[[quoteright:211:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/face-off_01_9340.png]]

->''"In ''Face/Off'', John Travolta is an FBI agent and Nicolas Cage is a dangerous lunatic ([[BaitAndSwitchComparison he plays a terrorist]]). At one point Cage's character dresses up as a priest, headbangs his way into a church and grabs the ass of a girl singing in the choir. Then he and Travolta switch faces, literally. [[WorldOfHam Everything about this movie is insane]], is what we're saying."''
-->-- '''''Website/{{Cracked}}''''', "[[http://www.cracked.com/article_19635_6-absurd-movie-scenes-that-actually-happened.html 6 Absurd Movie Scenes (That Actually Happened)]]"

'''''Face/Off''''' is the second American HeroicBloodshed film by Hong Kong director JohnWoo, starring Creator/JohnTravolta and Creator/NicolasCage playing an FBI agent and terrorist, as [[ArchEnemy arch enemies]] fighting it out to see who can use [[GunsAkimbo the most guns at the same time]]. Oh, and then they switch places to save LA.

FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (Travolta) has been pursuing his ArchEnemy, terrorist-for-hire Castor Troy (Cage) for six years, ever since Castor sniped Archer's six year old son Michael dead during an attempt on Archer's life. After an intense gunfight, Archer captures Castor, putting him in a coma in the process. However, Archer is nonplussed to learn that before Castor's lights went out, he placed a bomb somewhere in Los Angeles.

Theoretically, this would be where the movie completely jumps the rails - but that would assume [[RatedMForManly it was ever on rails]].

In order to find where Castor has planted the bomb, Archer is forced to have Castor's face surgically transplanted onto him so he can get close to Castor's nerdy brother Pollux. Except, while Archer (now played by Nicolas Cage) is away, Castor wakes up from his coma and forces the doctors who performed the surgery to do the same to him, and then murders them and everybody else who knew about the operation (including Sean's best friend and partner Tito). With his new face, Castor (now played by John Travolta) begins inserting himself into Archer's life, including wife Dr. Eve Archer (Joan Allen) and daughter Jamie Archer (Creator/DominiqueSwain).

Although the film is a straight-up action flick with all the requisite high-speed chases, hidden bombs and hostage situations, it's also ''very'' much tongue-in-cheek.

Not to be confused with the series ''Series/FaceOff'', a makeup-F/X reality competition on the [=SyFy=] Channel.

----
!!Tropes included:

* ActuallyIAmHim:
** Victor Lazarro corners Castor about his CowboyCop raids:
-->'''Castor Troy:''' OK, Victor, I'll, uh, give the taxpayers a break. ''[puts his hand on Lazarro's shoulder]'' But I've got something to confess. I don't think you're gonna like it. ''[puts his mouth on Lazarro's ear]'' I ''am'' Castor Troy! ''[throws Lazarro to the floor and punches him in the chest hard enough to stop his heart completely]''
** Archer and Castor, with each other's faces, are in a Mexican standoff at the church.
-->'''Sean Archer:''' This is between us. Leave them out of it.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' No. You should have left ''them'' out of it. Your son was an accident. I wanted to kill you. But, you took it so personally! Why couldn't you just kill yourself or let it go?
-->'''Sean Archer:''' No father could.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' No brother could either. ''[Castor's girlfriend Sasha comes in with a pistol in hand]''
-->'''Sasha Hassler:''' Neither could a sister. Hey baby. ''[She tosses a spare gun to Archer, as Archer has Castor's face]''
-->'''Castor Troy:''' ''[annoyed]'' Sasha, what the fuck are you doing here?
-->'''Sasha Hassler:''' Gee, Archer, I'm crashing the party. You okay, baby?
-->'''Sean Archer:''' Yeah. I'm fine. Thanks.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' Sasha... baby, ''I'm'' Castor. ''He's'' Archer.
-->'''Sasha Hassler:''' And I'm bored. Put the fucking gun down.
* {{Adorkable}}: Pollux Troy
* AgonyOfTheFeet: One prison guard is shot in the foot from below by Archer during the prison break.
* TheAlcatraz: A secret prison ("Erewhon" i.e, "Nowhere" spelled backwards) , where the prisoners are forced to wear magnetic boots to get locked into place. The prison and its name play into the film's only major TheReveal: as Sean Archer (played by Cage) is escaping the prison, he opens a door to walk outside to what he believes is a roof, only to find that it's a [[spoiler: helicopter platform, and what lies down is not land, as Archer hopes, but sea. The prison really is "nowhere," it's on what used to be an oil rig.]]
* AllThereInTheScript: The script reveals a number of interesting facts about the main characters that were never mentioned in the film:
** Castor Troy received a tattoo of the Sphinx on his tenth birthday. It also turns out that that was the day his mother died by overdosing. Though Castor had attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he failed. Afterwards, he made a promise to protect Pollux. Hence the reason why Castor seems overly protective of Pollux.
** Archer comes close to giving himself away by scratching his wedding band. Pollux is also clearly uneasy after telling Archer the location of the bomb because Archer smiles like himself, not like Castor.
** Sasha Hassler is 35 years old, and met Castor Troy at a Pearl Jam reunion.
** Castor Troy [[BerserkButton does not like]] [[NobodyCallsMeChicken being called a wimp]], as shown in the script's version of the scene where he beats up Jamie's boyfriend. The script also suggests that he doesn't seem really fond of the boyfriend simply because Castor thinks he's a bit old for her, even though the real Archer is a few years older than Eve.
** The script suggests Archer feels like he killed Tito and Lazarro, indirectly (albeit it was Castor Troy using his face).
