Face/Off – Steelbook (Blu-ray)

July 31, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Sean Archer (John Travolta) is an FBI agent with a serious axe to grind, he is determined to bring down the fugitive Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage), regardless of what it takes. Troy is a high level international terrorist, unafraid of taking innocent lives to further his own cause. But when one of his projects caused the death of Archer’s son, it became personal and so now, Archer is dedicated to getting retribution. He is finally able to capture Troy after a violent confrontation, but even in this situation, he retains some power over Archer. A bomb was placed somewhere in Los Angeles and the timer is in motion, but Troy is comatose and unable to reveal any information. In a desperate move, Archer agrees to an experimental procedure which would allow him to assume Troy’s identity, then track down the bomb. But even if the plan works and Archer can pose as Troy, will the plan unfold as it was laid out, or will some serious problems arise?

In my opinion, this is one of, if not the best American action movies ever produced. Face/Off is a movie I could watch over and over again, as it delivers on all fronts. John Woo loads so much action into this movie, it almost bursts at the seams at times and has some incredible set pieces. As you’d expect from Woo, the gun battles are epic and the film’s generous budget shows, this is some well choreographed, well executed violence. The story itself is of course over the top, but suspension of disbelief is part and parcel when it comes to action movies. The plot does what it needs to do, which is establish the characters and then set the pieces up to be knocked down in gloriously violent fashion. John Travolta and Nicholas Cage don’t just play these roles, they embrace them and really bring the characters to life. I simply cannot recommend Face/Off enough and with this new two disc edition, this release is not one to be missed.

Video: How’s it look?

I couldn’t detect a single flaw in this transfer. It begins strong and stays that way. One of the joys of this particular film is focusing on each of the main actor’s faces and spotting little differences between the two of them. The details are immaculate throughout. There’s a quick shot of a ring on a finger and the hair can be seen clearly. The print is virtually flawless throughout as well. Pores and flesh tones are finely detailed. Travolta’s gray hairs can be seen if you look close enough, as well as stray hairs and stubble on several faces. It was interesting to look at each character’s teeth and gums as well. Maybe I got a little too into spotting the differences, but I’ve seen the film more times than I can count and it became habit forming. Clothing is also finely detailed, displaying strong textures. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.35:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

We have a few options here: DTS 6.1 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. I opted for the Dolby track, but wanted to mention the inclusion of both. There were no issues to speak of here, vocals were loud and clear continually with no issues to speak of. The action is plentiful and this track makes good use of keeping us in the middle of all the mayhem. I sampled the DTS track and it also sounded strong. Either track you choose will satisfy.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is the steel-book edition reviewed here, but the disc itself is otherwise identical to the other versions out there. The front image features Travolta and Cage on the front, while the back features the two of them pointing guns at each other. There’s no inner art, unfortunately.

  • Commentary tracks – You have two to choose from here: One with the Director and the writers and the other with just the writers.
  • Deleted Scenes – 7 are featured here, including an alternate ending. The alternate ending is essentially just an extended one that was rightfully cut. The scenes are still worth watching, but none of them would’ve added much.
  • The Light and The Dark: Making Face/Off – Broken into 5 smaller featurettes that explore various aspects of the film’s production. Fans of the film should definitely check these out as they offer some very good details into the film.
  • John Woo: A life in Pictures – Is a detailed look at John Woo, and his career and directing style, among other things.
  • Theatrical Trailer

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