Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Theatres: Crooked Arrows (2012)

Everyone loves an underdog story, right?

Hollywood has produced a fair amount of sports movies with that particular theme over the years. The "Bad News Bears" series. "Hoosiers". "Miracle". Now comes an independent film that takes on a sport that wasn't quite so popular 30 years ago, and the heritage that comes with it.

"Crooked Arrows" was produced in conjunction with the Onondaga Nation in Western New York, and, in the open, explains the origins of lacrosse, which was created by Native Americans around the 13th century. In 2012, a Native American school lacrosse team fills the underdog role of the likes of the Bears. When we first meet these kids, they're having trouble just scoring goals, let alone winning.

Enter Joe Logan (Brandon Routh, "Superman Returns", also an executive producer and a part-Native American himself), who had played the game at snooty Coventry Academy, but had cost his team the state championship 14 years ago. Today, Logan runs a casino, and is attempting to negotiate a land deal that will benefit both the Sunoquat nation and the businessman he works for. In order to make the deal happen, Logan, reluctantly, becomes the coach of the lacrosse team, aided by his younger sister, who was injured in a game. Not only that, but Logan must also reconnect with his tribal heritage in order to succeed.

In the tradition of the above films, the Sunoquat Crooked Arrows reach the state title game vs. Coventry, a game meriting television coverage (ESPN's Sean McDonough makes a cameo appearance), and, well, I think you can guess the rest. After all the growing pains, both spiritually and as a team, have the Arrows matured enough to finally overcome the one obstacle in their path? Hmmmmmm, you don't suppose.......

Here's the trailer, from the movie's YouTube channel:

It can be construed that this would be a comeback vehicle for Routh, who wasn't exactly a hit with critics as Superman 6 years ago. He comes across as a Tom Cruise clone, circa "Rain Man" more than "Jerry Maguire", but the movie as a whole is equal parts "Bad News Bears" & "Thunderheart".

"Crooked Arrows" is getting the select cities treatment for now, and for once, Albany got to be one of those "select cities". It opens in wider release in a couple of weeks. Some of the trailers were the same ones I saw last week (i.e. "Brave", "Amazing Spider-Man"), plus "Men in Black 3", opening this week, and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days", the 3rd movie in that series. To each their own discretion.

Rating: A-.


Samuel Wilson said...

This first came to my attention when I saw posters in some neighborhood shop windows -- an unusual promotional approach these days. It definitely looks like a unique film given the subject matter, even if it also looks cliched. It would have been cool if they could get Jim Brown for a cameo, since he is considered one of the greatest collegiate lacross players of all time. In any event, I may not see this but more power to you for giving an indy film some needed attention.

hobbyfan said...

I happened to see a standup display for "Arrows" when I went to see "Avengers" a week earlier. A review in Friday's Times-Union suggested to me that this was a good alternative to "Battleship".

We'll see if there are other reviews.