Broken Arrow

Year: 1996
Director: John Woo
Cast: John Travolta, Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Delroy Lindo, Howie Long, Frank Whaley, Jack Thompson
One of the first films to cement and further galvanise John Travolta's new status as mainstream Hollywood leading man (for the second time, after Pulp Fiction rejuvenated his career so utterly).

Broken Arrow is the term the screenwriters would have us believe military strategists use to describe a lost nuclear device. In this case, it's been taken by one half of an elite stealth bomber piloting partnership, between Travolta and Slater.

When he goes rogue with the nukes, it's up to his former partner to bring him to justice, along with eye-candy sidekick, local cop Mathis.

It's all a very middle of the road and dependable action film, with some cool effects, fights and movement. Slater, Mathis and the rest of the cast slot neatly into their moulds, and it's only Travolta that grows bigger than the on-paper role as the villain, using some of his trademark flourishes of charisma to good effect.

John Woo knew he was onto a good thing with Travolta's presence and used the same trick by pairing Travolta and Nicolas Cage to transform Face/Off, a pretty bland action thriller, into a film with rich and distinctive personality.

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