If you’re in the hunt for beautiful, touching, and emotional movie music, 1997’s Face Off original score would seem an unlikely starting point. Known primarily for director John Woo’s signature ballets of violence and an over-acting clinic by stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, Face Off did moderately well at the box office that summer and has since etched its way into the hearts of action film fans worldwide thanks to its crazy premise and intense action sequences. It remains one of Woo’s best-reviewed American films.
Composer John Powell’s Face Off score is as tense and fast-paced as the action on screen – for the most part. Driven by horns, percussion, and powerful string arrangements, it’s a thrilling listen. Lurking beneath the brush, however, is the final track, “Ready for the Big Ride, Bubba.” This plays during the film’s final reunion scene and it is absolutely breathtaking. It starts off dark and deliberate, but eventually builds up and explodes at the 2:08 mark into one of the most beautiful pieces of film music I have ever heard. It conjures up all kinds of emotions, happiness chief among them. I have read of this song being used during weddings and it makes a whole lot of sense. As exquisite, graceful, and gorgeous movie music goes, “Ready for the Big Ride, Bubba” ranks high.