John Travolta is Vic Deakins, a bomber pilot who launches a devilish plan to hijack two nuclear missiles for big-time extortion. Vic never sweats, spews out great one-liners, knocks off money men with glee, toys with killing half a million people... he even smokes!
If you giggled at his "Ain't it cool" line from the trailer, you're in the right frame of mind for this comedic action film. Never as gritty or semi-realistic--or for that matter as heart-thumping--as the original Die Hard, Broken Arrow still delivers. If Travolta is cast against type, everyone else is by the numbers; Christian Slater as Hale, the earnest copilot looking to foil the plot, Samantha Mathis as the brave park ranger caught in the middle, Frank Whaley as an eager diplomat, Delroy Lindo as a right-minded colonel. As with his previous script (the superior Speed), writer Graham Yost moves everything quickly along as Hale and the ranger try to cut off Deakins's plan over a variety of terrains. We have plane crashes, car chases, a pursuit through an abandoned mine, a helicopter-train shootout, and lots of fighting between boys. Each time Hale finds himself perfectly in place to foil Deakins. You're suppose to laugh at the unbelievable situations. That's where Arrow is deceptive: its tone is right for the laughter compared to the mean-spirited Schwarzenegger and Stallone action films with labored jokes. Hong Kong master director John Woo (The Killer, Hard Target) pulls out all the stops--slow motion of Hale and Deakins's gymnastic gun play, nifty stunts, countdowns to doomsday. Woo may know action, but he needs more guidance in creating unique and stunning special effects. This is action entertainment at its cheesiest. Travolta and Woo later reteamed for Face/Off. --Doug Thomas