Broken Arrow

Yes, John Woo can make a solid Hollywood action picture -- he could probably make one standing on his head -- but why should we want him to? Woo's Hong Kong pictures were rapturous fusions of eroticized violence and operatic sentiment, and we loved them precisely because they did things that Hollywood can't (or won't) do. Woo's new movie is action, American...read more

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Yes, John Woo can make a solid Hollywood action picture -- he could probably make one standing on his head -- but why should we want him to? Woo's Hong Kong pictures were rapturous fusions of eroticized violence and operatic sentiment, and we loved them precisely because they

did things that Hollywood can't (or won't) do. Woo's new movie is action, American style: expertly constructed, reasonably entertaining and thoroughly trivial. John Travolta plays gleefully against type as a turncoat pilot planning to blackmail the U.S. government with stolen nuclear weapons;

Christian Slater, his staunchly upright ex-buddy, is out to stop him. They clamber all over an impressive array of military hardware, trading bullets, punches and meaningful glances as a bass guitar vibrates portentously. The vestiges of Woo's achingly romantic style play badly in this can-do

context, while the mayhem is never more -- and occasionally less -- than competent.

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