`Broken Arrow' Is Right on Target

By Soergel, Matthew | The Florida Times Union, February 9, 1996 | Go to article overview

`Broken Arrow' Is Right on Target


Soergel, Matthew, The Florida Times Union


Yowzah! Broken Arrow slaps us around with its opening scene --

two boxers thunking away at each other -- and doesn't let up for

another 108 minutes.

It's got it all: Exploding helicopters, desert canyon shootouts,

runaway trains, timebombs ticking away to zero, even the odd

nuclear explosion. Plus we're treated to John Travolta in his

full hammy glory, and the serviceable conversion of Christian

Slater to action star. (Hey, who isn't, these days?)

In this jolt of pure adrenalin from Hong Kong action director

John Woo, Travolta and Slater are two hotshot pilots who take

their Stealth bomber out for a test drive -- with a couple of

live nukes on board.

But first they've got some macho sparring to do, in and out of

the boxing ring.

Travolta: "You don't have the will to win."

Slater: "I know you -- you love having the power of God at your

fingertips."

Holy Foreshadowing!

Before you know it, Travolta has flipped Slater's ejection seat

and landed the two nukes out in the middle of the Utah desert.

For ransom, don't you know -- or the destruction of a large

Western city.

But Travolta, our favorite Evil Genius in quite some time, has a

little problem. The plucky Slater -- dusty and battered -- is on

his trail, helped by the quite-capable and funny Samantha

Mathis, a park ranger who will soon be having a far more

exciting day than normal.

And no matter how hard Travolta and his minions (including the

hulking ex-footballer Howie Long) try to shake them, they hang

on. A couple of regular Energizer bunnies, they are.

Travolta seems to be having too much fun as the bad guy, hamming

it up big time. When he turns truly bad, he even speaks through

clenched teeth, a la Clint Eastwood at his most squinty. That

makes it most amusing when he patiently asked his clumsy

henchmen: "Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear

weapon?"

There's a whole lot of lifting of Eastwood's spaghetti westerns,

in fact -- lots of big desert panoramas and menacing stares. …

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