There's nothing crooked about the intent of the first lacrosse movie from Hollywood. "Crooked Arrow" is straight from the triumphing underdog catalog of scripts. So why should Long Island's legions of lacrosse players and fans see the film, which has a limited release today in 17 markets before a nationwide release June 1?
It's all about the lacrosse. The filmmakers strove for authenticity by hiring noted sports film veteran Mark Ellis ("Miracle," "We Are Marshall") as co-producer.
So while the plot is trite, the lacrosse action is right. The cameras capture the speed, agility and physical nature of the sport. Many of the athletes have high school and college lacrosse experience. It shows.
There's one brand-name star, Brandon Routh (Superman/ Clark Kent in "Superman Returns"), who plays Joe Logan, an American Indian, a former high school lacrosse star who runs the Lucky Indian Casino and, at the start of the film, seems to have traded his own culture for good old-fashioned American capitalism.
Of course, that changes: A poor upstate New York American Indian high school lacrosse team -- in need of a coach -- is Logan's salvation. But then the cliches pile up: Logan has a tormented past and a Yoda-like Indian confidant. The players are derisive at his first practice. They lose a bunch of games to start the season. There's a snooty prep school team.
Think "Bad News Bears" (not as funny) with a round or two of "Rocky" and some "Hoosiers" thrown in.
As a sportswriter, I wouldn't dare write some of the lines given to the characters, but then again, my descriptions of game-action sequences couldn't match the movie's visual impact.
Same cliches; different sport.
PLOT An American Indian lacrosse team makes it to a prep-school tournament. RATING PG-13
CAST Brandon Routh, Gil Birmingham
BOTTOM LINE Smirk at the cliches, but rejoice, Long Island: For the first time, lacrosse comes to the big screen.