The Peacemaker has all earmarks of a generic mid/late ‘90s action-thriller and is only remembered thanks to the then up-and-coming star in George Clooney and the beauty of Nicole Kidman otherwise this could’ve easily been just another direct-to-video affair.
Genre(s): Action, Suspense, Thriller
Paramount | R – 124 min. – $24.99 | September 21, 2010
Directed by: Mimi Leder
Writer(s): Michael Schiffer (screenplay)
Cast: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Theatrical Release Date: September 26, 1997
Features: Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Disc Size: 33.3 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
The Peacemaker or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Limelight.
The mid 1990s was a time when George Clooney was enjoying success on NBC’s “ER” and in 1996 he dabbled in feature films From Dusk Till Dawn and One Fine Day and then two more in 1997 with The Peacemaker and, notoriously, Batman & Robin. One was a ho-hum action movie that looked like it was written for Steve Seagal while the other can still easily be called one of the worst movies ever made. So by comparison, the former is a fantastically brilliant film…
Dr. Julia Kelly (NICOLE KIDMAN) is a nuclear expert working for the White House and she is put in charge of investigating a nuclear explosion in Russia that looks like an accident. The explosion occurred during a transport of 10 warheads for some sort of disarmament agreement between Russia and the United States. However, what Dr. Kelly doesn’t know, but we do as it occupies the first 15-minutes of screen time, is that 9 of the warheads were actually stolen by a Russian General while one was detonated to cover the crime which also killed many innocent citizens.
In order to streamline information between her department and the military she requests a liaison who can “take orders from a woman” so they send Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Devoe (GEORGE CLOONEY) who had earlier butted in on Dr. Kelly’s status update with members of the White House and military.
After discovering that the explosion was not in fact an accident and that there are 9 nuclear warheads are possibly headed to Iraq or Iran thus the heat is on to hunt the rogue Russian General. So they run around the world, yell into phones to unknown voices on the other end and watch as a satellite manages to locate the truck carrying the weapons but only for a few moments until it goes out of range. Yep, lots of running, some talking and a plotline that wanted to be more complex than it actually was.
And that’s the crux of my problems with The Peacemaker, a film that does house some entertainment value but the story doesn’t quite connect. As I said, there are many moments where Clooney and Kidman run around, swear a little to make sure we know the situation is uber-serious and talk on the phone to someone we don’t see but they are important people who also aren’t much help to resolve the situation.
In terms of casting, I thought George Clooney, for an early starring role, does an OK job though he’s merely a shell of his current self seeing a discernable difference between his performances here to that in Up in the Air or even the Ocean’s Eleven movies. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman was better known than Clooney having appeared in Batman Forever two years before as well as To Die For and making the scene in Days of Thunder. Both of them I can say are good actors but if the script isn’t there and the character development is one-dimensional, they are not talented enough to overcome it.
The movie was directed by Mimi Leder, one of the rare female thriller directors (well, one of the rare female directors period) having also helmed Deep Impact in 1998, the character drama Pay it Forward followed by many TV gigs including “ER”. For The Peacemaker she’s effective enough and the few action sequences are nice but once again we get back to a story that doesn’t quite gel together.
Overall, The Peacemaker is a half decent action-thriller that could have been more complex than it actually was and while a younger Clooney and Kidman do their best with so little, it’s not enough for me to completely recommend the film.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
All that’s included here is a Stunt Footage (5:36; SD) featurette with behind-the-scenes shots; From the Cutting Room Floor (3:01; SD) which are old interviews with Mimi Leder, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and others that also includes outtakes; and the theatrical trailer (2:30; HD).
VIDEO – 3.5/5
The Peacemaker comes to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in 1080p high-definition. It is presented in its original 2.35 aspect ratio and while the picture overall is fairly soft throughout and might’ve possibly gone through some sort of DNR process (I can’t be certain without comparing it to my original DVD) I thought it’s at least a suitable video transfer. There is some detail level especially for close-up shots and even shots with some dept to it but at the same time it’s just not a film that pops off the screen even by comparison with other catalog films made around the same time. I also noticed bits of dirt in a scene or two so it’s not a pristine video.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
Paramount has given this catalog title a semi-aggressive 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is quite strong during Hans Zimmer’s robust score – with Russian orchestral overtones – yet at times the dialogue was a little hard to hear even during the quieter scenes, which there are plenty early on. When there is action, especially during the third act, you do get a fair amount of explosions, chopper propellers, frantic screaming which has a little depth but seemed to be more center and front side oriented rather than the rear channels. That said, it’s certainly an adequate audio experience especially for a film like this.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
The Peacemaker has all earmarks of a generic mid/late ‘90s action-thriller and is only remembered thanks to the then up-and-coming star in George Clooney and the beauty of Nicole Kidman otherwise this could’ve easily been just another direct-to-video affair. The Blu-ray itself has a nice enough, though unimpressive, video transfer while the audio is also suitable with some good depth during the action scenes but the dialogue levels could’ve been better. If you can find this on the cheap and can enjoy the film for what it is (rather than what it could’ve been) then give this a shot as it is a slight upgrade from the DVD version.