With his second American film, John Woo presents us with a wild ride full of non stop action. Once again he's given sort of a shit script with an over the top ridiculous story, but at this point we're starting to expect that. "Broken Arrow" represents a solid version of Woo sporting poor foundations and lots of visual flair and charm. Although its a fun watch, it rarely rises above that.
Hale (Slater) and Deacon (Travolta) are two buddy pilots and some of the best there are. When a live run of a stealth bomber carrying two live nukes on it is sabotaged by Deacon, Hale finds himself rushing against time to stop his old friend. With the help of a park ranger (Mathis), he has to stop Deacon from going too far off the crazy train and detonating a nuke in a major city if a ransom by the US government isn't paid.
In true Woo fashion, "Broken Arrow" full utilizes its action content. Although clocking in at almost 2 hours, the film rarely feels like it slows from breakneck speeds as time becomes a frantic pace (sometimes to the suffering of the plot's logical jumps) and the bullets fly faster. Woo makes great use of a rather bland setting, the Utah desert shouldn't be this exciting, with some very cool sequences like a massive shootout in a copper mine and a very cool train finale. He also seemingly hates helicopters in this movie as he blows up a solid handful of those. This is truly what Woo does best and he continues to embrace it despite "Broken Arrow"'s shaky script.
This film also has quite a bit of charm to it thanks to our two leads. No I'm not talking about the leading lady. She is actually one of the biggest weakness of the movie with her shitty line delivery and rather useless character arc. I'm talking about the lovable hero Slater and crazy ass Travolta. Travolta in particular seems to own the villain roles and his crazy portrayal of Deacon is damn worth watching this movie for. These two do their best to cover their character flaws and script abnormalities and its recommendable.
"Broken Arrow" definitely has some awesome moments (like any time something blows up!), but it isn't enough to cover its sub-par script and very shitty dialogue. It has its charming moments particularly from Travolta ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?") and in the end its a fun ride. Not to be taken seriously, but a fun way to spend a few hours.
Written By Matt Reifschneider