Face/Off (1997)

America never did John Woo any favors, did it? The man who gave us “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” now offers us a movie where American stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage seem to be competing to see who is a worse actor. I guess when you’re working alongside Cage, though, you either have to be as awful as he is, or else risk causing some kind of black hole. Either way, for a man who has such a skill for delivering breakneck action films, “Face/Off” is that movie so moronic, you can’t even excuse it as science fiction. It’s kind of that movie you just accepted in 1997 mainly because Cage and Travolta joining forces was a little better than when Travolta met Christian Slater in “Broken Arrow.”

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The Killer (Dip huet seung hung) (1989)

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Chow Yun Fat is probably one of the best action stars I’ve ever come across, and the thing I love about John Woo is his utter ability to bring the best out of Fat, regardless of the film. Woo’s crime drama “Hard Boiled” is similar in many ways. It’s about a hardened killer with demons outrunning a rebellious cop, but that’s not a caveat in any sense. Because at the end of the day “The Killer” is a rather fantastic piece of crime cinema that really warrants its place as a masterpiece. I’m sad to say I never gave Yun Fat too much of my attention in the past, but thanks to a friend passing along “Hard Boiled,” I’m suddenly very interested to see what else this man has up his sleeves.

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