Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hats Off To Face Off: A Look Back

I've decided to do a segment where I'll periodically dust off an older movie for review. I haven't as of yet thought of a clever title for these reviews but watch out because when I do it will be magical.

The first to kick off this look back will be the amazing John Woo effort known as Face Off.

What makes this film so special is not its dynamics in character plot lines or edge of your seat thrills (see that, I could do movie reviews for a living) but the lengths in which two extraordinary men go to tell a story.

I've always found it amazing when an actor will get so far in character as to alter his physical appearance.

Take Brad Pitt for example who actually had his teeth chipped for his role in Fight Club. Some go to the very edge of extreme like Christian Bale who literally became a walking skeleton in The Machinist.

But the award for devotion to their craft, by far goes to Nicholas Cage and John Travolta.

Here are two men who believe so fully in creating a believable story that they actually agree to surgically remove and swap faces using an unproven medical procedure with no guarantees.

Imagine, if they weren't able to reattach their faces after the movie was filmed, it could have potentially ruined both actor's careers not to mention their personal lives. And I'm not so sure Travolta could have carried National Treasure with the same weight as Cage managed.

I for one applaud them. I just couldn't do it.

However the magic isn't completely sold. It's one thing to swap faces with another actor but to embody who that person is through tone of personality and emotion is another. On this point I give Nicholas Cage full credit. Not only does he wear John Travolta's face well but he really nails his every move. It's like he studied every movie Travolta ever made. You truly believe that it's actually Travolta pretending to be Cage.

I wish I could say the same for Travolta's performance. It's like he just showed up for the paycheck. I mean shit, it's not as if he didn't have the necessary tools to pull it off. After all he was wearing Cages God damn face! Geez. If your going to risk your physical appearance then at least do your homework. I have to say that it was a little challenging to convince myself that it wasn't really Travolta pretending to be Cage. I guess it's like watching a horror film in that you have to keep telling yourself that its' just a movie. Now I'm sure Mr. Black is wanting to get in on this action and say a few things too so I'll leave room.
I don't know why you're knocking Travolta's acting chops, he was great in this film even with the slack-jawed face of Nicholas Cage. I mean could you imagine having to live with that shit for least 3 months to shoot the film, not to mention wear his fucking hair plugs. That must have been a nightmare. I mean Travolta has a fucking great head of a hair for a man his age.

So back to Travolta's acting. This was clearly one of his better performances. It had to be a huge test of patience and skill to pull of that disgusting drawl of Cage's. I don't know why you're giving him so much shit. If anyone is a shitty actor, it's Cage. He was clearly not up to replicating the nuances of Travolta's skills. Just check him out in Battlefield Earth. I know it was a box office failure, but I'd like to see Cage pull such an amazing performance as that, in those giant boots and everything. Come to think of it, WHEN has Cage even attempted playing an alien role? Could you imagine trying to replicate something that isn't even human? That is the test of a true actor. So when Cage is done filming his National Treasure bullshit sequels and other defilements to the name of Phillip K. Dick, come talk to me.
Well I guess that's just your fucking opinion.

So my only real complaint about this magnificent movie was the lack of doves....there should have been more doves. I for one think a few doves here and there perhaps even in the prison riot scene would have added more tension.

I can only hope Woo figures out how to make a sequel to this masterpiece using the same plot device. But maybe this time Travolta switches faces with a woman like say, Whoopi Goldberg. I'd buy a ticket to that.

1 comment:

Dr. Squid said...

You guys are totally missing the most dedicated performance ever. Cage/Travolta each have their strengths and weaknesses, but what about the Doctor that did it all?

This poor Doctor, whose name I can't even remember, gave his life to get this movie made. First he performs the surgeries on the actors, then Cage (wearing a Travolta face) kills him.

Giving your life for a film? That's dedication.