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Laramie Movie Scope:
Broken Arrow

John Woo's first big Hollywood film

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 12, 1996 -- The long-awaited John Woo film ``Broken Arrow'' has landed in Laramie and while it is a decent action film, it doesn't measure up to Woo's Hong Kong classic films.

``Broken Arrow'' is Woo's second Hollywood effort, his first was ``Hard Target,'' the 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle. Woo has been a director for 23 years in Hong Kong and is best known for his operatic cops and robbers film ``The Killer.''

While ``Broken Arrow'' is a formulaic action film in the tradition of the ``Die Hard'' and ``Under Siege'' films, it shows Woo can work with big budgets and big stars. The big stars are John Travolta and Christian Slater.

Generation X heart throb Slater plays hero Riley Hale, out to stop his crazed Air Force partner Vic Deakins (Travolta) from selling stolen nuclear bombs.

Samantha Mathis (``The Thing Called Love'') plays a plucky Park Ranger Terry Carmichael who tags along on the chase. Former football player Howie Long makes an easy transition from an Oakland Raider to a villain in the film. Although the acting is good in the film, there is no character development.

Deakins and fellow villains drop a couple of nukes in the desert and try to smuggle them to Denver where they plan to sell them to terrorists. Hale knows how Deakins thinks and tries to head him off at the pass. It's a cat-and-mouse game and a caper story all rolled into one. There are Humvee chases, fights on a train, helicopter chases, more fights, shootings, blood, cursing and lots of neat high-tech stuff in the film. The violence is fairly intense. Woo loves those blood bags.

``Broken Arrow'' is just skin deep, and it isn't original, and it has its share of plot holes, but it is fast and fun. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)