We call it corn, the Native Americans call it maize. Whatever you call it, there's a ton of it the screenplay of “Crooked Arrows.”
It's billed as the first movie about lacrosse, the country's fastest growing sport and also the continent's 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 (who is part Kickapoo) plays Joe Logan, a Sunaquat Indian and former lacrosse star who's now a sellout 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 tribe's moribund team, part of spiritual quest to restore Sunaquat pride, and Logan's own neglected heritage.
If you can't see where this is going, you've got your lacrosse helmet on backward. “Crooked Arrows” borrows liberally from every sports movie ever made — it's 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 American Indian setting. The Sunaquat team really does become a worthy underdog rooting interest, matched as they are against snooty prep schools.