Face/Off knife?

Aug 23, 1999

I just rented a movie, Face/Off, that I can't really recommend, but it had a very interesting knife in it. Does anybody know what that small kris-like thing was that John Travolta gave his 'daughter'?
It's a Bali-Song Kris Blade...I'm not sure if it's a Benchmade or not, but it sure looked quality in the movie.
..It wasnt anything, as it was scratch built in the "prop shop"...If you look really close, there was no closing latch onit...

I was told that it is a custom benchmade. Not sure if that's true but the handles sure look like benchmades.
I have not yet been able to get this movie, but I am told by knowledgable folks who have seen the movie that it is a charming cheapie the likes of which can be purchased on e-bay for $10 any day.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Balisong Kriss blade.

Dano...... not all Balisongs have latches. Some people prefer them that way.

Clay G.

Definitely it's a custom bali. If you look closely at the blade's tip it's not bent like the cheapo ones, ya know where it looks weird for a kriss blade that the tip hooks over instead of a steady wavy blade.

BTW, great website ya got there, Chuck.

Clay, you look great on those movie clips ya got there. Are you ready to take em' bad boys out there?

[This message has been edited by Rommel (edited 11 September 1999).]
The Sherwood video store called today. They finally got a new copy of Face Off. The old one was never returned. They had me first on the waiting list.

First, that's a lot of movie to sit through for very little balisong. And I'm sorry, but I've never liked Travolta.

Second, Travolta's manipulation sucks. Couldn't they get Imada to teach him one or two tricks?

Hello? I am available for consulting!

Now, as to the knife itself. I hate to disagree with those who insist that it is a special custom Benchmade, but I doubt seriously that Benchmade had anything to do with that knife. It's a charming China cheapie folks. Nothing more. You can buy that knife on e-bay most any day.

The latch has been removed, probably because Travolta couldn't deal with it. When BM does a latchless, they don't cut the latch channel. When BM does a latchless, they don't drill a hole for the latch pin. If you get the movie on DVD and show it on a good set and frame-by-frame through the knife's brief screen time, you can clearly see both the channel and the pin hole. It's obvious that the latch was removed.

You can also see the witness lines on the sides of the handles too. Witness lines are the lines left by the joints in a mold when a part is formed by molding. The handles on that knife are molded, probably Zamak.

Yes, BM made knives with molded Zamak handles, their "Economy Line." But, the BM Economy Line never had a kris. Furthermore, the Economy Line never had the Large Hole, two small holes, Large Hole... skeleton pattern. BM took the extra step of grinding off the witness lines on the Economy Line handles, too.

The Large Hole, two small holes, Large Hole... pattern has been historically associated with BM and with Jodi Samson, but, unfortunately, it's not trademarked and it's been widely copied.

The kris really looks bad. BM has not done a kris since Mr. Samson left. I don't think they'd do a kris right now. It's a very difficult blade to make well. Furthermore, why the kris? The movie plot doesn't specifically call for it. Yeah, it adds extra dramatic flare to the knive, but a flashy spearpoint or Weehawk Tanto would work just as well. Had they asked BM to make a knife for this movie, I'm sure BM would have declined to do a kris right now.

Why would BM be involved with this movie? It would be a huge effort on their part to make this knife (remember, they're really a production company). Making a balisong for a movie would only promote a product line they've discontinued. That makes not sense.
And if they were involved, they'd have made a better knife than this.

I believe that what we have here is a charming China Cheapie with the latch removed. Nothing special at all.


On, and thanks for the kind comments about my website.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!

Chuck, I had a feeling you'd say something like that. Travolta WAS pretty Un-impressive in that scene......LOL.

Ya' went off on quite a tangent there bud..... slow weekend?......LOL.

Clay G.

I made a mistake. That happens at midnight after just watching a bad movie.

Benchmade's Zamak handles do not have witness lines because they're not molded, they're sand cast. Sand casting doesn't leave witness lines.

I was also wrong to think that BM's didn't show witness lines because they machined them off. Being very brittle and very grainy, Zamak doesn't machine well.

Injection molding requires first making an expensive mold tool. After you've invested in the mold, you can make millions of pieces for pennies a piece with automated equipment.
Sand casting does not require such an expensive mold, but it remains a labor-intensive process, so the piece-price of the parts doesn't fall as it does with molding. So, sand casting is typically used either by manufacturers who can't afford the up-front investment in a mold tool, or by medium-volume production requirements.

Anyway, this all makes another blow against this knife being a BM. BM has always done sand casting, not molding.

Could they cast a part with "witness line" features on it or even machine one that way? Of course. But why?

You'd be essentially going to Rolex and asking them to make a custom watch as a prop for your movie. I'm sure they'd say, "Of course we can do that. What would you like? Something in solid gold? Something with an extra fancy band? Diamond encrusted?" When you answered, "No, we're looking for something that looks like a cheap dime-store digital watch with a black plastic case, and a cheap plastic band with tacky graphics printed on it in neon colors." Their response would be, "If that's what you want, then why don't you just go to the dime store and buy one?"