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Broken Arrow (1996, John Travolta, Christian Slater)



Great blockbusters have simple, paper-thin plots but succeed because of great characters and fast-moving action and Broken Arrow, John Woo’s second Hollywood outing after Hard Target proves that. Air Force Major Vic Deakins (John Travolta) is bitter after being passed over for promotion but has a pension plan: steal a Stealth bomber armed with nuclear warheads and sell them to the highest bidder.

The only fly in the ointment is his number two, Captain Riley Hale (Christian Slater) but hitting the eject button mid-flight solves that. As Hale, aided by Forest Ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis), sets off in pursuit of Deakins, with the authorities believing he had a hand in the theft anyway, the missiles change hands several times and, as the film draws to its climax, are primed and ready to explode.

What Woo, best known for all out Hong Kong thrillers such as The Killer and Hard Boiled , brings to the film is a series of all out action sequences, from exploding copper mines to fights on a burning train, from a bus that has to clear a gap in the freeway to a car chase across the flats of Utah. The cat-and-mouse duel between Travolta (a most satisfying villain) and Slater is non-stop and Graham Yost, who scripted Speed and Hard Rain, writes in enough exposition to keep the plot believable but the rest is all in Yoo’s capable hands.

production details
USA | 108 minutes | 1996

Director: John Woo
Script: Graham Yost,

Bob Gunton as Pritchett
Christian Slater as Capt. Riley Hale
John Travolta as Maj. Vic ‘Deak’ Deakins
Casey Biggs as Novacek
Vyto Ruginis as Johnson
Frank Whaley as Giles Prentice
Shaun Toub as Max
Samantha Mathis as Terry Carmichael
Delroy Lindo as Colonel Max Wilkins
Howie Long as Kelly
Vondie Curtis-Hall as Chief Sam Rhodes
Jack Thompson as Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff
Ousaun Elam as Lt. Thomas
Jeffrey J. Stephen as Shepherd
Joey Box as Frakes