Face Off (1994)

“I want to take his face……off”


I was lucky enough to watch Face Off on Friday night. I’d just been out for dinner with my boyfriend to celebrate his new job and you know when you’re really bloated and tired from eating? And you just want to sink into the sofa with a remote in one hand, cup of tea in the other? That was me on Friday. To be fair that’s me after most meals but anyway, I digress.

So after getting back home (in pain, too much food) and doing the sink into the sofa bit I started channel flicking and discovered, to my absolute delight, that Face Off had just started on TV. How. Bloody. Perfect. And even something that my boyfriend would enjoy. Usually, unless it’s Studio Ghibli or Bruce Willis, he’s not that bothered. Strange combination I know. Anyway. Face Off.


Of course I’ve seen Face Off before, more than once and I own it on DVD. But don’t you find the more movies you own (I have literally hundreds and yes obviously they’re in alphabetical order) the fussier you get? I know I can barely settle on any choice some evenings, always with the vague idea I’ll find something even more perfect if I keep staring at DVD spines.

But oh man, how much did I enjoy Face Off! Oh so much. It’s so ridiculous and over the top and just so much fun! Not five minutes goes by without something being blown up or driven into or shot. I think my favourite bit of the whole movie is when Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) first gets Sean Archer’s (John Travolta) face and he goes to the prison to wind him up a bit then back home to shake his family up a bit……because Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag!

John Travolta plays it so well. From the good guy cop to crazy criminal with flair Castor Troy. And though Nicolas Cage is wonderfully great too (no other guy could have played Castor) I still think it’s slightly more Travolta’s movie. He gets to have so much fun, playing the baddie for most of the movie and making in-jokes about himself (well, his chin anyway).

Of course, I do think Sean’s wife may have wondered about her less-than-small husband’s weight loss (as if swapping bone structure wasn’t bad enough – snigger snigger – what about their bodies?!). But minor plot holes such as these  shouldn’t let us not enjoy, what is, after all, one of the best action movies ever made. John Woo (the director) is known for over-the-top action, so don’t complain. And Michael Bay gets away with it every summer.

If someone had asked me last Thursday “what’s your favourite Nicolas Cage action movie?” I would have, without hesitation answered Con Air. Now, Con Air is still fucking awesome but I feel an epiphany has now taken hold of me and faced with the same question I’d just scream FACE OFF!!!!!! Until the person who asked me the question was running away, petrified by my over the top reaction.


As any movie, it has to have a few weak links and apart from the absolutely ludicrous science bits – which I love and won’t hear a word against – the only thing I really dislike in the movie is Castor’s brother who I believe is really Cecil from The Simpsons (Side Show Bob’s nerdy / criminal brother). Apart from having a name a little too similar to the word bollocks, Pollux Troy irritates me mainly because of the way he speaks. Still, he dies, so never mind.


Side Show Bob and Cecil. Or Castor and Pollux?


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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40 Responses to Face Off (1994)

  1. table9mutant says:

    Now to just find a Studio Ghibli film that stars Bruce Willis…. 😉

  2. Laura says:

    I love Face Off! I’m not mad keen on Travolta but Nicolas Cage is a legend. I particularly enjoy it when he over-acts outrageously.

  3. Way to nail it! Face Off is so insane and over the top but it’s such popcorn magic at the same time. How could anybody not be entertained by it??
    And yes, I’m the worst at picking out a film to pop on. An hour can go by while I stare at my movie collection and browse the internet for inspiration on what to choose, as if I can’t read my own mood. It’s one of the stupidest things I do!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Susan!! 🙂

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that. When I was a kid / teenager and had 10-15 VHS videos I re-watched them all the time. Now I have DVDs, Netflix, television, internet etc, I can never decide on anything!! I’m far lazier with movies than I used to be, I think I prefer watching television shows half the time.

      Unless……….FACE OFF is on!!!!! 😀 😀

      Glad you love the Face Off magic too!

  4. You’re right Emma, Pollux is a snivelling little arsehole. He can’t even tie his own fucking shoelaces! I’m angry now

    • emmakwall says:

      I’m sorry you’re angry but you soooo have the right to be angry!!! He’s a twerp isn’t he. His voice!! Annoying little shit.

