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Woo Is Us

How about a Travolta homepage or the official movie web site?

    Working on a relatively small canvas--Travolta and his shrinking crew arrayed against Slater and his reluctant, accidental helpmate, park ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis)--Woo sacrifices the stuntmen-of-thousands set pieces that make The Killer, Hard Boiled and A Better Tomorrow so breathtaking. Even Woo's signature image of a man leaping/falling, arms extended, gun in each hand, blazing away in slow motion looks tired when it's a weak hitter like Slater instead of the incomparable Chow Yun-Fat, star of Woo's best Hong Kong features. The high-speed stunts on a runaway train are sharply executed but don't exceed anything in Under Siege 2.

    Travolta, relishing the villain's freedom to steal scenes, enlivens the screen every time his brush-top haircut rises above the horizon line. Too bad that his every quip and quirk has been overexposed in the massive publicity campaign; the producers unwisely held nothing back. (Travolta ought to win an Academy Award for Best Performance in a Trailer). On the plus side, Mathis' character convincingly combines common-sense fear and some surprising mental and physical resources under pressure. Even better, four, count 'em four, helicopters go up (or is that "down"?) in flames--blowed up real good. You won't see that in Bed of Roses.

    Broken Arrow (R; 118 min.), directed by John Woo, written by Graham Yost, photographed by Peter Levy and starring John Travolta, Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis.

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From the Feb. 15-21, 1996 issue of Metro

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