The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker Image
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43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: When a train carrying atomic warheads mysteriously crashes in the former Soviet Union, a brilliant U.S. nuclear specialist, Dr. Julia Kelly (Kidman) joins forces with crack Special Forces Colonel Thomas Devoe (Clooney) to track the last remaining warhead and save the world from nuclearWhen a train carrying atomic warheads mysteriously crashes in the former Soviet Union, a brilliant U.S. nuclear specialist, Dr. Julia Kelly (Kidman) joins forces with crack Special Forces Colonel Thomas Devoe (Clooney) to track the last remaining warhead and save the world from nuclear destruction. (DreamWorks) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 20
  2. Negative: 6 out of 20
  1. Culminates in a show-stopping action sequence set in midtown Manhattan, directed by Ms. Leder with crisp economy and furious energy.
  2. 67
    By no means an embarrassment to the fledgling DreamWorks, The Peacemaker is instead a grand, noisy step in the right direction.
  3. 63
    It looks great. The technical credits are impeccable, and Clooney and Kidman negotiate assorted dangers skillfully. But it's mostly spare parts from other thrillers.
  4. His (George Clooney) rugged good looks spell movie star, but his body language spells Don Knotts, without the wit.
  5. Ruthlessly efficient and utterly predictable.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    An uncommonly dour and even grim action thriller that globetrots as diversely as a James Bond film but offers a very limited view politically, emotionally and dramatically.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 6
  2. Negative: 4 out of 6
  1. TristanN.
    Apr 17, 2008
    10
    It's rare that a movie absorbs me as completely as The Peacemaker. I have it on DVD and every time I watch it, I'm on the edge of It's rare that a movie absorbs me as completely as The Peacemaker. I have it on DVD and every time I watch it, I'm on the edge of my seat, even though I know what's going to happen next. Expand
  2. Jan 4, 2016
    5
    Wanted: handsome, gravel-voiced action man to save America from terrorist attack. Must be resourceful, indestructible and stupidly fearless.Wanted: handsome, gravel-voiced action man to save America from terrorist attack. Must be resourceful, indestructible and stupidly fearless. Reckless driving skills essential, female sidekick included. Romance optional. Bring your own wisecracks.

    Part Bond film (run, shoot, outlandish stunts), part Clancy techno-thriller ("we've lost them, but let's see what the satellite picks up"), The Peacemaker is a formulaic action movie from start to finish. This time, vengeful Bosnians have pinched a Russian SA-18 nuclear warhead, hiding in central Europe, hoping America's latest Special Forces action man (and his brainy, beautiful sidekick), don't track them down. The action flits from mainland America to Vienna to Bosnia, and to somewhere Russian ending in "-aijan". Cars explode and old friends get shot, before a tense "Where's the bomb?" finale in the bustling streets of New York.

    The missing nuke warhead plot is uncomfortably realistic. The Russians have recently admitted that, because of the break-up of the USSR, they haven't the faintest clue where all their bombs are now. A few could easily have slipped down the back of the sofa when they weren't looking. This is from a country where a local electricity company once cut off the power to the Navy's nuclear submarine fleet because it hadn't paid its bills on time. While meltdown threatened, the Russian army had to storm the power station to force the technicians to switch the juice back on.

    Top marks then for the Time magazine realism - but it doesn't disguise the fact that The Peacemaker is too long, shallow and utterly predictable, despite the best attempts of a Bat-free Clooney (he's the best thing about the film).

    Taken in order, The Peacemaker is not only long, but tortuous and plodding, the action sequences (good, but there are only two of them) are split apart by large chunks of international phoning, satellite watching and flitting between war-torn holiday destinations. ER's Mimi Leder directs the wham-bams and furrowed brows competently enough, but this film could have been shorter and tighter.

    Then there's shallow. The main cast numbers precisely three (Clooney, Kidman, the bad guy), but the subtleties of characterisation are abandoned after the first 30 minutes. From there on in, what you see is what you get. Clooney's Thomas Devoe is a likeable, resourceful, indestructible Bond-a-like, a gravel-voiced grunt who prefers the cold, grooved feel of a belt-fed machine gun to the warm, curvier feel of Mrs Cruise's bomb expert. Kidman is an egghead pacifist, a slave to technology who demands authorisation for everything in triplicate. Romance is always possible, but Clooney's pumped-up soldier has his mind on bombs rather than baps.

    That leaves predictable. The Peacemaker does have a couple of original moments - Clooney phones the bomber in his truck to taunt him, the baddie does have a sympathetic grievance, and there's an unbelievable stunt involving the nukes, a helicopter gunship and a bridge) - but the plot follows the action genre to the letter, right up to a ticking bomb finale. To prove it, we've compiled The Total Film Bomb Checklist (score one point for each of these fondly-remembered clichés):

    1. Movie bombs always have big, blinking red timer displays.
    2. Bad guys who set bombs always leave about an hour on the timer, giving the hero more than enough time to find and defuse it.
    3. To defuse the bomb, cut the wire that links the bomb to the detonator to stop the timer. But not until only one or two seconds remain.
    4. All bomb wires are different colours, so the hero can easily defuse the device when told to "cut the red one."
    5. If a bomb does go off, the explosion will always be filmed in slow-motion. The characters will be running away from the blast and will know when to dive (again, in slow-mo) to avoid the worst of it.

