Broken Arrow (1996)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
John Woo John Woo
John Travolta John Travolta
Christian Slater Christian Slater
Samantha Mathis Samantha Mathis
Delroy Lindo Delroy Lindo
Bob Gunton Bob Gunton

6.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Action, Action Thriller, Chase Movie
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Review by Chad
Added: September 19, 2007
John Woo - you can just go ahead and insert your rating right here. Well, you probably could do that; after all, the man has a very distinctive style to go along with his action flicks, a fact which leads to a fair percentage of his movies turning out to be extremely similar affairs with different actors, but that hasn't stopped us from reviewing anything else, now has it? I thought not. Besides, with the recent events surrounding the military and nuclear weapons, I thought that it would be appropriate to give this bargain bin purchase some coverage.

So, what's the story this time around? Well, we kick things off with Vic Deakins (John Travolta) and Riley Hale (Christian Slater), two Air Force boys who have been assigned to test a new type of stealth-enabled jet which also happens to be carrying two nuclear missiles. Why they'd be carrying those types of weapons on a test run is beyond me, but we wouldn't have a very exciting movie otherwise. Anyway, Deakins eventually shows his true colors by pulling a gun on Riley, but luckily for our hero, he's able to eject himself out of the plane just in the nick of time and parachute safely to the desert below. We soon discover that Deakins plans to detonate one of the missiles in the Utah desert to get the government's attention before offering them a deal: they pay him $250 million dollars, or he detonates the other one in a heavily-populated area. However, what Deakins doesn't plan on is Riley teaming up with a park ranger (Samantha Mathis) and setting out to put an end to his scheme, and we have ourselves another John Woo action-fest.

Now, with this being a Woo film, you should already know what to expect: lots of explosions, lots of gunfights, lots of slow-motion jumps with huge balls of fire just narrowly missing our heroes, and of course, slow-motion jumps with our hero firing off two handguns simultaneously. Each of those things seems to be a director trademark for this fine gentleman, and to exclude them would almost be criminal. However, there's also a lot of other action sequences here which elevate this beyond "just another mindless action flick" into "total guilty pleasure": the action takes place in the desert as mentioned, but it also moves to planes, trains, automobiles, boats, and even a couple of helicopters. There's a lot of variety to be found here, and although each of these settings are littered with the aforementioned Woo trademarks, they're still done nicely and a treat to watch.

I also enjoyed the performances of Travolta and Slater in the leading roles. Now, keep in mind that I'm not praising them for conventional acting abilities; no, I'm critiquing them as compared to other action stars, and although neither one of them will ever be held up to the standards of a Schwarzenegger or Stallone, they're both surprisingly good here. They both have a couple of weak moments, but for the most part, they play their respective evil villain / invincible hero roles as good as one could hope for from a couple of actors who aren't exactly known for being "action" men.

Overall, you should probably have a good idea of what your reaction to this film will be, even if you haven't actually seen it yet. Do you like movies where damned near everything ends up exploding? Do you enjoy watching dozens of people being mowed down by guys packing guns that have unlimited ammunition? Is a credible storyline a trivial afterthought? How about throwing in a couple more explosions for good measure? If that sounds like your kind of movie, you could do much worse than Broken Arrow. 7/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/19/2007, 03:02 PM
Entertaining as hell! I love "Broken Arrow" for a couple of reasons: (01) John Travolta as over-the-top and bad ass as ever and (02) that Simpson/Bruckheimer feel that the film had, just like "The Rock" and "Con Air". This film was very entertaining and there's never a dull moment. And when do you get to see Christian Slater with this much to do in a film these days? 8/10.
Edd #2: Edd - added 09/20/2007, 03:19 AM
This movie eluded to John Travolta playing the uber-antagonist in Face/Off. Suprised the song Broken Arrow wasn't in the movie. 8/10
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