Released in February of 1996 and grossing a respectable $70 million domestically, Broken Arrow is a true 90’s action film. Filled with bizarrely comedic dialogue, an over-the-top villain in John Travolta, and a whole lot of stuff blowing up real good (helicopters, hummers, trains, people), it’s best remembered as a high-energy spectacle with plenty of signature John Woo moments (no pigeons that I recall, however). It’s also the only time I have ever seen Roger Ebert change Gene Siskel’s mind on a movie.
Hans Zimmer’s score is instantly recognizable and was used widely throughout the 90’s in trailers and other films. Many will remember it as “Dewey’s theme” from Scream 2, but it all started with Broken Arrow. Zimmer’s work is typically fantastic, making use of a wide array of instruments and arrangements. The real masterstroke is bringing in legendary guitarist Duane Eddy to play a simple, yet immensely distinguishable lead baritone guitar riff. It sets the tone for Travolta’s villain theme and is the building block for the rest of the score. It’s a big, epic piece of music that still deserves praise some eighteen years later.