John Woo’s Face/Off is undoubtedly one of the greatest action movies ever made, but it doesn’t make a lick of sense if you put any great thought into the mechanics behind the titular procedure. Luckily, the film has no intention of trying to explain itself, and merely tells the audience that face-swapping is a thing that exists, then it happens and we’re off to the races.
A lot of modern blockbusters struggle to hit that sweet spot when it comes to their central conceit, with many of them becoming bogged down in exposition by explaining the most minute details in painstaking depth, while others simply say nothing and move on. Face/Off 2 director Adam Wingard is hoping to avoid those particular pitfalls, though, by trying to make sure there aren’t any major plot holes or inconsistencies in the setup, or at least as much as you can manage when you’re dealing with such an inherently ridiculous premise.
“There’s always a couple of ways you can approach these kinds of things. We try to address that in this film, because also this is over 20 years later from the first movie. So technology in terms of what in the Face/Off world they can do has advanced, and those kinds of things. So we try to make sure that when the stuff comes up, that we’re checking those boxes and making sure that’s addressed. But at the end of the day, it’s like, yeah, that’s all I’ll say about that, because it’s one of the things. I don’t want to give anything too much away, too early.”
Having just come off Godzilla vs. Kong, Wingard is now well-versed in spectacle-orientated movies where the plot comes secondary to the action, and he went on to reveal that he’s going to try and have Face/Off 2 strike the balance between maintaining its own mythology without having to spell everything out to the viewer.
“That’s the challenge with a film like Face/Off, because it’s such a heightened kind of film. It turned out that the internal logic of Godzilla vs. Kong just didn’t matter to people. That you show it to people and they’re like, ‘No, no, I get that. Why are the characters talking about it still? It’s boring’. And you’re just like, all right, cut it out. But on the page, it seems like this is so important, it has to be that way. And I think when I look at Face/Off, the original, the batting record for things they get away with versus what they don’t is probably one of the most impressive of any film I’ve seen.”
The title told us all we needed to know about Face/Off, which was largely sold and almost entirely succeeded on the strength of the action and a pair of scenery-chewing performances from John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. The duo are expected to return for Wingard’s follow-up, too, but if they’re taking on a supporting role, then the single most important aspect will be the casting of the leads.