When this film first came out in 1998 we all thought it was a too improbable. The idea that a terrorist attack could make a huge city or even an entire country fear for their safety was laughable. Dial forward several years and it seems a little tame. Now we have to admit that the screenwriter and director got it right. You could almost say that because of what happened in 2001 and the fact that the film takes place in New York it almost hits too close to home.
An interesting aspect of the film is how the residents of the city concerned react. Each of the main characters involved feels they are doing what is right. No one is made out to be the bad guy.
The U.S. military has abducted an Islamic religious leader and as pay back Islamic terrorist cells wage full out terrorist attacks on New York City. Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington – The Taking of Pelham 123, American Gangster), the head of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Division, is teamed up with CIA operative Elise Kraft (Annette Bening – Bugsy, Running with Scissors) to try and catch the terrorists.
They seem to be no closer to catching those responsible and the bombings continue, so the American government brings in General Devereux (Bruce Willis – Live Free or Die Hard, Sin City), who imposes martial law on the city of New York.
The film is not without its weak points. It is a little cheesy and preachy at times. And why is it that any film with a terrorist theme feels it is obligatory to include some Middle Eastern music?
Before 9/11 the film was thought of a decent, but nothing more. Now I think we look at it with a different pair of eyes. It is an interesting look at how people react when they are in a state of complete fear. Today the film has become something that is not just about entertainment.
-Trailers for Broken Arrow, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Edge, and Flight of the Phoenix