Broken Arrow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The combination seemed perfect: John Woo, Hong Kong's action-director extraordinaire, Graham Yost, the chief scribe of the spectacular film Speed, and John Travolta and Christian Slater, actors both on the rise for better or worse. Unfortunately their movie collaboration, the highly anticipated Broken Arrow, a moderately enjoyable action epic, falls slightly short of what it could have been.

Riley Hale (Slater) and Vic Deacons (Travolta) are pilots assigned to test fly a B-3 stealth bomber containing twin nuclear warheads. Deacons, who hatches a clandestine plot to steal the warheads for a ransom, hijacks the plane and Hale narrowly escapes with his life. The remainder of the film is essentially a gargantuan chase, replete with colossal shoot-outs and marvelous stunts. Some scenes, such as final showdown on a moving freight train, are wonderfully crafted and packed with adrenaline. Others (an incident in a copper mine which had high potential) seem lethargic and trite. It seems as if Yost, inspired by several inventive scenes, hastily packed in some prosaic ones just to complete the picture. John Woo does a noble job keeping each scene visually arresting, although he lapses into one of his biggest weaknesses (also in his last American film, Jean-Claude Van Damme's Hard Target): using a ridiculous number of slow-motion shots, which ruins the pace.

The characters, although portrayed with heartening energy, are also hopelessly banal. The laconic and underrated hero, will win sensationally in the end, meanwhile lightening his dialogue with dry-humored one-liners. The villain, crazed and undeniably brilliant, will prove invincible until the last scene. Even Samantha Mathison, Slater's quirky park-ranger partner (and surprise! eventual love interest) slides comfortably into the sidekick formula: at first she appears useless, but as the film progresses, she transforms into a skilled martial artist who saves the hero on more than one occasion.

Most of the people who plan to see this movie are undoubtedly indifferent to these existential clich"s, and that's alright, for the movie does have its treasures. The makers of Broken Arrow should definitely be commended for creating fairly entertaining film from such a mediocre script




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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