Broken Arrow

on February 09, 1996 by Susan Lambert
Hong Kong director John Woo has come home to the bosom of the American action film with this "Die Hard" in the high desert. Unlike Woo's clunky "Hard Target," this time out he has talented actors, a significant budget and, more importantly, he now seems to know how to play the Hollywood game. Woo revisits his homoerotic brotherhood theme when hotshot stealth bomber pilots Deakins (John Travolta) and Hale ("Bed of Roses'" Christian Slater) must challenge each other over the right and wrong way to play with nuclear warheads. As the beautiful but simple hero, Slater is aided by the sharp but almost unrecognizable Samantha Mathis ("Little Women") as park ranger/love interest Terry Charmichael. But Woo abandons his favorite theme as easily as a child would a toy his friends don't think is cool anymore in favor of a multitude of special effects and a fun frolic of explosions.
Except for the excellent execution, detailed craftsmanship and occasional flashes of poetic visuals, "Broken Arrow" is almost indistinguishable from every other strong-female, stronger-males, hip, high-speed action flick. In Travolta, Woo may have found his stateside Chow Yun-Fat, the actor who worked with Woo on multiple Hong Kong films. Travolta chews scenery as if it's the special on an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are glaring logic leaps and laughably awkward romantic moments, but none of that matters, for with "Broken Arrow" Woo is working his way further into the heart of Hollywood, where he will one day make us a masterpiece. Starring John Travolta, Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis. Directed by John Woo. Written by Graham Yost. Produced by Mark Gordon and Bill Badalato. A Fox release. Action. Rated R for strong action violence and language. Running time: 108 min.
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