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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.05%
Worth A Look: 27.71%
Just Average31.33%
Pretty Crappy: 18.07%
Sucks: 10.84%

5 reviews, 53 user ratings

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Broken Arrow
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by Matt Mulcahey

"A John Woo movie without doves flying everywhere? What the hell is going on"
2 stars

Broken Arrow is pretty much what you’d expect from the long line of studio action films that followed the massive success of Speed. The film itself would hardly be worth more than a paragraph review if it weren’t directed by John Woo, one of the most innovative and exciting action directors in the history of cinema. The fact that Broken Arrow feels so run-of-the-mill is yet another example of a wonderful foreign talent reduced to mediocrity by Hollywood.

After a disappointing but stylish American debut with the 1993 Jean Claude Van-Damme vehicle Hard Target, Broken Arrow marks the second stateside film of Hong Kong import Woo. But unlike Hard Target, which, despite a weak script and Van-Damme’s perm mullet, still managed to incorporate many of Woo’s favorite tricks, Broken Arrow strips away all of Woo’s artistry and reduces him to just another assembly line action director. You know if Woo had any artistic input at all there would have been flocks of doves flying around at some point in the movie.

But Broken Arrow is dove-less and lifeless, the worst American film of Sam Peckinpah’s heir apparent to the throne of violence made beautiful.

The scenario centers on a disgruntled air force lifer (John Travolta) who, tired of being passed over for promotions, decides to hijack a pair of nuclear weapons and hold them for ransom. It’s up to his inexperienced co-pilot (Christian Slater) and a pretty park ranger (Samantha Mathis) to stop him.

Travolta ‘s turn as a villain is like the film itself: effective in patches, uninspired for the remainder. He spouts off a few good lines but has just as many awful ones (Travolta’s “Ain’t it cool” response to Slater’s assertion that he’s insane is one of the all-time bad action movie lines), as Travolta fails to capture the sinister cool he so desperately strives for. Slater makes a rather bland hero and, along with the disastrous Hard Rain, Broken Arrow helped put a quick end to his career as an action hero.

Unlike the revenge bent protagonist of Hard Boiled or the delicate line between good and evil of The Killer, Speed scribe Graham Yost’s script is strictly big-budget action status quo. The good guys are good; the bad guys are bad. Insert punchless plot twists that merely serve to establish set pieces for action sequences.

Unfortunately, Woo doesn’t have much to work with in the Utah desert were the film is set. Removed from the gritty urban landscape of his past, Woo is reduced to standard explosions and thwarted by the physical limitations of his two stars. Given someplace like the hospital in Hard Boiled, Woo can transform an everyday location into a battlefield. But among the sand of cacti of Broken Arrow all he can manage to bring above standard action fare are a brief shoot out in an abandoned silver mine and portions of the overlong finale set aboard a train.

With its bothersome music by Hans Zimmer and polished look, Broken Arrow feels more like a film by Michael Bay than John Woo.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=515&reviewer=255
originally posted: 01/11/02 19:45:10
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell cartoonish but exciting 4 stars
4/01/10 JB Travolta's performance is terrible and Slater shows why he is not a quality actor 1 stars
3/29/10 Sugarfoot Disappointing when it came out, but now one of Woo's better American efforts. Sad. 3 stars
12/23/09 Jeff Wilder John Woo's direction and Travolta's performance raise it above the ordinary. 4 stars
9/18/09 Steven Fun cheese. 4 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
3/29/08 Pamela White great action Travolta does not make the best villian 3 stars
1/18/08 dude awesome 5 stars
5/24/07 Sugarfoot This is when Woo's legacy started to crumble. 3 stars
3/08/07 johnnyfog Travolta's crazy for no reason. Fairly entertaining 4 stars
1/11/07 Sepi53 Good Action film, Travolta is always great! 4 stars
11/30/06 David Pollastrini Ain't it cool? 4 stars
8/31/06 Michele fun travolta's always good 4 stars
6/12/06 William Goss Along w/ The Peacemaker, a decent actioner that I can flip on and enjoy more than I should. 4 stars
3/10/06 Dillon Pure fun with Travolta chewing up the scenery 4 stars
8/16/05 ES Mr. Travolta playing the same villain we'll get to see over and over again!= poor us 1 stars
6/05/05 Daveman Crap, but entertaining crap. 2 stars
6/02/05 Indrid Cold Very cheesy compared to Face/Off, but still a decent action movie. 3 stars
5/29/05 Phil Thinking "this is one of those crap movies". But can't help liking it! - Decent action flic 4 stars
2/18/05 Jeff Anderson WHAT A WASTE! The action scenes are weak & Travolta just isn't convincing as a villian! 2 stars
9/26/04 Archanist_101 What a classic 5 stars
7/01/04 "Meth Lab" for Dummies. CLASSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/09/04 PAYNE Well... At least it's better than another Van-Dam flick! 5 stars
3/28/04 john "you know...for kids!" 2 stars
3/25/04 Mars 2071 great braindead action-flick 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ A nice little brain dead ACTION flick, for a careless Friday or Saturday... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/04/04 Brandon Brown the movie is dumb 2 stars
12/13/03 Agent Sands Not what one would expect from the Woo man, but a damn good popcorn movie. 4 stars
5/16/03 mr. Pink Oh come on! Yes, it's preposterous and gleefully so! Great Fun! 4 stars
4/24/03 Dark Barøn Travolta is funny! wait, this isn't a comedy?? 3 stars
10/14/02 Jim Unusually involving action flick 4 stars
5/20/02 Charles Tatum Often headache inducing. 3 stars
1/21/02 R.W. Welch Overdone and unconvincing, but some socko explosions. 3 stars
1/11/02 Eskimo Samantha Mathis & Christian Slater together again (lifts ass & farts) oh yeah! 2 stars
12/09/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stealing nukes yet again, can't terrosit think of something original!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
12/01/01 Brian Broken Movie would have been a better title 1 stars
10/27/01 Andrew Carden Let's Face It, Travolta Is Only Good In Thriller, Comedy, or Musicals. 1 stars
8/30/01 TLsmooth The start of Travolta's second decsent into hollywood oblivion. Thank you Jesus. 1 stars
6/25/01 Lars Pettersson John Woos worst movie.(I haven't seen Hard target) But anyways... 2 stars
4/29/01 Bront switch your brain off, and enjoy a movie length explosion, with a great zimmer score 5 stars
12/03/00 Cristopher Revilla good action flick, three helicopters destroyed, weird! 4 stars
11/12/00 The EVIL Penguin just awful 1 stars
6/27/00 Bruce Can't touch Woo's Hong Kong efforts, but still pretty good 4 stars
4/29/00 Joseph P. Ulibas Woo's contractually obligated studio film 3 stars
1/28/99 Scott Stipe This movie led the way for a new wave of in your face action films. Wow 5 stars
1/22/99 C Dub About as entertaining as taking an arrow in the ass. 1 stars
11/16/98 Jules I hate it when an original director buys into the mainstream... 2 stars
11/13/98 Rageboy Woohoo! John Woo and John Travolta rock! Christian & co = cool! Hans Zimmer's score rox 5 stars
9/13/98 Chip Taylor First rate action. 4 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Lousy. Woo's Nike ad with the Brazil soccer team was more enjoyable. 1 stars
8/27/98 Johny Forgiveable because Woo could the power to make FACE/OFF 2 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I'm with Back To The Future girl. Arrow marked the death of Slater's career. 1 stars
8/23/98 JenniferLorraine Depends on what you want from a movie. I felt it was predictable. 2 stars
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  09-Feb-1996 (R)
  DVD: 09-Mar-1999



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