A schizoid doppelganger mind-bender wrapped around your standard ticking-bomb scenario (it's hidden somewhere in Los Angeles and could take out the whole basin if detonated -- or something), Face/Off is an utterly lunatic film in the best possible way. Originally a futuristic thriller, the script was retooled for a modern-day setting, keeping several of its sci-fi elements but focusing more intently on its personality-shifting aspects which seemed to come straight out of Woo's international breakthrough, The Killer. An FBI agent, Sean Archer (John Travolta) has been hunting jet-set super-criminal Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) for years. For Archer, it's gone beyond personal to haunted obsession, particularly after Troy tried to shoot Archer but missed and killed his son instead. After a gonzo opening sequence involving a Humvee/private jet showdown on a runway and about ten thousand expended rounds (mostly fired by people flying sideways in slo-mo, of course), Archer's team brings down Troy.
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One treat for you shallow ladies in the crowd (guilty!) is the return of Keanu Reeves as the romantic, studly leading man. He's still as dumb as a post, but he's the fitting hero to such a dumb and implausible tale. He plays Nelson Moss, a hot shot ad man with swank things but too regimented a life to enjoy them. After a fateful run-in with carefree Sarah Deever (Charlize Theron) at the DMV, she tracks him down, and tries to convince him that he should move into her shabby-chic hippie spread for a month to become a better man. Apparently, she's done this sort of thing with other men before him with great success.
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