Paramount Pictures is developing a reboot of John Woo's Face/Off. Even by 1990s action movie standards, Woo's original 1997 hit is a bit ridiculous. The film starred Nicolas Cage and John Travolta as, respectively, a maniacal killer named Castor Troy and FBI agent Sean Archer - the man who's been obsessed with catching Castor since he murdered Sean's son. When Castor plants a bomb but is knocked into a coma before he can tell Sean where it's at, the latter decides to undergo facial surgery and (literally) swap faces with him, in order to stop the attack.
Face/Off spent years in development before Cage and Travolta signed on, at a time when both actors were at the heights of their popularity as action movie stars. Bolstered by their gleefully over the top performances and Woo's elegantly stylized action sequences, the film went on to gross $245 million on an $80 million budget, and is nowadays considered a classic of the genre among many cinephiles. So, naturally, Paramount wants to see if there's more life to be found in this particular IP.
According to Deadline, the studio is rebooting Face/Off with a new cast. Neal Moritz (Fast & Furious) and David Permut (who also worked on the original film) will produce, with Oren Uziel writing the script. Uziel previously cowrote the scripts for 22 Jump Street and The Cloverfield Paradox, and he's among the writers who worked on Paramount's delayed Sonic the Hedgehog live-action video game movie adaptation.
The original Face/Off was, in a way, a perfect storm of acting and filmmaking talent collaborating at the right time in Hollywood. Cage was coming off the success of The Rock and his Oscar win for Leaving Las Vegas a year earlier, whereas Travolta was still riding high in the midst of his post-Pulp Fiction career renaissance. Similarly, Face/Off was the first Hollywood production in which Woo had significant creative control, having previously made his name in the Hong Kong filmmaking industry with hits like The Killer. It even pairs Cage up against Travolta in the ultimate scenery-chewing competition, after Castor awakens from his coma and has Sean's own face planted onto him, allowing the actors behind them to channel one another.
That's all the say, it's difficult to imagine a Face/Off reboot catching lightning in a bottle like that again, no matter how well it's done. Unless the plan is to bring Woo back as director, it will be even harder for the remake to match its predecessor's operatic sense of style. Then again, perhaps the plan is to get Woo back. After all, he's currently lined up to direct an english-language remake of The Killer starring Lupita Nyong'o, so he's clearly not against putting a fresh spin on his previous work. Otherwise, this one might be headed the same way as other forgettable '90s action movie remakes (like Point Break 2015) before it.
We will bring you more details on the Face/Off reboot as they become available.