I am a huge John Woo fan, especially his earlier classics like Hard Boiled. I’ll admit it’s been several years since I last seen Face/Off, but I don’t have a reason why, as I remember really liking this movie then. At either rate now I have a copy of the movie to call my own, and a special two disc release at that. Let’s just hope that it is what I remember, but as a big fan of Nick Cage I don’t think I’ll be let down.
In order to catch him, he must become him. I couldn’t put it any better myself, Face/Off tells quite the eccentric story of revenge, devotion, and of course crime. Sean Archer (John Travolta, Wild Hogs) is an extremely devoted FBI agent, obsessed with catching terrorist Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage, Ghost Rider). Several years earlier Troy killed Archer’s son, since then it’s been his goal in life to put Troy to justice. He gets the opportunity one day when Troy ends up in a coma after boasting about a massive terrorist attack he has planned on Los Angeles.
Logically the only way to find out more information on the bomb is to surgically remove Archer’s face and put Troy’s on his, right? Well in John Woo’s world that’s the case which you have to admit is pretty damn cool. One thing leads to another and Archer (who is now really Troy), is placed into a prison where Troy’s brother is in order to find out more information on the bomb. In case you didn’t catch that, just wait… it gets more complicated. The real Castor Troy wakes up and then forces surgeons into turning him into Sean Archer, and kills anyone who knew about this assignment. Now Archer is stuck as Troy and can’t relay his information on the terrorist attack to anyone and has to escape from prison. Meanwhile Troy loves being Archer and spices up his family life as well as work life , all while having his own terrorist agendas. I know it sounds like a lot to take in but when you watch it, it’s fun.
Admittedly Face/Off is out there, about as realistic as me being the first man on Mars. But that’s what I love about it; the cool action sequences, and the over the top but awesome story. The acting is just what you would expect from two of Hollywood’s headliner Nicholas Cage and John Travolta. But the believability of the performances aren’t why we watch movies like Face/Off we just want to see some explosions and shootouts. I am pleased to announce that you will get a fair dose of action well at the same time keeping a decent storyline going.
Presented in 1080p 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Face/Off hits HD DVD with some noticeable improvements over an already great looking DVD. Explosions (and there are a lot), look crisp and clear, oranges looking extremely vibrant. In all honestly, these are some of the best looking explosions I have seen on HD DVD, as they display a tremendous amount of depth. Grain was hardly present, even in dark scenes such as the raid on Dietrich’s apartment. Flesh tones are realistic and details such as wrinkles are seen. If I had to complain about something it would be the occasional soft scene, but this is a rarity. This is the best Face/Off has looked if you are a fan than you will not be disappointed.
As impressive as the video was, the audio is simply perfect. This is a John Woo film after all and it wouldn’t be complete with out its fair share of gun play, believe me there are some intense shootouts in this film. How about the finale boat chase? This scene alone is worth the admission. Through all this chaos dialogue maintains clearly audible, never silenced by the action or the films score. Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital and a superiors 6.1 DTS track. Simply put, this track kicks ass.
The two disc edition is packed with features spread over both discs. The hour long making of feature is the highlight here, definitely worth a look.
- Audio Commentary – We are given 2 commentary tracks for this release. The first is by Director John Woo and Writers Mike Werb and Michael Colleary. The second track is a more focused sessions with Mike Werb and Michael Colleary.
- Deleted Scenes – (0:08:18) 7 deleted scenes, each with optional commentary by John Woo. I must say the first scene where Castor randomly kills a janitor was very effective in making him look like a psycho early on in the film. Another scene involving Sean in his dead sons room, offered a nice emotional touch. As for the alternative ending, it was best left on the cutting room floor.
- The Light and the Dark: Making Face/Off – (1:04:02) Divided into 6 parts each focusing on different aspects of production. The feature starts off with the very beginning of the films production, including the creation of the script and the inclusion of John Woo. From there we are given an in depth look at the actors/characters, which were supposed to be played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The studio eventually went with Nick Cage and John Travolta and we are given some in depth interviews with both actors. The remaining segments focus on special effects and John Woo’s decision on the films ending.
- John Woo: A Life in Pictures – (0:26:06) This feature gives a an in depth look on directors John Woo’s life. From his hard beginnings to his success as a director, this feature will interest anyone who wants to learn more about Woo.
- Trailers – Face/Off, Shooter, Next, Zodiac
Face/Off is a pretty decent action flick if you enjoy it for what it is, which I did. The action sequences are nice with some very decent fire fights, and chases. But if you’re looking into getting this special edition HD DVD chances are you didn’t need me to tell you that. So you will be happy to know that this disc is nearly flawless with perfect audio and near perfect video. In addition to that the special features are extremely interesting and informative, making this a must have for fans of the movie.