This January, Badass 101 bids adieu to its home at Mason Park (the series – monthly 35mm screenings of the best action film ever – will move to Vintage Park in March) but before it goes, things are going to get a little crazy. Nic Cage crazy.
I’m not going to lie – I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Cage. The actor, with his feverish intensity and often perplexing performance choices, knows how to make a movie entertaining – even if it means grabbing the film by its shirt collar and dragging it, kicking and screaming, into the sunlight for all to see. Cage can turn even the worst of films into a highly watchable parade of crazed eyes and shouted exclamations. Give Nic Cage a good script, though, and the result is pure cinema magic.
FACE/OFF features the story of a cop and a crook – their lives entangled in a mess of personal issues and vendettas – who trade faces (and lives) in a hair-scheme attempt to bring justice to the world. The result is messy – as might be expected. It’s also a whole lot of fun.
On Sunday, January 13 we team up with Badass Digest for one such magic show – a 35mm screening of FACE/OFF, a movie that not only features the frenzied little hedgehog of madness that is a Nic Cage performance but the laid-back bravado and slick seduction that was mid ‘90s John Travolta. Fresh off his success from PULP FICTION - but before BATTLEFIELD EARTH - Travolta was riding a newfound career resurgence and all the gut-swinging freedom and confidence that came with it. Thusly, FACE/OFF saw two actors prone to hamminess trading over-the-top line readings as frequently as their characters traded bullets. It was incredible.
But this is BADASS 101, not NIC CAGE 101 (though that would definitely be a series I’d be interested in organizing) so no discussion of FACE/OFF can be had without bringing up John Woo – the film’s director. Woo had been courted to America based on the success of his Hong Kong action films (essential viewing including THE KILLER and HARD BOILED). Faced with studio interference and inadequate scripts, though, Woo churned out a series of American films that were fuzzy reflections of the director’s true capabilities. With FACE/OFF, Woo was given near complete creative control and the result is a movie full of amazing practically realized stunts, beautifully poetic flourishes and enough slow motion bullets, doves flying and falling through the air whilst firing two guns to make any action junkie perk up and take notice.
FACE/OFF is pure ‘90s action hullabaloo at its best. It’s smart, funny and wildly entertaining. Don’t miss our special 35mm screening of the film this Sunday. Arrive early – we’ll have mattresses set up so you can practice shooting two (cap) guns while jumping through the air.
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