietrich thanks him for all the good times they had together before he dies. If there had been any sort of inkling of him being an innocent person trying to provide for his sister and her kid, this would be a tragic death and an actual character arc. Instead, all he’s done is make fun of John Travolta’s dead son and then kill a bunch of people. Jesus wept. 

Cage and Travolta shoot at each other a whoooole lot. Then they say stupid shit and shoot at each other more. Then they shoot even more. Some agent enters the room firing a grenade launcher and Cage is forced up the stairway to escape from exploding into a million pieces.

I still can't believe this was almost Stallone and Schwarzenegger
Cage makes it to the roof and is spotted by Pollux, who is still just hanging out up there. Pollux sees Cage and raises his gun. Cage swings into him Tarzan style, sending him crashing through a skylight. Travolta takes cover as Pollux comes plummeting to the ground. Travolta is overwhelmed with grief at the sight of his dead brother. He gently reties Pollux’s untied shoes and leaves. What a beautiful humanizing moment for the criminal who set a bomb to wipe out thousands of people and is currently fucking the main character’s wife. These shades of grey, they add such layers to the emotionality. 

Travolta returns to ‘his’ office the next day, looking detached. Seconds after sitting in his chair, Lazarro comes in to inform him that after all the unnecessary bloodshed from the shootout, he’s terminating his manhunt. Lazarro asks him how he suddenly knows so much about Castor’s plans. He continues his angry old man police chief rant until he suddenly stops and clutches his chest from heart palpatations. Travolta makes sure nobody can see him and whispers into his ear “I am Castor Troy,” then knocks him to the ground. He then literally and unironically hits him square in the heart with enough power to stop it completely. He fucking heart punches the FBI Director to death. He picks up his phone and tells his secretary to call the paramedics, Lazarro has just died of a heart attack. Fingerprints and security footage don’t exist in the FBI. 

Meanwhile, Cage sneaks back into his own house. Eve properly flips her shit when she spots him but she calms down as he explains his assignment, because that’s the appropriate way to calm down the woman who is the mother of the child that was killed by the man whose face you’re wearing. He tells her the only way for her to be certain is to test their blood types: Archer is O-negative and Castor is AB.

When Travolta gets home, he notices Eve is looking tense and realizes she probably knows the truth. Once Travolta falls asleep, Eve draws some of his blood. She sneaks out of the house and drives to the hospital. Once there, she runs a hemoglobin test and the results come back AB.

Cage enters the room because apparently he’s just been hiding out in the hospital with the entire LAPD looking for him. Eve draws a gun on him saying she doesn’t know who to trust anymore, because every single character in this movie is retarded. He tells her the story of their first kiss and she realizes he's really who he says he is. He promises to make all of this up to her and Jamie once this is over. 

Oh God it IS you. Why didn't you run your hand down my face to begin with
Cage learns that Lazarro is dead, leaving Travolta as the new acting director of the FBI. He’s untouchable. Or he would be, if he wasn’t going to be at Lazarro’s funeral the next day. Cage tells Eve to get herself and Jamie away from Castor as soon as possible. She’s concerned because she is expected to attend the funeral and if she doesn’t Castor will know something is wrong.

There’s a noise outside. Travolta has arrived and is looking for Archer, for some reason. Eve hides him as Travolta pulls back the curtain. All he finds is Eve tending to a patient. She says she was on call that night, which makes sense since she’s a fucking doctor. Travolta believes her and leaves. You can cut the tension with a knife. 

The next day, Sasha and Cage follow Travolta to the funeral, where Travolta is holding Eve and Jamie hostage. And just in case you’re wondering, neither Sasha nor Jamie know about the switcheroo. You’d think it’d be a good idea to let your daughter know so that she doesn’t either:
A. try to murder her father 
B. watch the man she thinks killed her baby brother murder her dad. 

But hey, I’m not in the FBI, I’m just an alcoholic with a blog. 

After a bunch of back and forth wacky quips, a big dumb Mexican standoff occurs involving every major character except his stupid daughter who's off doing who gives a shit.

You forgot your gun, dipshit
In the ensuing gunfight, Sasha and all of Castor’s nameless men are killed. Sasha begs Cage not to let Adam grow up to be like his father.

Cage and Travolta shoot at each other a bunch, then fight hand-to-hand, with Cage eventually getting the better of Travolta. Unfortunately, in all of this planning and double-crossing, let me reiterate that nobody fucking told Jamie what was going on, so when she finds a gun she shoots her dad because she thinks he’s Castor. Because everyone in this movie is fucking stupid. Cage is shot in the shoulder, which allows Travolta to break free. He takes Jamie as his hostage and licks her face because fuck it, why not. She breaks free by stabbing him with the same butterfly knife he gave her. Eve comforts her as Travolta shoots 2 FBI members and escapes the funeral. 

Travolta shoots a guy and escapes in his boat but Archer is in pursuit. After a big long dumb boat chase, both boats are destroyed and they are thrown ashore by an explosion because it’s still a John Woo movie. The two engage in one last hand-to-hand fight which ends in Cage killing Travolta with, I bullshit you not, a spear gun. This six year manhunt ends with Go-Grease-Lightning getting harpooned. 

Eve explains the entire situation to the FBI who go ‘yup ok’ and take him to a hospital where his face is restored and all that shit because there's another lab somewhere in the world with the proper technology, equipment, and personnel to do this surgery. Don't worry about it, we're past the 2 hour mark it's time to wrap this shit up.The only thing not changed back to how it used to be is the scar on his chest from the bullet wound that killed his son. It used to serve as a constant reminder but now that Castor is dead he doesn’t need it anymore. Isn’t that sweet? I LOVE closure. 

Smile while you can, you've just been marked for death
After the surgery, John Travolta is Archer again, and he comes home and hugs Eve and Jamie in the sappiest shit you’ve ever seen. He brings Adam, Castor’s son, into his family to fulfill his promise to the dead criminal to not allow her son to grow up like her dad. Jamie takes her new brother to his new room and Eve agrees to adopt him, knowing that Archer has clearly moved on, which he displayed by adopting a little boy the same age that looks almost exactly like him to fill the void in his heart. CREDITS

Congrats on getting that face back

Originally Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were proposed to play Castor and Archer, and Mark Wahlberg turned down the role of Pollux. I love this movie, but I would give anything to visit the alternate universe where that version of Face/Off exists.

Holy shit, what a movie. Part of me feels bad about all the gifs on here. The other part of me realizes it's impossible to really explain how batshit insane this movie is without just talking over the entire thing. But I'm not Mike Nelson, I'm not Crow, I'm not even Gypsy. I'm a fat guy with a nasally voice so you'll take these long load times and like it. I don't know if there's a single word to describe just how much I love this movie, that's why I used a couple thousand. It is the absolute pinnacle of batshit insane 90's action movies, batshit insane John Woo movies, and batshit insane Nic Cage movies wrapped into one beautiful package. Fuck Citizen Kane, fuck Casablanca. This is essential viewing. It's required homework so if you haven't seen it get your shit together and experience the magic. 

5 Preacher Cage's out of 5

Nic Cage Series 
[ The Rock | Con Air | Face/Off ] 


  1. They have this carousel in the middle of nowhere all to themselves and they're hugging and smiling like two lovers being reunited after "The War." To put a cap on this borderline sexual display of affection for his son, Travolta slowly slides his entire hand down Michael’s face in a gesture that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be interpreted as something sweet, but it just comes off really fucking weird. MB-310 dumps

  2. Started out funny before you went all Hank Hill on yourself.