Really Bad Movies – ‘Face/Off’

If you’re like most of the movie-consuming public, by now you’ve lost track of the number of incredibly bad movies Nicholas Cage has made in the last 10 years. By my estimate, the number’s got to be hovering around 20 by now. But love him or hate, N.C. is here to stay. Now let’s take a look back at one of his earliest (awful) efforts.

 Face/OffParamount Pictures

He Needs a New Look
Although the premise of Face/Off seems ridiculous by today’s standards, back in 1997 it was practically cutting edge. Remember, the studios still took risks in the ’90s, meaning a film about an FBI agent (John Travolta) who undergoes an experimental face transplant in an effort to foil the plot of a ruthless terrorist (Nicolas Cage), could be green-lit without any problem. The result was a high-octane action-thriller that drew nearly universal praise from audiences, as well as esteemed critics like Roger Ebert. But 1997 was a long time ago, and in today’s superhero-saturated film market, Face/Off’s action sequences seem a bit bland and dated. I mean c’mon, a chase scene on a boat? Been done! It was called Speed 2.


Just Soak Me Already
Think John Travolta is already creepy looking? He looks even creepier while submerged in a tank of water…albeit bodiless.


Travolta Was Back…Briefly
John Travolta played FBI Agent Sean Archer in the film, which went on to earn nearly $250 million at the global office. His career had stalled in the ’80s, but thanks to his starring turn in films like Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty, Travolta had proven himself yet again to be a bankable, A-list star. And his role in Face/Off only cemented that fact. Then came Battlefield Earth  in 2000 and well…you know the rest.


Cage Was Just Getting Started
It seems like eons ago (or the year 1995, to be exact) but once upon a time Nicolas Cage actually was a great actor. He played complicated characters in serious movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Bringing out the Dead, and Adaptation. But in the mid-’90s something within Cage changed, and he started whoring out his God-given talents for the roles that paid the most. As a result, his once ardent base of fans were left scratching their heads after films like Ghost Rider, Knowing, and about a billion National Treasure  movies, were released. Is the movie about a face transplant gone awry, bad? Not necessarily. In fact, compared to most of the schlock being crapped out by Hollywood in the year 2013, it actually qualifies as quite average. But Cage’s decision to churn out one bad movie after the next, while consistently diminishing his once revered legacy, is just plain wasteful. And sadly, it all started with Face/Off.


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