Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1997. Permut Presentations, Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Douglas/Reuther Productions, WCG Entertainment Productions. Screenplay by Mike Werb, Michael Colleary. Cinematography by Oliver Wood. Produced by Terence Chang, Christopher Godsick, Barrie M. Osborne, David Permut. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Neil Spisak. Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick. Film Editing by Steven Kemper, Christian Wagner. Academy Awards 1997.
You’ll actually enjoy being suckered in by this crazy action film from Hong Kong director John Woo. John Travolta plays a straight-ace cop still haunted by the memory of the son who was murdered by his arch enemy, seething criminal Nicolas Cage. When Cage goes into a coma during an arrest and is hospitalized, Travolta is offered an assignment to surgically switch faces with him and go undercover in prison to find out where Cage planted a lethal bomb which no one knows the location of. Trouble is, while Cage-nee-Travolta is jail, the real Cage wakes up from his coma and forces the secret police surgeons to give him Travolta’s face. Now Travolta-nee-Cage is taking over at the office and romancing his unsuspecting wife (Joan Allen), who has no idea the kind of trouble she’s in. Strong performances and slick photography make it fun, as does the no-nonsense pace which moves rapidly and keeps you from ever figuring out the fact that everything about the story is completely preposterous. Watch Georges Franju’s The Eyes Without A Face to see an early influence on this delightfully ridiculous film.