** Director Lazarro turns out to have formerly served in the Army as an admiral.
* ArchEnemy: Castor Troy to Sean Archer.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Castor Troy's gift box of contraband on the tarmac: two gold plated Springfield pistols, a bag of blue pills, sunglasses, 3 rolled cigarettes (or joints), 4 pieces of Bazooka Joe bubble gum, a switchblade, what appears to be a blue glass vial, and....a pack of Chiclets.
* ArtMajorBiology: The face transplant runs on this. Sean Archer becomes Castor Troy and vice-versa through face transplant. Apparently we are supposed to forget that John Travolta (Archer) is 2" (5cm) taller than Nicolas Cage (Castor), or that their hairstyles do not match (for Archer, Travolta's buzz cut is modified by use of a haircut to match Cage's, but we never know about the reverse, other than potential use of styling gel). Don't ask how muscles, nerves, and blood vessels are connected so well that facial expressions are never compromised on either character afterwards. Or how the surgery is reversed for Archer in the ending after Castor's death.
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: The warden at Erewhon warns new inmates that "the Geneva Convention does not apply here" to intimidate them, but because all of them are civilian criminals and not soldiers captured on the battlefield, it's a pretty empty threat.
** Having a super-secret prison on US soil (or rather, on an offshore oil rig near US soil) where criminals are apparently held indefinitely without trial. A few years after this movie came out there arose significant controversy about the legality of detaining "illegal combatants" who were captured by US forces in foreign countries. From what we see, the people at Erehwon were all criminals captured on US soil. If they are all really that bad, there should be no legal or practical impediment to trying and convicting them in the courts and ''then'' sentencing them to life in prison.
* ATeamFiring: Every. Single. Named. Character.
* AttemptedRape[=/=]DateRapeAverted: By way of the facelift, Castor Troy intends to ruin Archer's life. Even though his personality doesn't change and he's still a psychotic killer, [[EvenEvilHasStandards rape is one crime even he finds too evil]]. In the midst of a heated phone call to Pollux, Castor sees Jamie's boyfriend attempting to rape her after parking his car in front of his house. He tells Pollux to call back, then rushes out, bashes the window, pulls Karl out of the car, throws him around, then forces him to apologize. (Then again, see BedTrick below.)
* AxCrazy: Castor Troy. Pollux is definitely insane as well, but much cooler and calmer.
* BadHabits: In Castor Troy's introductory scene, he plants a bomb in the Convention Center while disguised as a priest. Then he dances away and headbangs to a choir singing "Hallelujah", before stopping to grope a blonde choir girl. (In a deleted scene, he also kills a janitor who catches him in the act)
-->'''Castor Troy:''' You know I never even enjoy the Messiah. In fact I think it's fucking ''boring''. But your voice makes even ''hack'' like Handel seem like a genius.
* BecomingTheMask: Despite the premise, more or less averted save for one scene. When Archer starts fighting another prison to prove to Pollux that he is Caster, he comes dangeriously close to actually killing the man by bashing his face in with a serving tray. He snaps out of his state just become he does though, and is clearly horrified by what he was about to do.
* BedTrick: Castor Troy with Eve Archer.
* BilingualBonus: The priest near the climax prays not just in English but also in Latin (with a little Greek) [[spoiler: in the funeral]]. They are the Sign of the Cross, with some other Latin Prayers during a Latin Mass and the Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy).
* BillingDisplacement: Averted with the fact that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are billed first in the credits, as the leads. However, they credit Travolta as only playing Archer and Cage as only playing Castor, the roles they are in at the beginning of the movie, and miss the fact that they actually spend more screentime playing the ''other'' character. Travolta should actually be credited as "Sean Archer[=/=]Castor Troy" and Cage as "Castor Troy[=/=]Sean Archer".
* BlackBestFriend: Tito to Archer.
* BloodstainedGlassWindows: You just knew that Woo would fit a church shootout into this movie somewhere.
* BluffTheImpostor: Happens to both Archer and Castor. For instance, Castor always refers to Archer's daughter Jamie as "Janie," to the point that when he walks in on her in her bedroom and addresses her as "Janie," he is forced to look at a pillow to realize his mistake. Likewise, when Archer sees Castor's son Adam and embraces him, he mistakenly calls him "Michael" because Adam reminds him too well of his own deceased son.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted. Castor and Archer are seen frequently reloading during shootouts and in the hangar standoff Castor toyingly tells Archer, "Well, you better hit me, Sean, 'cause you've only got one bullet left!"
* BringMyBrownPants: Archer refuses to give in to Agent Miller and Dr. Walsh's proposal for him to take Castor Troy's face to get information on the bomb from Castor, saying "I'll get his gang to talk! That's what I do!" GilliganCut to Archer roughly throwing two of Castor's men out of the observation room and Tito quipping "Damn! What is that smell?" as Archer grilled one of them so intensely that he shit his pants.
* CassandraTruth: When Archer is wearing Castor Troy's face, he ends up forcing himself to take alcohol and drugs with Castor's friends to maintain his disguise; upon doing so, he claims that he knows so much about Archer because he's sleeping with Archer's wife, and that he plans on taking Archer's [[TitleDrop face....off]] and wearing it. Due to the bizarre nature of the claim, Dietrich decides it's actually inebriated gibberish ''[[RefugeInAudacity despite the fact that everything Archer said is absolutely true]]''.
* CastingGag: Dietrich's sister name is Sasha. His actor Nick Cassavetes also has a daughter named Sasha.
* ChairmanOfTheBrawl: Eve hits Castor with a chair when the Mexican standoff is broken to disarm him and keep him from shooting Archer.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Prior to the surgery, Dr. Walsh tells Archer that his and Castor's blood types are different, as Archer has O+ blood and Castor has AB- blood. Eventually, after all the efforts Archer has tried to make to warn Eve that Castor is impersonating him, he uses the story of their first date to convince her that he's her husband. He also manages to convince her to take a sample of Castor's blood knowing that when she runs it through a hemoglobin test, she will find the blood type to be AB-.
