Scene(s) Spotlight: Nic Cage as Castor Troy in Face/Off


Happy Friday everyone! I don’t usually post about the same actor back to back, but y’know what, I’ve been wanting to highlight some scenes from FACE/OFF. I’m an unabashed fan of this John Woo movie, and it’s no doubt one of my favorite 90s action flicks. Ok so technically John Travolta plays Castor Troy as well as they switch roles in the film, but for the most part I prefer Nic Cage in the role than Travolta, save for that one scene in prison in the last clip below.

I know it’s got its haters and some people can’t stand its over the top action sequences with all the quintessential Woo‘s stylized action with the slo-mo and of course, flying doves! But for some reason I loved everything about it, the performances, the action, the music, everything just works. I have to mention that Joan Allen is also brilliant here against both actors. Even after re-watching it recently, I still love it and embrace the preposterous ‘in order to catch him, he must become him‘ plot and everything that goes with it ๐Ÿ˜€

I always think of Face/Off as my guilty pleasure but y’know what, I’m not the least bit guilty for liking it. Apparently the critics did too, I was surprised to see it got 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes!

Though we’ve seen Troy in the opening scene but THIS is the grand intro to the bad ass Castor Troy. The whole cape blowing in the wind, the twin golden guns, Troy shows his minions who’s boss. But he’s also got a softer side with his kid brother (Alessandro Nivola), as you’ll see later in the film, and that shoe-tying scene is repeated again later in the movie.

The famous line uttered in classic Nic Cage fashion. “I’d like to take his face… off” to the utter bewilderment of his drug dealer BFF. Ok so technically Cage is playing Sean Archer in this instance, but he’s pretending to be Troy to his enemy’s friends so he’s sorta playing both. Psychotically brilliant if ya ask me.

The soundtrack by John Powell is fantastic here. I also love this anachronism use of the classic Somewhere Over the Rainbow song in this bombastic shoot-out scene. The contrast between such a wholesome song with something so brutally violent somehow just works beautifully.

I have to give credit to both actors for convincingly play both good and bad guy convincingly. In this scene, Travolta is chewing all kinds of scenery in his first appearance as Castor Troy, and that character seems to lend itself for over-the-top ridiculosity [yep, I just made up a word, he..he..] Clearly the bad guy is having way more fun!

Did you love Face/Off? If so, what’s YOUR favorite scene(s)?

36 thoughts on “Scene(s) Spotlight: Nic Cage as Castor Troy in Face/Off

    1. Well I have the DVD so you’re more than welcome to borrow it. Seems like a lot of ppl in our post yesterday love Face/Off too ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Sure does. One of the reasons I know I’m in the minority. The other is 91%.

        So I’d be happy to borrow it. Though I still need to watch your Gerry Butler movies, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I’m not a huge fan of it either but I remember the critics raving about it on release. Not being a big fan of Nic Cage either doesn’t help…in fact, I think Travolta steals it here.

      1. I remember strongly disliking both them in this movie, honestly.

        On principle, though, excepting Pulp Fiction, perhaps, I’ll take Cage over Travolta every time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Abbi

    Yeah… I kind of loved Nic Cage in Face Off too. I love the church scene and the prison scene. “I’m Caster fucking Troy!”

    1. Ha..ha.. yeah, I like the way Travolta said ‘You good lookin’!’ in such a sinister way. There are lots of quotable quips in this movie, too!

  2. I love this film. In fact, I think this is the last great movie John Woo has made. After that, things weren’t the same. I think my favorite scene is where Castor as Sean is very upset as some guy says, “why are you upset sir? It’s just Pollux Troy!” and Castor shoots the guy in the head. That was funny. Travolta was great as the bad guy while I did love Cage as the more softer character.

    1. Hi Steven! Glad you’re a fan of this too. Yeah it’s too bad John Woo hasn’t made another cool action flick like this one, I did enjoy his latest film Red Cliff though. Yeah that scene w/ Travolta as Troy is definitely memorable, that poor FBI dude had it coming though, ahah.

