johnlink ranks THE PEACEMAKER (1997)

THE PEACEMAKER was the first tim released under the Dreamworks banner. So if you ever get that question at trivia night, now you have the answer. Only that question will probably never get asked, because THE PEACEMAKER isn’t really a movie anybody bothers remembering.


I watched THE PEACEMAKER (1997) on 2.13.15. It was my second viewing of the film and first in probably fifteen years.

THE PEACEMAKER is a film considered more of a political thriller than one of those big tentpole action films of the mid-to-late 1990s. Those two genres had bled in a somewhat laughable way during those years, and THE PEACEMAKER is perhaps the most egregious example. While it is not a bad movie – you won’t hate it and you might enjoy it – it is certainly an unnecessary one.

It takes 17 minutes of a nuclear train heist in Russia before we meet our heroes Dr. Kelly (Nicole Kidman) and Lt. Col. Devoe (George Clooney). Said train heist resulted in the detonation of one of those nukes, and Dr. Kelly is leading the team of Washington bureaucrats and military types tasked with figuring out what happened. We meet her first and are told that she needs a military liaison. She says to make sure it is someone who doesn’t mind taking orders from a woman. So, naturally, we then meet Lt. Col. Devoe. He doesn’t take orders from women. But not because they are women, but because he doesn’t take orders from anyone.

While there is a whole bunch of bantering going on, and much of it entertaining, we still are asked to remember that there is a potential nuclear holocaust luring in the wings. There are a series of forgettable villains who might do something bad with the bombs, and there are another set of forgettable villains who go after Kelly and Devoe once they get too close. Clooney treats this role with all of the matter-of-fact line delivery he’s used his entire career, but without any of the subtlety he would develop in subsequent roles.

As all of this evolves, THE PEACEMAKER becomes quite the high energy action film directed by Mimi Leder. While some of these sequences are laughable – including a ten minute car chase and shoot out in a major European city which never attracts a single police vehicle – they are always engaging enough to work on a purely entertaining level. In fact, the longer the movie goes on, the less care there is for tying it into anything close to reality. This culminates in a nuclear weapon disarming scene which would certainly have led to a whole bunch of people suffering from radiation poisoning. But Nicole Kidman is ok because she was married to Tom Cruise at the time, and George Clooney is just dandy because he had built up an immunity to bombs because BATMAN & ROBIN came out a few months earlier.

So, this is not a horrendous experience. It is entertaining enough to keep on for its two hour running time. If you go in looking for a smart espionage film, you will be disappointed. If you go in looking for a George Clooney pure action vehicle… well at least it wasn’t the worst one of those from 1997.




FINAL SCORE: 5.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on February 15, 2015.

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