      Haha the shoelaces. But they made such an ’emotional’ scene with Castor tying them post death….!

  5. theipc says:


    This is one of my favorite movies too!! Great post!!

  6. movierob says:

    I only saw this once years ago and dont remember it so well, so…..

    It’s now on my list

    Thanks Emma!

  7. I love this film. such hilarity and fun. Good luck on your exams 😀

  8. Zoë says:

    Ah lady this movie is such a blast!!! Great work. I have been meaning to rewatch (but exams are messing with all my planning). It seems I will have to bump it up, such fun, as ludicrous as it all is, it works!

    • emmakwall says:

      Ooh what exams are you doing? Good luck in any case, if your revision is as good as your blogging you’ll be A**** all the way! 🙂

      Oh god, such a fun movie isn’t it. So delightful!!!!!! And ridiculous!!!! I love it 🙂

  9. Hmm. Would you believe I haven’t seen this, Ms Emma? I’m not usually a big fan of Nicholas Cage but after your hysterically funny review, I may just have to try this 🙂

  10. Tom Schultz says:

    You mean, it’s not a hockey movie? Sorry, North American humor. 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      North American humour sounds good to me!

      But you may have to explain that joke more……


      • Tom Schultz says:

        In Canada’s national game, hockey, there are frequent stoppages of play. To restart, the referee drops the puck between two players–a faceoff. Actually, the only hockey movie I’m aware was pretty bad. 😦

        But, getting back to Ennio Morricone. Have you watched the scene where the soundtrack is Ecstasy of Gold? Clint and Eli Wallach are looking for a huge cache of gold to be found in a grave in a vast cemetery (American Civil War, lots of casualties) Here it is…

        • emmakwall says:

          Tom thank you so much for sending me this clip! So music is so fitting to it (when the lady starts her singing, over all the graves OMG!) I love the Ecstasy of Gold soooo much. I haven’t watched The Good the Bad and the Ugly in a while (it’s one of grandad’s favourite movies, we watch a lot of movies together!) but this clip has inspired me to watch it again soon!!!!

          Ah wow I never knew that about hockey! Indeed, I didn’t even know it was Canada’s national sport though I guess it makes sense thinking how northerly you are and must have a lot of ice to play on! That was a good joke 🙂

          I think most movies about sport are a bit dire, I don’t think it necessarily works doing a movie about a sport….hmmmmm. I can’t think of any I like that much, though I guess some people do love Field of Dreams!!! (or Mighty Ducks? hee hee!)

          Thanks for such a lovely, tremendous comment Tom 🙂

          • Tom Schultz says:

            The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…you’ve gotta love a movie that has zero dialogue for the first ten minutes, only menacing stares, often with full screen shots. ❤ Sergio Leone!

            As for sports movies, I concur with learned counsel (that's you…barrister or solicitor, I can never figure that out). Although being an old school baseball fan, I do like a couple lines from Field of Dreams. "Shoeless Joe Jackson's glove was the place where triples went to die." Priceless. 🙂

            • emmakwall says:

              I wish we lived closer and we could watch it now, the things you enjoy are the same things I enjoy (if you know what I mean) “menacing stares” – I could have written that myself, I know exactly what you mean and it’s so great!!! You HAVE gotta love a movie like that!!

              Wow, lawyer talk! Or barrister or solicitor I mean 🙂 so was I actually in this scenario the learned counsel?! Cool 🙂

              See! Exactly what I was saying! We’re like two peas in a pod, that line is BRILLIANT and I just said it out loud in a rather dramatic voice. Is that the correct voice?


            • Tom Schultz says:

              Yes, I’m sure we could watch some serious movie marathons together. Alas, there is that pesky distance thing. 😦 Now, if either of us should cross the Atlantic….*sighs* But, you know I’ll be thinking of you next time I hear an Ennio Morricone score. 🙂

            • emmakwall says:

              I know! Pesky pond between us ha ha 🙂

              Maybe I could invent a jet pack? I think they already have some that people use on the Thames river in London 🙂

              That’s so nice, I’ll think of you too – Ecstasy of Gold!!!

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