** Also, the voice chips that give Archer a Nicolas Cage voice and Castor a John Travolta voice when they acquire those respective faces end up proving a problem for Archer when he realizes he doesn't sound like himself.
** After the attempted rape scene, Castor gives Jamie a [[ButterflyKnife butterfly knife]] and shows her how to stab someone in the leg with it. Should have been careful with that, because when he uses her as a human shield against Archer in the church standoff and prepares to execute her, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard she takes out the knife he gave her and stabs him the way he taught her!]]
* CheshireCatGrin: When Castor strides into the prison visitor's room wearing Archer's face, he gives one of these to demonstrate how delighted he is that Archer is locked up in prison while he is a free man.
* TheCoatsAreOff: Though this usually happens before a fight, Castor removes his jacket and rolls up his sleeves, singing "hallelujah" to himself while preparing to disarm "Sinclaire".
* ColdSniper: The opening flashback shows Castor Troy setting up a sniper rifle on a hill overlooking a carousel that Archer is taking his son Michael on. He takes aim, and when he gets a clean aim, he fires. The bullet ends up going through Archer non-lethally and kills Michael.
* CombatSadomasochist: Castor Troy looks like he's having an orgasm whenever he's doing evil things. For example, in the first chase and shootout, he has what looks like an o-face or a SlasherSmile as he pushes the beaten Agent Winters out the plane door in front of Archer, pistol to the back of her head, shouts "One of yours, Sean?!" and then proceeds to execute her to taunt Archer.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: It seems that large numbers of FBI agents, cops, security staff, and special agents are incapable of facing off against Castor Troy in a shootout. In the hangar gunfight, Castor offs the FBI agents like they were candy with just his twin gold-plated pistols (and at one point a SWAT officer's shotgun) until Sean Archer is taking him on one-handedly (for some reason the dozens of other agents stay out of the action once Archer and Castor have pistols trained on each other - but then again, Archer has a more personal vendetta against Castor than they do). Said agents should be much better trained to have the upper hand in a gunfight.
** Not even the SWAT teams are immune given the number of agents at Dietrich's apartment who are shot while wearing paramilitary gear and submachine guns. The Los Angeles FBI field office has to be suffering a severe shortage of men to adequately staff it by the end of the movie.
* CoolShades:
** Castor has a special pair of sunglasses that he wears at the airport prior to getting on the plane that look like a custom pair.
** John Travolta, both as Archer and as Castor, has a lot of scenes with very impressive looking aviator sunglasses.
* CoolGuns[=/=]BlingBlingBang: Castor Troy's weapon of choice during the opening chase and shootout are a pair of custom gold titanium nitride plated Springfield Armory M1911-A1 pistols. Later, Archer-as-Castor ends up using them in the shootout at Dietrich's apartment while Castor-as-Archer must settle for Archer's old duty pistol. The pair that Dietrich gives Archer prior to that shootout is definitely a different pair, though, given that the pair Castor used at the hangar shootout were likely seized by the police and booked into evidence.
* CountingBullets[=/=]OneBulletLeft: The hangar standoff has this:
-->'''Sean Archer:''' ''[jams pistol to Castor's neck]'' Give up, Castor! Your time's up! ''[beat]''
-->'''Castor Troy:''' ''[laughs]'' Well, you better hit me, Sean, 'cause you got only one bullet left!
-->'''Sean Archer:''' So do you!
* CynicismCatalyst: One sees that Sean Archer fell into this after his son's death, which has led to his obsessiveness and ruthlessness dealing with criminals, ''especially'' [[ItsPersonal Castor Troy]]. He gets better with time.
* DateRapeAverted: Castor beats up an abusive boyfriend who attempts to rape Jamie.
* DeadlyEuphemism: "And stay away from downtown on the 18th. It's gonna be a little, uh, ''[grins]'' '''smoggy'''."
* DeathBySecretIdentity: Invoked by Castor by admitting to Archer's boss Victor Lazarro about his true identity before triggering his heart attack.
** Completely averted for Sasha as she dies without realizing that it's Archer she's saying her last words to, not Castor.
* DefrostingIceQueen: It appears that Archer was probably a pretty nice guy to work with originally based on his behavior in the opening flashback. Six years later, the death of his son has Archer acting like a jerk towards his fellow agents, and somewhat estranged from his own wife and daughter due to his personal obsession over stopping Castor Troy. Then he finds himself wearing Castor's face, and Castor ends up with Archer's face. Wearing Castor's face allows Archer to begin to realize just how severely his obsession with hunting Castor affects those around him, especially when one of the consequences is Castor receiving Archer's face.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight:
** Archer's son dies on the carousel when Castor's bullet passes through Archer's body and hits him in the head. Archer subsequently cradles his dead body.
** Dietrich is shot in the neck by Castor while taking a bullet intended for Sasha, and Archer grabs him as he collapses.
** When the Mexican standoff in the church is broken, both of Castor's enforcers are dead, and Sasha is lying mortally wounded on top of Archer. She manages to tell Archer to raise Adam for her before she takes her last breath.
** As scripted, Pollux's death was originally this, as the script has Castor grab him, apparently trying to invoke this trope.
** The computer file on Archer's son even references the trope:
-->'''Carousel Sniper Victim'''\\
Murdered 9 September 1991\\
'''Damage Report:''' The boy died in the arms of his father, FBI Agent Sean Archer, on the carousel in Griffith Park. Castor Troy had intended to kill Sean Archer but the bullet traveled through him and struck Michael in the chest.
* DirtyCop: Castor Troy abuses his job as an FBI agent to get Pollux released from prison by having him "confess" the location of their big bomb so that Castor can "locate" it and play hero, as well as get rid of rival criminals and stealthily take Archer's place in his family.
