John Woo is known for his extremely stylish movies. And this one is no exception.
The only thing that keeps this movie from being dismissed as just another stylish
movie is the inclusion of two names in the otherwise unimpressive cast.... John
Travolta and Nicholas Cage. These two, with their tremendous screen presence
and acting, take the movie to a plane far above that of regular action movies.
They and only they are enough to convince you to rush to the theater to see
The stage is set in your modern day American city with the age-old war between
cops and robbers going on in full swing. The cop in question is Sean Archer,
and his nemesis is the evil gangster Castor Troy. These two battle it out with
a vengeance at the cost of many other innocent lives. The history behind this
enmity: Troy had tried to kill Archer, but ended up killing his son... an accident
of course, but not that Troy regrets it in any way. Now Archer has made it the
sole purpose of his life to hunt down Troy, in the process neglecting his wife
and teenage daughter. Now comes the twist to the story.
Troy is captured in a shootout, but goes into a coma. Now, he has hidden a cache
of nuclear weapons somewhere in the city which is primed to go off in a couple
of days. They have to be found and taken out, or the city would go - as Castor
would say - BOOM! Now Archer uses a new scientific procedure to replace his
face with that of Troy's... presto, Nicholas Cage is Sean Archer, who now goes
undercover as Troy. Now Cage is put in a max security prison to get the info
out of Troy's brother.
But things don't always go smooth. The real Troy gets up from his sleep and
finds that he no longer has a face. So he takes the help of his gangster friends
and takes the only one available... that of Archer. Now the game of cat and mouse
is reversed with the cop taking the guise of the robber and vice versa.
Here you have a memorable scene where Archer (actually Troy) comes to meet Troy
(actually Archer) in prison. And hereon, the real Troy is intent on messing
up the real Archer's life.
Now the real Archer breaks out of prison to find out all the people who knew
about the face-off procedure have been killed by the real Troy. He starts a
war, which will either see him or his enemy dead. No prizes for guessing who
The story is very far-fetched, and the action is typical Woo - fast and flashy.
But clash of the titans, Travolta and Cage, elevates the movie beyond the popcorn
genre. Definitely worth a see, at least to compare the different ways in which
Travolta and Cage play either of the characters.