“You are now the property of Erewhon Prison. A citizen of nowhere. The Geneva Convention is void here; Amnesty International doesn’t know we exist. When I say your ass belongs to me, I mean exactly that.”
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.
Face/Off is presented in a slightly altered aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The ultra high definition image presentation is arrived at with an HEVC codec at an average of 60 mbps. The film was shot on 35mm so is native 4K. There has also been extensive restoration here and it shows. For the most part this is a superior transfer and image presentation to what you might have experienced on the Blu-ray. Stability here is much tighter. There were some issues with the Blu-ray where the image felt that it was as constant as it could have been with weak focus on long shots. Here the outside daylight shots are almost flawless with natural color and fine contrast. The black levels in the darker stuff isn’t quite as inky as I would like and you will loose some definition in the shadows from time to time. I suspect some of that is intentional. Close-ups are where the presentation truly shines. There are a ton of those tight up close shots of Cage and Travolta and their faces are pretty much the plot of the film so that’s a pretty good thing. There’s a nice organic layer of grain that appears to faithfully represent the theatrical experience.
The DTS-HD 5.1 track is serviceable. The dialog cuts through quite nicely and never gets overwhelmed by the action or the score. The surrounds aren’t very aggressive but there are some pivotal moments where they come through just enough to keep us immersed in the environments. Subs come alive a bit during much of the climax battle and a few earlier action scenes.
Audio Commentary – We are given 3 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. The third is a new track by film historians.
- 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 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..
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 4K UHD Blu-ray release 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 making this a must have for fans of the movie. The image is pretty good. “It’s like looking in a mirror…only not”.