* DisposablePilot: The "who's gonna fly the plane?" thingy is subverted by Castor Troy. When Archer shoots two of the plane's engines, they short out and set off the engine fire alarm. Castor promptly executes the pilot with a bullet....but it turns out he can't get the plane up in the air either as Archer had previously damaged the wingflaps with the skids on the police helicopter, so Castor instead frantically diverts the plane off the runway...and into a hangar.
* {{Dissimile}}: "It's like looking in a mirror, only ''not''."
* DrivenToSuicide: Castor attempts this after Archer kills Pollux, but Loomis walks in on him as he's about to shoot himself. Seeing "Archer" upset, he asks Castor what he's doing. Castor instead snaps and promptly shoots him in the face.
* DisturbedDoves: It wouldn't be a JohnWoo film otherwise.
* DuelingStarsMovie: Nicolas Cage vs. John Travolta
* EroticEating: Castor Troy has a strong fetish for peaches, both around his girlfriends before he gets Archer's face, and around Eve and Jamie afterwards. He could even eat a peach for ''hours''. It's enough of a fetish that the test line of dialogue utilized by Dr. Walsh to coach Archer into mimicking Castor's voice is a clip from an audiotape of Castor talking about his fetish.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The sequence prior to the airplane action sequence establishes who exactly our two leads are: Sean Archer is shown venting his frustrations on his subordinates at the FBI field office. Meanwhile, Castor Troy sets the timer for a massive bomb he calls "[[ICallItVera Sinclaire]]" (she will [[DoubleEntendre blow]] you AWAY!), then [[EvilIsHammy headbangs to Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus"]], and even gropes a blonde choir girl, practically looking like he's orgasming at that point. If you didn't get how much of a MagnificentBastard Castor was from those few minutes, you must have been sleeping through it.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Castor Troy genuinely loves his eccentric idiot-savant brother Pollux. He refuses to kill him even after Pollux accidentally betrays their location to Archer by personally paying for the private jet (instead of letting one of their cronies do it) as most terrorists would have, sheds tears when Pollux dies and even ties his shoelaces for one last time before leaving.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: [[ZigzaggedTrope Zig-zagged]] with Castor Troy, an indiscriminately murderous scumbag. He beats up Jamie's boyfriend's for trying to rape her and gives her a knife for self defense. However, earlier in the film he also threatened to rape Jamie ''[[RelativeButton to her father's face]]''. He shows that he's serious when, during the standoff in the climax, [[{{Squick}} he licks her face while she thinks Troy is her father]]. In the opening Troy also shows shock when he accidentally shoots Archer's son, but when he visits the boy's grave with Archer's weeping wife he looks more bored than remorseful, and every scene with Troy's girlfriend indicates that he couldn't give a bent penny about actually raising his own kid. The only definite redeeming trait he ends up with is [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes his love for his brother Pollux]].
* [[EveryCarIsAPinto Every Boat is a Pinto]]: It's a JohnWoo film, what do you expect? If a boat crashed and DIDN'T turn into a ball of flames you'd be asking for your money back.
* EvilIsPetty: At the end of the final battle, Castor-as-Archer realizes he's screwed, since Archer-as-Castor has him pinned to a wall with a speargun aimed at his bolt. He musters just enough strength to grab the bolt and tries to mutilate Archer's stolen face with a piece of shrapnel in one last act of hateful petty spite.
* EvilParentsWantGoodKids: Sasha's dying words.
* EyeTake: Several times with Castor - multiple times during the hangar shootout when he's reloading. Another one is an extreme close-up so that you can see a hint of anger building up in him when Lazarro confronts him after Pollux's death.
* {{Facepalm}}: Archer's reaction upon discovering that the Walsh Institute is keeping Castor alive and on life support.
* FakeUltimateHero: When Castor decides to have Pollux "confess" the location of their bomb so that he can "locate" and disarm it to "thwart" his own plan to get $10 million in exchange for being praised.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Castor Troy is very affectionate towards younger brother Pollux, and even has a much friendlier attitude and offbeat sense of humor when communicating with his fellow FBI agents than Archer ever has. That being said, Castor is also a career criminal who has done such things like amputate a victim's limbs before shooting said man in the face with his own gun and tossing his remains out of an airplane, and Castor is a thousand times more dangerous once he takes Archer's face and begins posing as him.
* FieryCoverup: When Castor visits Archer in Erehwon Prison to taunt him. He flashes a newspaper article in Archer's face headlined "Deadly Inferno at Walsh Institute". Cue flashbacks of Dr. Miller, Dr. Walsh, and Tito tied up, bound and gagged as Leo and Lars douse them in gasoline. Then a hand flicks a cigarette lighter and drops it in the puddle, causing a fire that destroys the lab.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' I torched ''all'' the evidence that proves you're you, okay? So, wow! Looks like you're gonna be in here for THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS!! Now, I have got to go. I've got a government job to abuse and ''[whispers into Archer's ear]'' a lonely wife to ''fuck''. Oh, I'm sorry...make love to! God, I miss that face!
* FreakyFridayFlip: The main setup for the plot, except Archer and Castor's faces and voices are swapped, not the minds, but the effect is the same.
* GlassesPull: Castor Troy loves pulling his shades off in dramatic ways, especially when he's posing as Archer.
* GoodIsBoring: "Ahhh, yes. The eternal battle between good and evil, saint and sinners... but you're still not having any FUN!"
* GoodVsGood: Archer-as-Castor finds himself in this situation during the apartment shootout as in addition to dealing with his own pursuit of Castor Troy, he has to deal with being shot at by the very FBI agents he is supposed to be working with
* GoshDangItToHeck: Castor curses like a sailor but oddly doesn't like when other people curse at him.
* GroinAttack:
** Archer-as-Castor gives a couple in the prison breakout.
** At the end, Archer has Castor pinned against a wall, and tries to fire a speargun into his gut. Castor catches the bolt and starts taunting Archer, who just snaps and cuts him off with a knee to the balls, causing Castor to lose his grip on the bolt and get impaled.
