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Face/Off: 2-Disc Special Collector's Edition

Score: 90%
Rating: R
Publisher: Paramount
Region: 1
Media: HD DVD/2
Running Time: 140 Mins.
Genre: Action
Audio: English 6.1 DTS, English 5.1
           Dolby Digital Plus EX, French
           5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish
           5.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,


  • Commentaries by Director John Woo and Writers Mike Web and Michael Colleary
  • 7 Deleted Scenes - Including an Alternate Ending (with Optional Commentary)
  • The Light and the Dark: Making Face/off
  • John Woo: A Life in Pictures
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Face/Off: 2-Disc Special Collector's Edition brings the classic John Woo film into high definition glory for the first time. This film was Woo's first American production where he was given full creative control, and it helped to reshape the way we think of action films. I mean, come on, how many times have people referred to dual-gun wielding as "Woo-style" and how many games have tried to emulate the same feeling you get from a Woo movie by using similar mechanics from his movies? It is hard to underestimate the impact that both John Woo and Face/Off have had on our culture.

This movie follows two people who are both the best at what they do. On one side, you have Sean Archer (John Travolta) a government man who leads a covert anti-terrorism group. On the other side is Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), one of the most wanted men in America. These two characters have a bit of a history since several years ago, when Archer was getting just a little too close to Troy's operation, Castor attempted to snipe and kill Archer. As it turned out, the bullet passed right through the cop and hit his son. Now, Archer is even more determined to take down Castor.

Face/Off kicks off with Castor planting a bomb in the Los Angeles Convention Center and attempting to escape from Archer's team. The confrontation concludes in an airport hanger with Castor knocked into a coma. So now, the good guys know there is a bomb, but they don't know where it's at. Thankfully, Archer was able to capture Castor's brother, Pollux, and he knows where to find the bomb. Now Archer just needs to figure out how to convince the younger Troy brother to talk. They know he would speak to Castor, but his vegetative state is pretty solid.

Sean is approached by his boss with an experimental procedure that would allow him to switch faces with Castor. As Castor, Archer would be able to get into prison and get Pollux to talk. All seems to go as planned when Pollux believes Archer is his brother, but while they are in prison, the real Castor wakes up and forces the doctors to put Archer's face on him. He then proceeds to kill all of the people who know that the Castor in prison is actually Archer.

Castor (as Archer) then goes to work not only freeing his younger brother, but also working a new angle. He is determined to become America's number one cop. All seems to go as planned until Archer (as Castor) breaks out of prison and eventually joins Castor's old gang.

A major aspect of this film is the psychological changes the two characters undergo. After all, what would happen if you switched places with someone? If everybody thought you were someone else and when you looked in the mirror and saw that other person, who's to say you wouldn't start becoming him? That's what happens to Castor and Sean. Throughout the course of the movie, Sean becomes a little crazy and walks a little to far on the wrong side of the law at times, while Castor becomes a bit of a family man as he gives the Archers' daughter some healthy advice about how to treat boyfriends who understand the word "no."

But let's face it, it wouldn't be a John Woo movie if it weren't for the action sequences, and Face/Off is definitely a Woo film. There's the slow-motion action shots, the standard "Gun-Fu" stuff and, of course doves, lots of flying doves.

With the Special Collector's Edition, you get a ton of features like a slew of deleted scenes (including an alternate ending), and a couple of featurettes about John Woo and the making of Face/Off. These are the same special features that come on the Collector's Edition of the DVD, so, while this is full of great content, if you don't already have an HD DVD player, you might want to think about getting the standard definition version over this one.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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