The inspirational sports drama has become a dependable staple of film, and while some like Aaron Sorkin’s Moneyball or Sean Astin's Rudy involve an individual’s triumph more than an entire team’s, more often than not the two are spliced together with the coach overcoming some personal issues while raising a ragtag group of players from obscurity to excellence. Steve Rash’s Crooked Arrows plays into that formula without a single reservation, content to let the fact that it’s about a Native American lacrosse team be its only identifying quality to separate it from the rest. And really, that is all the separates it. The writing is cheesy, but within a tolerable range, and the decent acting from Brandon Routh and Gil Birmingham is enough to offset the rest of the cast, leaving its concept to be the only thing you might remember a few days later.
Joe Logan (Routh) has lost his way as a mixed-blood member of a struggling Native American tribe, and in an attempt to infuse the reservation with a new source of income, Joe arranges a deal for a new attraction to be built on the tribe’s land—but first he must prove to his father (Birmingham) that he can reconnect with his heritage. To do so he’s tasked with coaching the tribal high school’s lacrosse team, banking on his own experience as a near-championship winning player. Along the way he rediscovers where he came from and teaches a group of poorly equipped and poorly trained kids how to take back the game their ancestors created.
Crooked Arrows hits all the expected highs and lows and never once deviates from formula. You can see every twist coming from miles away, if only because you’ve seen it in just about every other inspirational sports movie ever. Despite all that, it still has its family-friendly entertainment value and anyone who just wants a low-key sports film will get just enough in Crooked Arrows to tide them over until something with more to say comes along.
DVD Bonus Features
An audio commentary and a number of featurettes cover topics like giving the film an authentic view on Native American culture, the history of lacrosse, and the film’s use of lacrosse players to make its action look good.
"Crooked Arrows" is on sale October 23, 2012 and is rated PG13. Drama, Sports. Directed by Steve Rash. Written by Brad Riddell, Todd Baird. Starring Brandon Routh, Chelsea Ricketts, Crystal Allen, Gil Birmingham.