Face/Off (1997)

Directed by John Woo
Written by Mike Werb and Michael Colleary
Starring Nicholas Cage, John Travolta, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain

My Advice: Don't Miss It.

For something with such a bizarre premise, face/identity swapping, kind of like Freaky Friday on LSD--Woo pulled this sucker off.  What I can only describe as "the most cerebral action flick I've seen" features Cage and Travolta in beautiful acting jobs that enable them to poke fun at each other and themselves.  Travolta playing Cage playing Travolta complaining about his chin is a classic.  The real kudos go to Cage playing Travolta playing Cage, where he gets lost as to who he is.  Not since Die Hard do I recall such fine acting in a film with lots of guns.  And hooboy, the guns.  But more than that, you have an ummatched level of symbolism (a showdown in a hall of mirrors) and gorgeous shots (towards the beginning, watch for Cage's long coat in the wind).  And did I mention there's lots of guns--and explosions--but hell, it's a John Woo film, what did you expect?  Here's what I got, anyway--A solid action flick that would have ended up on my Top Ten of 1997, had I bothered to put one together.  Beautiful work.

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