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Broken Arrow


This movie makes me afraid to go back and watch John Woo's "Face Off". It's one of my favorite films, but I haven't watched it in probably 15 years. After seeing Woo's MI:3 and shaking my head and then sitting through the incredibly stupid BROKEN ARROW from 1996, I'm wondering if I'd still enjoy "Face Off".

I guess the big difference is that I thought this one was pretty damn dumb when I first saw it in theatres.

John Travolta is horrible as Stealth bomber pilot Vic Deakins, a cocky idiot who's got a master plan to steal two nuclear weapons. Travolta called his performance in this film "larger than life". That's one thing you could call it.

The only man in his way is his co-pilot, the much more likable Christian Slater as Riley Hale and Park Ranger Terry Charmichael.

(By the way, what is it with these character names? It's like they looked up "hackneyed character names" in Google and started plugging them in.)

So how does a park ranger get involved? Well after our two boys get in a fight in the cockpit of their stealth, they get ejected and the unarmed nukes get dropped in the canyon regions of Utah. It's as dumb as it sounds.

I love Howie Long on Fox NFL. But there's a reason his movie career never took off, starting with his performance here. If Travolta is way OVER the top here, and oh yes, he IS, it's safe to say Long took the opposite approach, delivering line readings so dull they make him blend into the scenery even more than his camouflage MC Hammer pants.

The plot is ridiculous and its more predictable than a Brady Bunch episode, although some of those were probably better acted.

This was screenwriter Graham Yost's follow up to "Speed" and its a sophomore slump of the worst kind. Every character seems to think they are Schwarzenegger in Predator, with a clever one liner to follow every landed punch.

Its embarrassing. Slater emerges pretty unscathed, as does Samantha Mathis as our park ranger, but great character actors like Bob Gunton (24) and Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty) are wasted and poor Frank Whaley (Pulp Fiction, The Doors) is saddled with horrible lines that Olivier couldn't salvage.

Nuclear bombs explode, fistfights happen in trains, on top of trains and under trains. Woo bathes everything in slow motion and silly edits and it eventually fizzles out under the weight of Travolta's horrible performance and really dumb storytelling.

It's said that 60,000 rounds of ammunition were used during filming.

Less bullets, more story please.

Woof. BROKEN ARROW gets a D.

And I'm still scared to watch "Face Off" again.....

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