Gladstone’s Great Things That Suck – Face Off

by Gladstone

face offMaybe at some point I’ll rant about more recent things, but as for now I still have some residual animosity to purge. Last week, we discussed Wall Street from the 80s, and now we turn to the 90s’ Face Off.  (So I’m improving. . .) Now, some of you may be saying, “wait, does anyone think Face Off is great in the first place?” If that sums you up then chances are you’re under 30.  It seems today’s sassy generation recognizes Face Off for the campy disaster of crap that it always was – probably because Travolta and Cage went on to make many more very bad movies, but for anyone sentient during its release, you’ll recall that this movie was praised as the blockbuster action film of the summer.

The plot? In order to thwart a psychopath bad guy (Cage), a law enforcement agent (Travolta) steals his face through new miracle science. Well, things go bad and Cage steals Travolta’s face right back and then everyone in the world thinks the guy who looks like Cage (who is Travolta) is bad and the guy who looks like Travolta (who is Cage) is the good guy! OH NO! Btw, did I mention Cage murdered Travolta’s son before the movie started?

Anyway, I get it. It’s a big fun action movie. You have to suspend your disbelief. I mean, don’t go see Face Off if you can’t accept people can steal each other’s faces. But if you’re gonna ask your audience to swallow such a massive conceit, then you have to give them a break at some point, and Face Off never does. 

So, ok, back to the action.  Good guy gets sent to jail.  Bad guy gets to sleep in good guy’s bed. Gets to sleep with good guy’s wife.  (Yep, the mother of the boy he murdered).  Gets to corrupt good guy’s daughter. (Not sexually, just, y’know, teaches her how to use a knife).

Fast forward to the end. Good guy escapes.  Goes to a church where the bad guy is.  Why? Because churches look cool I guess. He has a clear shot at the bad guy who as you’ll recall, murdered his son, got him imprisoned, and banged his wife.  What do you do? YOU KILL HIM. Instantly. No questions asked. But where’s the cinematography in that you ask.  (If you’re director John Woo, and/or an imbecile).  So the good guy tells the altar boy to go tell the bad guy in the pew that he’s arrived to seek his vengeance. Guess what?  Although that does lead to a slow motion gun fight replete with inexplicable doves flitting about, it does result in the bad guy’s quick easy death. 

After about 25 more minutes of completely goofy action, good guy kills bad guy and gets his face back. Oh, and by the way, the bad guy has a son the same age as the good guy’s dead one.  Accordingly, Travolta (now with Travolta’s face) silently gestures to the boy and his wife nods because all adoption decisions (especially ones about adopting your son’s murderer’s child) can be made as easily as “say, you want to get coffee from this Starbuck’s here?”


Hate by Numbers: Real Steel – Gladstone

HBN 72: Is “Real Steel” The Worst Hugh Jackman Movie Ever?



In the return of the fan-sponsored Hate By Numbers, Gladstone asks – is Real Steel the worst Hugh Jackman movie ever? (Yes, including Van Helsing). Check out more HBNs at