"Peacemaker" Review
© 1997 Fontaine L.
- spoilers -

I like bad guys who aren't really bad. People whose lives and personalities, because something terrible happened along the way, are altered forever--so that when we are watching him on screen, we're not just seeing a lunatic blowing things up just for effect's sake, we're seeing someone that could very well be an exaggerated version of us if the same tragedy had occurred in our lives.

Although I do wonder how the "bad guy" in question here had all that money. Do not ask me to recall his name. Those Russian/East European names are too damn long.

But at any rate, this guy meant serious business. He wasn't angry because his thumb was chopped off and he got a lousy gold watch ("Speed"). He wasn't even a pissed of patriotic dude ("Air Force One"). He was a man whose life stopped short years ago when his wife and daughter were cruelly torn away from him. To me, even though this trick has been pulled on screen several times, it no less makes me relate to the guy, so that the ending comes as even more of blast.

"The Peacemaker" starts out like one of the many cartoonish, formulaic, and comfortable thrillers that have been released lately, the kind where we're sure the good guys won't die; it takes a dark turn when the villain's motive is revealed. Then what he feels is etched in our hearts as well, and we feel the danger. Yes, it is just a movie, but don't you think the plotline used here makes the movie feel as if it could happen? Yes, we still know the good guys won't die, but now I don't want the bad guy to die as well. The possiblites widen and the stakes are higher.

I've watched a lot of director Mimi Leder's work on my favorite tv show ER (the movie's producer John Wells is ER's executive producer as well, not to mention ER doc George Clooney in the lead. Nepotism?), and now she proves to be a competent action film director as well. Not to mention she is perhaps the first female director to take on a film like this. As a female myself I have to admit I'm in awe. Though some of her scenes can get annoyingly dizzy, most of the time the action is there. The wind, the speed, the force, the thrill. Accompanied by experienced action film music composer Hans Zimmer, the action sizzles on screen. Advice to Mr. Zimmer though -- don't recycle an old tune from "The Rock" thinking we won't notice. But hell, I loved the music anyway. Several times I had been tempted to say "You again?" to Armad Mueller-Stahl (pardon the spelling) because I only saw him last week in "The Game."

Many of the action scenes are pretty original--from the train scenes in the beginning featuring those Star War Droid look-alikes to the mad dash on the New York City streets, the film is never boring. George Clooney and Nicole Kidman are competent in their roles; though I question the use of the guy with glasses and wavy hair. I could have sworn he was in some other film or tv show, though I can't remember which. He was constantly standing by Nicole's Julia Kelly--and he spoke less than five lines in the movie. Hrrrmph. He must have quite a few connections to the crew. I also question the ending. It was unnecessary. If they wanted to show some UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension--in X-Phile terms) in the movie, it's already damn apparent in the last scene--a very powerful one, by the way. I would have been very satisfied if the movie just ended there. But I suppose that's Leder's sentimental side taking over. And yes, Nicole is charming, but we really don't need to see her swim.

But I'm just nitpicking. I'm impressed by the shroud of melancholy surrounding the bad guy--it's apparent in his beautiful piano playing, his feet trudging along the street, the way his hands grasp nervously to his backpack. The plot is somewhat confusing, but I'm beginning to seriously doubt it's noone fault but my own intelligence. I always seem to have a problem with these. . .It's somewhat confusing (maybe due to my own shallow knowledge about current events), but never hard to follow. "The Peacemaker" is a confident, comfortable action film that is worth the price.

Rating: B (First viewing, 9/26/97)