** Which combines with a glorious ShutUpHannibal when, after Archer knees Castor, he screams "DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!" as the harpoon runs him through.
** Jamie's boyfriend gets the receiving end of this when Castor beats him up.
* GunFu: This ''is'' a JohnWoo film, after all.
* GunsAkimbo: Archer and Castor on multiple occasions
* HamToHamCombat: For most of the film, Castor Troy is John Travolta pretending to be Nicolas Cage pretending to be Travolta, while Sean Archer is Nicolas Cage pretending to be John Travolta pretending to be Cage. [[CrazyAwesome It's just as glorious as it sounds.]]
* HarpoonGun
* HeelFaceTurn: Sasha, which [[RedemptionEqualsDeath costs her life]].
* HeroicBloodshed: The best-known and most-quoted example of this trope in western cinema.
* HeroicBSOD: Archer combines this with a monumental OhCrap at the prison when he is told he has a visitor. He goes to the visitor's room. The door opens, and in walks Castor Troy wearing Archer's old face, casually revealing that he's killed the surgeon who did the surgeries and then ''[[FieryCoverup burned down the building to destroy all evidence of the switch]]''.
* HighConcept: Sean Archer, top agent in the FBI Los Angeles field office, played by John Travolta, plays off against Castor Troy, most wanted terrorist in the United States, played by Nicolas Cage, and they have to impersonate each other while desperately racing to try and cause/prevent acts of terrorism, each being hounded within an inch of their lives by their own allies along the way.
* HiredToHuntYourself: A twist variant: upon taking Archer's face, Castor is hunting "himself" (actually Archer).
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Castor's butterfly knife technique is used against him by Archer's daughter.
* HuskyRusskie: Ivan Dubov.
* HypocriticalHumor: "You watch your fuckin' mouth!" is one of Castor's most common catchphrases.
* ICallItVera: Castor has a big bomb. Her name is "Sinclaire," and she is going to [[DoubleEntendre blow]] you AWAY!!
* ISurrenderSuckers: Castor Troy pretends to surrender to Archer in the hangar standoff when it turns out Archer was bluffing him about his pistol having one bullet left. As he's breaking down, with Archer's pistol pressed to his forehead, he suddenly grins and replies "Well, I think you'd better pull the trigger, 'cause I don't give a fuck! ''[sings]'' I'm ready, ready for the big ride, baby!" and it turns out the whole time that he's been secretly drawing a knife from his back pocket. The trick fails to work on Archer, who catches it just in time.
* IndyPloy: Archer staging a jailbreak
* JanitorImpersonationInfiltration: Upon learning of Castor and Pollux chartering a plane, Archer has an undercover female agent, Winters, put on the plane posing as a flight attendant. [[DisposableWoman Which doesn't end well for Winters]].
* JerkassHasAPoint:
** While Archer is a little overboard criticizing the people for celebrating his original defeat of Castor Troy, he is right to point out the names of the people that were killed in the shootout are more deserving of the toast than him.
** Likewise, one sees that Archer clearly has some points about being reluctant to undergo a surgery giving him Castor's face. His point being that there are a number of ways in which such an undercover operation could be bungled, like Castor coming out of his coma.
* JoggersFindDeath: If you freeze-frame when Archer logs onto his computer, you'll see that the first thing that comes up is a summary report on one of Castor Troy's earlier crimes. The details as gleaned from the file note that Castor hijacked a wealthy Swiss banker's private jet for $5 million in funds, tortured said banker by amputating both of his arms, before shooting him in the face with his own gun and tossing his remains out of the plane, where the body was found by a jogger in a local park.
* JuxtaposedHalvesShot: The posters/covers juxtapose three quarters of both Nicolas Cage's and John Travolta's faces using shadows to split them down the middle, highlighting that both actors play Sean Archer and both play Castor Troy, also averts Misplaced-Names Poster.
* LargeHam: Nicolas Cage and John Travolta spend the movie trying to [[HamToHamCombat top each other]] as both Castor and Archer. Both succeed.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Archer's whole family has one.
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: When the plane starts careening towards the hangar, Castor shuts down the throttles and the music slows down until the aircraft crashes through the windows.
* LemonWackyHello: You can tell that Archer's obviously not used to the drugs he has to take to maintain his impersonation of Castor...
-->'''Sean Archer-as-Castor''': I want to take his [[TitleDrop face...off]]!
-->'''Dietrich''': ''[copying the gesture]'' The face.....off. ''[Archer collapses on a bed]'' No more drugs for that man.
* MagicPlasticSurgery: One of the crowning examples.
* MeaningfulName: While Pollux and Castor Troy are named for the Gemini twins, Castor also shares his name with a type of legume people often mistake for being some form of bean. Just by donning Archer's face, Castor is able to fool ''everyone'' into thinking he's the good guy.
* MexicanStandoff: A very masterful one of these goes down in the church near the end of the movie. It ends in a BlastOut. Castor even lampshades the number of participants, laughing, "WHEE! What a predicament!"
* MySisterIsOffLimits: Immediately upon entry into Erewhon Prison, Archer gets beaten up the Russian inmate Ivan Dubov, who has sought revenge against Castor ever since Castor had three-way sex with Dubov's wife and sister. Later inverted, when Archer recruits Dubov to help him escape by telling him he didn't actually do it.
* NeverFoundTheBody: Castor Troy is told that Archer has escaped from prison and is presumed deceased.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' Where's his body? I want to see his body.
-->'''Wanda:''' It hasn't been recovered yet.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' ''[angrily]'' "It hasn't been recovered yet"?! ''[beat]'' Get the LAPD on this!
-->'''Wanda:''' Even if he is alive, Castor isn't stupid enough to come back to this city!
-->'''Castor Troy:''' You-you ''must'' trust me. He's already here.
* NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup: Averted with face replacements. [[spoiler: Even though the doctor who originally performed the procedure is dead, the FBI has some of their best doctors flown in to reverse it on Archer.]]
* OddFriendship: Much of Castor Troy's dialogue, especially at the hangar standoff, suggests despite everything he puts Archer through, he sees him in his own sick and twisted way as a friend. The way he suggests Archer be a terrorist for hire is like the equivalent to a teenager suggesting to his reluctant buddy that they blow up mailboxes for fun.
* OhCrap:
** Archer, wearing Castor's face, is told he has a visitor at the prison. He is in the visitor's room, the door opens, and he comes [[IncrediblyLamePun face-to-face]] with....Castor Troy, wearing Archer's old face. To drive the point home, we have Archer just staring straight on for about 30 seconds, thinking "[[FlatWhat What?]]" as Castor smirks, then cockily strides towards Archer, and breaks into a grin:
-->'''Castor Troy:''' OOOOOEEE, you're good lookin'! Ya ''hot''! ''[He advances on Archer]'' It's like looking in a mirror, only ''not''. ''[beat]''
-->'''Sean Archer:''' Troy?
-->'''Castor Troy:''' Now ''that'' [[JustBetweenYouAndMe is between us]], OK?
-->'''Sean Archer:''' But you were--were, uh-
-->'''Castor Troy:''' In a coma? Nothing like having your ''face'' cut off to disturb your sleep! Read the newspaper lately? ''[flashes a newspaper article in the real Archer's face headlined "Deadly Inferno at Walsh Institute" with Dr. Walsh's picture]''
-->'''Sean Archer:''' You killed them?
-->'''Castor Troy:''' Yeah well, beats paying the bill, huh? Come on, uh, if a face lift costs five grand...''[shows Archer's wedding ring on his hand]'' '''see anything you like!!???''' ''[cut to Tito bound, gagged, and being doused in gasoline]''
-->'''Sean Archer:''' Tito! ''[A hand flicks a cigarette lighter and drops it in a puddle of gasoline, sparking a fire that spreads towards the hostages]''
-->'''Castor Troy:''' I torched all the evidence that proves you're you, okay? So, wow! ''[looks at his watch]'' Looks like you're going to be in here for ''[in na-na voice]'' THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS! ''[quietly]'' Now, I have got to go. I've got a government job to abuse and ''[whispers into Archer's ear]'' a lonely wife to fuck. Oh, I'm sorry...make love to! God, I miss that face!
** The look on Castor and Archer's faces when they simultaneously realize the boat they are fighting on is about to violently crash.
** In the plane chase, Archer sees Castor march his undercover agent into the cabin and cock the pistol he has trained to the back of her head, leading to a genuine moment of shock as he yells, "He's got Winters, goddamnit!" Then Archer swings around the plane and begins to pull up alongside the wing, when the cabin door opens and Castor pushes Winters out in front of him.
-->'''Castor Troy:''' One of yours, Sean?!
-->''[beat. Castor shoots her in the back]''
-->'''Sean Archer:''' Shit!
* OutOfCharacterAlert[=/=]OOCIsSeriousBusiness: There are a couple of occasions where Archer or Castor, impersonating the other, comes very close to slipping their identity away.
** Castor comes dangerously close to giving himself away as an imposter on at least three occasions:
*** When he meets Jamie for the first time, he mistakenly calls her "Janie" (and one will notice that he refers to her by that name even before his facelift). She is understandably not pleased to find that Castor has "forgotten" her name, and Castor hastily looks at a bed pillow with Jamie's name on it before replying, "I don't think you heard me, ''Jamie''. You got something that I crave." Castor also smokes, while Archer doesn't.
--->'''Jamie Archer:''' Clarissa left those here.\\
'''Castor Troy:''' Oh, well I won't tell mom if you don't. ''[He lights a cigarette]''\\
'''Jamie Archer:''' When did you start smoking?\\
'''Castor Troy:''' You'll be seeing a lot of changes around here. ''[blows smoke rings in Jamie's face]'' Papa's got a brand new bag! OW! ''[Jamie laughs. Castor slowly walks out of the room singing along to the music]''
*** Castor uses Archer's job to cut a "deal" with Pollux to get him out of prison. The real Archer is shown to be a tough cop who doesn't ever cut plea bargains with suspects, and especially not with someone like Pollux. Lazarro even calls Castor out on this, saying it's unlike Archer. Castor gets away by replying, "Well, when all else fails, fresh tactics!"
*** Castor sees [[spoiler: Pollux die in front of him, and understandably he breaks down in tears. Then Loomis sees him and says, "Sir why are you so upset? It's just Pollux Troy." Castor gets away by [[BoomHeadshot shooting Loomis in the face]].]]
*** Throughout all this, one would think Castor's offbeat sense of humor and behavior especially around Eve would tip off that something was fishy about him.
** Archer nearly gives away he's just impersonating Castor on a couple of occasions:
*** This starts as early as the moment he is dumped in jail and he recognizes an inmate who tries to talk to him:
--->'''Burke Hicks''': What's the matter, pal? Dontcha remember the little people? ''[Archer turns to Hicks]''\\
'''Sean Archer''': Burke Hicks.\\
'''Burke Hicks''': Yes.\\
'''Sean Archer''': I bust-----I believe Sean Archer busted you for stalking the UN Secretary General.\\
'''Burke Hicks''': Oh, no, Archer framed me! I had nothing to do with that. Word was you got wasted.
*** When speaking with Pollux, one notices that Archer is rather hesitant and a bit quieter when talking, probably because he knows he has to be extra careful not to say something that could blow his cover.
*** Archer is not used to the drugs that Castor normally takes, so when he takes drug-laced water at Dietrich's place he has a panic attack as his body starts rejecting them.
