Former Superman Brandon Routh neither looks nor convincingly acts the part of an upstate New York Native American in Crooked Arrows, a flaccid fable in which Routh’s casino owner Joe learns to honor his ancestors and “the Creator” through lacrosse. In order to get reservation council approval for his business’s expansion, Joe agrees to coach a ragtag Native American prep-school team. Totemic talismans, “animal spirits,” and eagle allegories are all treated with solemn reverence by director Steve Rash, whose film is predicated on a rote lesson about the preeminent value of heritage and the baseness of capitalistic greed. Despite referring to the tribe as “my people,” Routh is wholly miscast, yet his ill-fitting presence is part and parcel of the plotting’s general illogicality. Rash’s celebration of cultural history also involves pitting Joe’s team against a squad of evil rich white kids who, it’s implied, have stolen lacrosse from its originators and rightful owners. Meanwhile, the repeated employment of hoary sports-movie tropes and Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” prove unpleasant reminders of a past with which no one needs to reconnect.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2012