Face/Off came out more than 20 years ago and told a completely ridiculous story of an FBI Agent, a super-terrorist and a face transplant that leads to an identity swap. It was a movie that seemed like it could only be made in the late-90s when big-budget, blow-em-up affairs were a dime a dozen and the more ridiculous the story, the better. And crazy enough, it worked. Well now we might be turning back the clocks because according to insider Daniel Richtman, there are plans to have a Face/Off remake with director Adam Wingard helming the film.
Remaking Face/Off does feel moderately ridiculous mostly because the premise is so zany and silly that it’s hard to imagine it “working” again on-screen. But according to Richtman’s scoop, the new movie would be more of a “reimagining” of sorts rather than a one-for-one remake so maybe there’s some chance it’s updated for more modern times. Could we be looking at cool deep fakes? Maybe hologram technology? Really anything except for a secretive face transplant that happened in the first film.
And having Adam Wingard in the director’s chair for a Face/Off reboot could at least put some big dollars behind the film. He’s set to release Godzilla vs. Kong later this month which looks every bit like a popcorn film. The trailers tell the story of a couple of monsters running roughshod over everything in sight. Maybe there’s a little more nuance in an identity swap action thriller, but the over-the-top concepts are similarly aligned.
The original Face/Off came out in 1997 and was directed by John Woo. Starring John Travolta and Nic Cage, this movie had blockbuster written all over it in terms of big names and a big budget. The central premise is that FBI agent Sean Archer (Travolta to start) is hunting down sociopath terrorist Castor Troy (Cage to start). But to find the location of a bomb, Archer undergoes a face and voice transplant to “become” Troy. Things go wrong though when Troy gets the same procedure and becomes Archer. Chaos ensues. Here, check out the trailer for Face/Off to see what I mean.
It ended up being a massive hit. Face/Off earned almost $246 million at the box office while finishing at 92% on the Tomatometer (this was the 90s people). But on the back of cool performances by the two leads, John Woo action sets and premise that only happens in the movies, it did carry well for audiences. In a world where movies should separate us from reality for a couple of hours, this one more than did the trick.
Now we are set to get another round of face-swapping in an action-packed trading places kind of thing. I’m here for it, though it’s hard to imagine getting two stars at the height of their powers like Cage and Travolta were at the time. They both basically played themselves in both roles and it totally worked. Can Face/Off pull off the same magic a second time around?