IN ORDER TO CATCH HIM, HE MUST BECOME HIM.
After capturing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) undergoes an experimental face transplant surgery and is turned into the spitting image of Castor as part of a plan to make the terrorist’s brother reveal crucial information. John Woo’s greatest film in Hollywood is a grand, ambitious, insane bit of opera. Having the two stars change faces is a fantastical idea and gives them a chance to imitate each other in subtle ways – but also to chew the scenery whenever they can. Very entertaining, and the premise has some depth and even provocative moments. Overlong and always off the rails, but the action is brilliantly intense.
1997-U.S. 138 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Terence Chang, Christopher Godsick, Barrie M. Osborne, David Permut. Directed by John Woo. Screenplay: Mike Werb, Michael Colleary. Music: John Powell. Cast: John Travolta (Sean Archer), Nicolas Cage (Castor Troy), Joan Allen (Eve Archer), Alessandro Nivola, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain… Nick Cassavetes, Margaret Cho, Thomas Jane.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Michael Douglas. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were allegedly considered for the leads.
Last word: “I’m really grateful to Paramount because they gave me so much freedom on this film… they let me do whatever I wanted to do because they like my style. Also because of the nature of the script, the script was exactly what I like to do with two very different characters, who also have something in common. There’s no real good guy or bad guy in my films. The film’s also about friendship and dignity and honor and family.” (Woo, The Hollywood Interview)