      1. And you know what the weird part about that scene, the dude playing that FBI guy was none other than Matt Ross, the closeted-gay freakazoid from Big Love.

  3. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Face Off excels in tongue in cheek role reversal with two well proven talents playing switch. Though, I cannot think of a more inaccessible though cool place to hide two .45 ACPs.used in the first shoot out. The holsters need to be angled outward about 15 degrees and dropped down about an inch and a half.

    Trying to grab pistol grips above the small of the back takes time and would require lots of practice beforehand. While adding those changes would shave fractions when drawing both pistols.

    That said. The film rocks out loud. Turns kind of creepy when Travolta playing Cage inside Travolta’s body hits on his daughter.

    1. Hi Kevin! Yeah, the humor definitely made it so fun as Woo didn’t take it seriously. Even with such a preposterous plot, somehow the movie just works. Ha..ha.. I knew you’d have issues w/ the inaccuracies of the shootouts. Glad you enjoyed it despite that though, and yeah definitely that was a creepy scene but it’s funny that the girl used that knife training later in the movie on Castor himself, ahah.

  4. I actually did like this movie quite a bit. I haven’t seen it in a long time but I remember first seeing it in the theater! It was a blast and Woo’s style didn’t bother me a bit! Good stuff Ruth!

    1. Hi Keith! Glad you love this too man. It made my #1 Nic Cage roles I posted the day before, glad a lot of people are a fan of Face/Off ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Ted S.

    You shouldn’t feel guilty about loving this movie at all! People tends to forget that it’s one of the best review movies of that year and it’s probably one of my top 10 favorite movies of the 90s. I saw it three times in theater and still to this day, it’s the last great Woo’s film. He hasn’t done anything that came close to this film. I love the shootouts, the ridiculous plot and the over the top acting by the two leads.

    I do wish Paramount would release a new remastered Bluray soon, the one I have doesn’t live up to the current HD standards.

    1. Ha..ha.. yeah I don’t feel that guilty actually. I’m still surprised that it got such rave reviews from critics tho, somehow I thought they wouldn’t care for the over the top action stuff but I for one loved it!! I also like Broken Arrow which Woo did a year before this but not as much as this one, I thought Travolta also played an effective villain in that too.

      I’d definitely get the Face/Off bluray as soon as it’s released!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Ted S.

        I remember I went to see it on opening night and didn’t read any reviews before the show, I was surprised how well it was received by the most critics. I thought for sure they’d hate it since they didn’t care for Con Air, which opened like a couple of weeks before it. I liked Broken Arrow but I thought Christiane Slater was a weak leading man and some of the action scenes weren’t that great. After his first two films in America, Woo finally perfected his craft with Face/Off and I think he got to make the film the way he wanted. I also think he got lots of support from Michael Douglas, who’s one of the producers of the film. Douglas was actually was going to star in it when the project was circling in Hollywood but by the time the project got a green light, he’s way too old for the role and he decided to just produce it.

        You can find the bluray for cheap on Amazon but it came out in the early days of Bluray and it doesn’t have the same quality as today’s Bluray discs. In fact, if you want I can give mine to you. I haven’t watched it in a while and just waiting for a new version to come out.

    1. Right on Mikey! Yes we are evidently soul mates aren’t we? Now when are you gonna invite me to cover Edinburgh Film Fest together ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I love this movie so much. I think Cage was near the top of his ludicrous form for this one! GREAT POST!

    Real quick, I saw this opening weekend, and I will NEVER forget the scene where they show the lasers making that incision to, well, remove their faces. The scene was cool enough, but the guy behind me, and I swear to you, he was 100% serious…he turns to his friend and says…

    “I can’t believe they actually switched faces.”

    1. Top of his ludicrous form is right! I mean that is his specialty, ha..ha..

      Mwahahahaha, that’s hilarious! The movie title is called Face/Off, dude, and he’s surprised there’s actually a face switching thing going on?? The whole procedure is ludicrous of course, I mean how the heck did they manage to switch their ENTIRE body too, I mean Cage is much skinnier than Travolta! But better not think about that too much, brain OFF, ahah.

  7. Pingback: Movie Review – Face/Off |

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