* PapaWolf: Ironically, Castor and Archer play this on each other's child. Castor beats up the boyfriend trying to rape Jamie in his car in Castor's driveway. Meanwhile Archer finds out that Castor has a son and Sasha is trying her best to raise Adam to avoid a criminal-free lifestyle also counts. Archer subsequently spends the shootout with Castor's SWAT team trying to protect Adam while also trying to keep his own agents safe and taking on Castor.
* PetTheDog:
** The movie does emphasize after the face switches that even though Castor Troy may be a sociopath and murderer, he is a human being capable of all kinds of emotion, just like Archer. This is best seen when Castor breaks down crying after seeing Pollux die, contemplate suicide, only to be stopped when he must shoot Loomis after Loomis catches him acting out-of-character, and then tie Pollux's untied shoelaces for the last time.
** Also seen when Castor stops Jamie from being raped by her boyfriend in the driveway of Archer's house. He may be "helping" by giving a teenage girl a knife without any formal training and committing grievous bodily harm but it's still pretty heartwarming saying that an insane psychopath like Castor who does worse things like kill cops and plant big bombs is stopping this kind of thing.
* PornStache: Castor Troy sports a thick mustache in the opening flashback as he smokes a cigarette and sets his sights on the carousel horse Archer is riding on with his son. It's not said whether it's real and Castor shaved it in the six years before the movie's plot actually begins, or it is a false clip-on Castor was wearing to disguise himself. More likely, it's false, given that Castor is clean-shaven in the police mugshots shown on various FBI computers.
* PrisonRiot: Archer starts one in Erehwon to escape it after he finds out that Castor has taken over his life.
* PsychoticSmirk: In order to stay in character, Archer does one while he is Castor and while he's drunk [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pvb4E3oN4w0 shown in this scene]]. Castor himself is fond of using these while posing as Archer.
* PunBasedTitle: The title refers both to the fact that Archer and Castor's faces are removed and switched, and that they are moving towards an eventual face off against each other.
* PunnyName: In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux were twin brothers of Helen of Troy, hence the origin of Castor Troy's name. Also, the Gemini constellation is on the opposite side of the night sky from Sagittarius the ''Archer''.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Subverted. Castor Troy beats up Jamie's boyfriend when the guy tries to rape the girl in front of his enemy's house, apparently because the attempt disgusts even him. However, the rest of the film strives to portray him as a {{Hypocrite}}. Earlier in the film he gropes a blonde choir girl to "Hallelujah", and insinuates a rape threat on Jamie to Archer's face during hangar standoff ("Say, how is your daughter, anyway? Your... your darling Jamie, your little peach? Is she ripe? Ri-ripe-ripe-ri RIPE!!"). Later on he also [[YouTasteDelicious licks Jamie's face]] while holding a pistol to her head to taunt Archer (while Jamie thinks he's her father because he's wearing Archer's face, no less).
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Sasha.
* RedShirtArmy: The police during the shootout at the airport - both cops and FBI. It's almost as if Archer is the only one capable of taking on Castor Troy without receiving a bullet trying to.
* RelativeButton: As if Troy killing Archer's son during a botched hit wasn't bad enough, he then has to throw in a rape threat towards Archer's daughter Jamie during his arrest of Troy. [[PapaWolf Archer reacts as pissed off as you'd expect]].
* ReplacementGoldfish: Archer sees a lot of his son Michael in Castor's son Adam.
* SanitySlippage: Archer struggles to keep his sanity while wearing Castor's face. For Castor, not so much, as he's already pretty psychotic even before taking Archer's face.
* SarcasticClapping: When Lars and Leo abduct Dr. Walsh and transport him to the Institute, they find the faceless Castor sitting in a chair, watching the video recording of the surgery (according to the script, the surgery was recorded so that Dr. Walsh could undo Archer's surgery) and listening to classical music:
-->'''Dr. Malcolm Walsh:''' What's this about?
-->'''Castor Troy:''' Dr. Walsh! I was just enjoying some of your, uh, greatest hits here. Oh, and I hope you don't mind. I partook in some of your, uh, your groovy painkillers. You know, this is fabulous work. This is... ''[sees the surgery videotape finish]'' Bravo! Bra-[[PrecisionFStrike fucking-vo]]! ''[claps]'' Oh, god, this is excellent! Bravo!
-->'''Dr. Malcolm Walsh:''' What do you want? ''[beat]''
-->'''Castor Troy:''' ''[claps his hands three times. Castor's skinless face is reflected in Dr. Walsh's glasses]'' Take one ''goddamn'' guess.
* SexyCoatFlashing: When Castor "locates" and disarms Sinclaire, an animated graphic of a woman flashing a mink coat while audibly moaning, "Oh baby, oh!" plays over the words 'You disarmed me!'
* SharpDressedMan: John Travolta, whether playing Archer or Castor, spends most of his time wearing three piece suits.
* SiblingsInCrime: Castor and Pollux Troy appear to work together as this trope, based on a police file at the beginning that states that the two together are suspected of assassinating a Croatian ambassador (it reads "Number of hits suggests that Troy had a second shooter; possibly his younger brother Pollux").
* SneezeOfDoom: Averted. After the surgery, Archer is warned by Dr. Walsh to be careful with the voice modification chip in his larynx that scrambles frequencies and transforms Archer's voice into Castor's voice, as a sharp blow or a violent sneeze could dislodge it, but it never happens (it does get dislodged near the end, but not by sneeze).
* ShootTheDog: [[spoiler: Castor shoots Dietrich for telling the police about the bomb.]]
* ShoutOut:
** The scene of [[Film/{{Airplane}} a plane crashing head-on through a glass window]] looks familiar.
** At one point during the prison escape, Archer hides behind boxes with the word "[[Film/JurassicPark Ingen]]" on them. [[BilingualBonus "Ingen" also means "no one" in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.]]
