The ’90s were replete with gloriously over-the-top action movies. We can blame Die Hard and Lethal Weapon in the late ’80s for giving way to a barrage of even more bombastic cinematic shoot-em-ups. And it was into this world that Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo broke into Hollywood. After his 1992 movie Hard Boiled (still a classic of the cop genre), Woo came to America for the Van Damme actioner Hard Target and the military thriller Broken Arrow. But it wasn’t until 1997 that Woo hit pay dirt with the most ’90s action movie ever. Face/Off. So of course they’re remaking it.
As reported by Deadline in late 2019, Paramount will remake Face/Off with an Oren Uziel script. Uziel wrote 22 Jump Street, The Cloverfield Paradox and Sonic the Hedgehog. New reports in February 2021, also from Deadline, state that Adam Wingard will direct the new film. Wingard has thus far helmed thrillers like The Guest, You’re Next, and the 2016 Blair Witch sequel. His next film, Godzilla Vs. Kong, comes out in March 2021.
This is certainly an odd choice for remakes. And, yes, Deadline and Paramount are saying “reboot” but you can’t reboot a single movie. There isn’t a franchise in need of rejuvenation. At any rate, Face/Off is such a product of the time and its creators, it seems impossible to recapture. To say nothing of the premise–in which a special agent and his master criminal arch nemesis swap literal faces–Face/Off needs the massive personas of Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. They were enormous do-whatever-they-want movie stars and they both chewed the eff out of the scenery, playing their original characters and then each other.
Paramount Remaking FACE/OFF with Adam Wingard as Director
And a premise like that needed John Woo! Woo is a master of orchestrating action set pieces. He turned an otherwise absurd movie into the flawed classic it is today. Think about the trademarks that only Woo could bring in: shooting two guns whilst flying through the air; copious slow-motion doves; a final battle on speed boats. That’s all Woo, baby! But, in an age where remakes are their money and so are the worms, everything not already a remake has the potential to be one.
Featured Image: Paramount
This article was originally posted on September 9, 2019 and updated on February 11, 2021.