Sci-Fi Action Thriller Blockbuster On Paramount+ Is A Must-See Madness Masterpiece

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

While some cinema snobs look down on the genre, there is something undeniably special about a great action film. The combination of killer actors and killer action creates the equivalent of cinematic junk food…something that perfectly hits the spot when you’re craving a huge helping of celluloid violence. If you’ve got such a craving, here’s some good news: Paramount+ is currently streaming Face/Off, one of the greatest action films in Hollywood history.

Nicolas Cage And John Travolta Are… Each Other?

Face/Off 1997

Part of why we love Face/Off so much is that it has a wonderfully shlocky premise built right into the title. The movie begins by establishing our two archenemies: FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (John Travolta), and Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), the mercenary terrorist who killed the agent’s son. Once the two end up swapping faces, though, the lines between good and evil blur, and each man scrambles to hold onto his identity while defeating their twisted reflection in one over-the-top scene after another.

Helmed By Action Movie Legend

Face/Off 1997

The action in Face/Off is top-notch because the film is directed by John Woo, one of the film industry’s most venerable action architects. He became a legendary Hong Kong director before making a splash in America by helming the Jean-Claude Van Damme epic Hard Target. He followed this by directing Broken Arrow, Face/Off, and Mission: Impossible 2, and we would argue no other director has had such a string of amazing action hits.

Travolta Expertly Channels The Cage Rage

Face/Off 1997

Having stylish director John Woo was exciting enough, but Face/Off also made a huge splash with audiences thanks to its two leads. While the movie has a wonderful supporting cast (including Gina Gershon and Robert Wisdom), this movie is all about the titular face-off between Nicolas Cage and John Travolta.

While Cage’s ability to deliver an utterly unhinged performance is well-known, newcomers to this film may be surprised to discover that Travolta (as he did in Woo’s Broken Arrow) is just as capable of giving a charismatically crazy performance.

All of this added up to a financially successful film, and Face/Off ended up making $245.7 million with a budget of only $80 million. The movie also “wooed” critics and currently has a 93 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those critics generally praised how the film combined action, style, and even humor into a tasty action cocktail.

An Unthinkable Premise Executed Flawlessly

Face/Off 1997

At 139 minutes, Face/Off is a bit long for an action film, but Woo uses that runtime to establish an entire operatic universe for his memorable characters. Nicolas Cage was named after a character in Greek mythology, and this is only fitting for a film that treats the battle between its leads as a modern clash of the Titans. And if you’re a fan of films like John Wick, you’re sure to enjoy this early example of a film that turns stylish action into an unforgettably hyperkinetic cinematic language.

A One-Of-A-Kind Experience On Streaming

Face/Off 1997


If it sounds like we’re gassing up Face/Off too much, all you have to do is stream it on Paramount+ today. Even if you don’t love it quite as much as we do, you’ll agree that it’s unlike almost any other film in the action genre. Just a fair warning: after the credits roll, you’re going to be doing your own Nicolas Cage “I’d like to take his face…OFF” impersonation for the rest of the week.