We call it corn, the Native Americans call it maize. Whatever you call it, theres a ton of it in the screenplay of Crooked Arrows.
Its billed as the first movie about lacrosse, the countrys fastest-growing sport and also the continents oldest, played by the six nations of the Iroquois confederacy going back a thousand years or more a heritage reflected in the underdog scenario that drives Crooked Arrows.
Former Superman Brandon Routh (part Kickapoo, who knew) plays Joe Logan, a Sunaquat Indian and former lacrosse star whos now a sell-out and a real estate hotshot who wants to sell tribal land to a casino operator. The tribal elders agree, on the condition that Logan coach the tribes moribund team, part of a spiritual quest to restore Sunaquat pride, and Logans own neglected heritage.
If you cant see where this is going, youve got your lacrosse helmet on backward. Crooked Arrows borrows liberally from every sports movie ever made its a Remember the Bad News Mighty Ducks with all of the stock characters: the giant, the chubby guy, the selfish star, the undersized kid, etc., each with his own predictable arc. The movie even has its own Miyagi a shaman who teaches the teens the history and spiritual discipline behind their ancient game.
But you know what? It mostly works. Crooked Arrows (financed by the Onandaga Nation) finds a personality and a niche in its Native American setting. The Sunaquat team really does become a worthy underdog rooting interest, matched as they are against snooty prep schools.
And Crooked Arrows has something many sports movies forget to include kids who can really play. The Sunaquat team has authentic Native American players (two play collegiately at Albany) who obviously know and love the game. Director Steve Rash uses them as the centerpiece of crisp, economical action scenes that give the movie punch to go along with its heart.