** Archer defeats Castor Troy [[Film/TheDeadPool by impaling him with a spear gun]].
* SignatureStyle: It's a JohnWoo movie. Therefore, the question is not a matter of asking, "Will the lead actors fire GunsAkimbo while flying through the air?" but "''When'' will the lead actors fire GunsAkimbo while flying through the air?" This is answered within the first fifteen minutes, as Castor and Archer do fire twin pistols at each other during the hangar shootout.
* SlasherSmile:
** Archer-as-Castor makes [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_pfnegU3uTGQ/Sk2GGagqFbI/AAAAAAAAABI/OvpVqbSEZhs/S254/nicolascage.jpg one]] [[NightmareFuel HELL]] of a SlasherSmile after taking drugs while seeking refuge at Dietrich's apartment and having a panic attack upon seeing his own reflection in the mirror.
** The look on Castor Troy's face when he herds Agent Winters into the cockpit of his plane with a pistol to the back of her head for Archer to see that reads "Watch me execute your undercover agent, Sean!" He also has a pretty unsettling one when he's cutting his forehead and cheeks with a piece of shrapnel before Archer is able to impale him with the harpoon gun.
* SoftWater: Archer-as-Castor leaps from the helipad of the oil rig into the sea, to no ill effect.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Archer has failed in all prior attempts to convince his wife that he really ''is'' Archer, given that he is fully aware he has Castor Troy's husky voice and the real Castor has taken Archer's voice. Until Archer reminisces over their first date, at which point she knows it's really him because that's a story they share.
* SoundtrackDissonance: "Somewhere over the Rainbow" plays over a gunfight. Bonus points: It's the version sung by Olivia Newton-John, who starred opposite Travolta [[{{Grease}} once upon a time.]]
** Corresponds with DiegeticSwitch, as the song is playing over Adam's headphones while he's being carried to safety during the apartment gunfight. An interesting example, actually, as the movie intends you hear the sound from Adam's perspective, with the music playing much louder than the muffled shouts and gunshots.
* StockScream: One of the guards gives a Wilhelm Scream during the jailbreak.
* StuffBlowingUp: The boat chase at the end. The rule of thumb here is: If a boat comes into the frame, it will blow up during the next 15 seconds.
* TearOffYourFace: Archer and Castor, for contrived reasons, end up surgically switching faces (and taking each others places). After Castor wakes up and before he receives Archer's face (offscreen), he is shown walking around without a face (just barely; it's limited to a couple of seconds of his face reflected in Dr. Walsh's glasses and a couple very quick direct shots when he's clapping after watching the videotape of the surgery; otherwise, we only see him from behind or his shadow on the side of a wall).
* TitleDrop: "Face off" is uttered several times in the movie.
* TooDumbToLive: Seriously Dr. Walsh? Not having ''anybody'' watch over Troy while in his coma? What's the worst that could happen? Maybe he could come out of it and make you give him the surgery and kill you?
* WeCanRuleTogether: During their fight at the hangar, Castor tries to goad Archer by stating, "Why don't you come with us? Try terrorism-for-hire. We'll blow some shit up! It's more fun!" Of course, Archer is not swayed.
* WeNeedADistraction: The original script had Archer getting into his house in a different way: in the script, he uses a trashcan to break the window of a sporting goods store, inciting some teenagers to loot the store. When a police officer arrives, Archer uses the cop's tear gas can on him, then steals his police car. Upon encountering a police roadblock, he gets rid of the roadblock by using his own security code to report a false sighting of himself to the police dispatcher.
* WeWillNotUseStageMakeupInTheFuture: The transplant procedure.
* WetBlanketWife: Eve Archer is one of those "you promised to quit after one last job" types of wives. What makes this example particularly strange is that not only does she seem to show no interest in bringing to justice the Big Bad responsible for killing her son, but Archer doesn't even try to explain to her that there's a nuclear bomb threatening to blow up their city. The movie just sets up Archer as a workaholic cop with a distant marriage and expects it to fly.
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: Frequent later on, when Archer becomes very friendly with the "villains" of the movie ([[UnfortunateImplications who actually turn out to be pretty decent people for serial killers and gangsters]]). Bonus points when it turns out Castor's biological son Adam is being raised by said "bad guys", as well as Castor having them all killed in a staged FBI bust so that he can get back at Archer.
* WithThisRing: Castor taunts Archer at the prison with his own wedding ring. Archer does not take it easily given that it indicates that Castor has killed Tito (and everyone else who know about the plan).
-->'''Castor Troy:''' ''See anything you LIKE?!''
** At the end, while in the ambulance, Archer quickly slips his ring off Castor's limp left hand.
* WorthyOpponent: Castor seems to have some weird level of respect for Archer that is almost like the rivalry of Sherlock Holmes to Professor Moriarty.
* WouldntHurtAChild: One thing that might be in Castor Troy's code of honor is to never intentionally target a young child, as he is ashamed to have killed Archer's son in the carousel sniping instead of Archer, and is unable to hide his remorse when he must go to Michael's grave with Eve.
** WouldHurtAChild: On the other hand, he's perfectly willing to aim a pistol at Sasha while his own child is in her arms. Heck, it's possible Castor might have been trying to hit Adam on purpose if he wasn't trying to off Sasha for talking to Archer.
* YouTasteDelicious: After Jamie inadvertently shoots her own father in his shoulder in the church standoff when provoked by Castor, Castor grabs her, holds a pistol to her head, and in his gleeful way, says "Now let's see what's really in papa's bag: peaches!" and licks the side of her cheek, no doubt to taunt Archer. Given Castor has Archer's real face, this inexplicable [[ParentalIncest sexual assault by the person whom she thinks at the moment is her father]] only further confuses and traumatizes her. But before Castor can then shoot her, Jamie stabs him in his right knee with the butterfly knife he gave her, in the very method he taught her how to use it in.
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