Saturday, January 03, 2009

Basement Treasures: Face/Off Widescreen Premium Card

Digging in a box in the basement, I came across some forgotten treasures. Here is one of them.

When it was first released in 1997 I loved John Woo's Face/Off. He showed me that two guns were always better than one, that slow motion can hide bad acting and that gun fights in churches don't have to be sacreligious (especially if there's doves). Nicholas Cage was deliciously over-the-top and John Travolta was still on his honeymoon free pass from Pulp Fiction.

A couple of years after its theatrical run and well after its video release, Paramount launched its widescreen line of VHS tapes. Aimed at film fans who didn't mean the two black bars at the top of their screens if it meant the whole picture was shown, the line was a warm-up for what was to come as DVDs went mainstream. I quickly bought the tape and found the following inside:

Yes! Travolta and Cage in their widescreen glory on a card. Well, at least a postcard. You see, with the full screen you'd only see a cropped picture of the two faces. But with widescreen, you get the guns too. Without the guns you've got no tension, just Travolta yammering on.

Here's the back, which is accompanied by a promotional blurb:

In recent years I've come to realize Face/Off really isn't that good of a film. Rather it's a greatest hits package of Woo's older Hong Kong action pictures like Hard Boiled, The Killer, A Better Tomorrow and A Better Tomorrow II (all of which truly rule if you like action movies and don't mind subtitles).

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