    The Peacemaker? It gets a respectable four out of five. And no, we're not telling you which one it didn't get...

    Admittedly, The Peacemaker may seem shallow and predictable, but Clooney and Kidman turn on the charm to transform a humdrum action flick into an entertaining, amusing pursuit thriller. It's James Bond meets Patriot Games in a 30/70 kinda split.
    Expand
  3. Mar 27, 2016
    3
    The big opening action set piece of "The Peacemaker" involves a Russian train being robbed of its cargo of nuclear arms while rattling downThe big opening action set piece of "The Peacemaker" involves a Russian train being robbed of its cargo of nuclear arms while rattling down the track, and the entire film sustains that same feeling of being channeled at high speed down an exceedingly narrow path, with nary a pause for thought or catching one's breath.

    Deliberately sacrificing such niceties as character development and modulated storytelling for the sake of a full-speed-ahead approach, Mimi Leder’s debut feature attempts to graft the basic components of a doomsday suspenser onto the gritty realities of a ravaged former Yugoslavia and militarily neutered and insidiously corrupt Russia.

    But all the film’s stylistic pushiness and manufactured urgency can’t compensate for the lack of a compelling hook to pull the audience in and make it stay there, other than a generalized and presumed desire to see the good guys, i.e., the West, survive to fight another day.

    Pic’s first 15 minutes are devoted to two incidents in which the viewer is supplied with little orientation and no rooting interest: A member of the Bosnian parliament is assassinated, and nine nuclear weapons, destined for dismantling as part of an international disarmament plan, are stolen from the train. A 10th device explodes in a crash, causing a devastating blast that initially is said to be big enough to spread fallout over much of the former USSR and Europe but which subsequently impedes none of the action played out in the vicinity.

    Western intelligence naturally takes a quick interest in the incident, and thrust together to piece things together are scientist Dr. Julia Kelly (Kidman), acting head of the White House Nuclear Smuggling Group, and U.S. Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Thomas Devoe (Clooney), who has extensive personal contacts in the old Soviet Empire.

    Their first stop is Vienna, where their search for the identity of the vehicle now being used to transport the weapons ends in a rude awakening for Kelly, who witnesses the cutthroat brutality with which the old spy game can be played and learns what a tough, ruthless customer her companion is when he savagely beats one man, then engages three pursuing cars in a deadly game of demolition derby in the middle of a picture-postcard city square; Devoe, clearly, is a trained-to-kill, take-no-prisoners, ends-justify-the-means kind of guy.

    Satellite pictures reveal that the truck bearing the world’s most dangerous illicit merchandise is headed for the Iranian border, which occasions the film’s third major action sequence when Devoe manages to commandeer three attack helicopters and stop the truck in its tracks on a bridge in mountainous terrain.

    Unfortunately, one of the stolen bombs has already disappeared, which sends the heroes to New York City, where, their deductions tell them, an upcoming major United Nations peace conference is sure to draw many international figures, including, perhaps, those who got away with the weapon.

    The action finale, which looks as though it must have shut down half of Manhattan’s East Side to shoot, is reasonably impressive, but ends with a possibly inevitable but unavoidably hackneyed race with time to save at least part of the civilized world from a nuclear holocaust.

    Essentially, “The Peacemaker” is a pursuit story set against a grand and ever-changing international canvas, and director Leder, best known for her multiple-Emmy-winning work on “ER,” would seem to have had two principal priorities: keeping the picture barreling along in an exceedingly straight line, and capturing some vivid local atmosphere along the way. Unfortunately, this is not enough to cement much of a bond with the viewer, and result of this approach is a picture that feels as though it’s nearly all second unit, or one big, uninterrupted action sequence.

    Based on original spadework done by investigative political journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, script by Michael Schiffer (“Crimson Tide”) alternates in its dialogue between information conveyance and shouted commands.

    Pic is notable for its down-and-dirty detail, and some of its images, such as a convoy of trucks trying to make its way past masses of refugees, have force; logistics look to have been staggering across the boards.

    Technically, the work here is very skilled, but in the service of a narrowly focused narrative that knows no way to move but straight ahead at full speed.
    Expand
  4. Apr 3, 2016
    3
    Wanted: handsome, gravel-voiced action man to save America from terrorist attack. Must be resourceful, indestructible and stupidly fearless.Wanted: handsome, gravel-voiced action man to save America from terrorist attack. Must be resourceful, indestructible and stupidly fearless. Reckless driving skills essential, female sidekick included. Romance optional. Bring your own wisecracks.

    Part Bond film (run, shoot, outlandish stunts), part Clancy techno-thriller ("we've lost them, but let's see what the satellite picks up"), The Peacemaker is a formulaic action movie from start to finish. This time, vengeful Bosnians have pinched a Russian SA-18 nuclear warhead, hiding in central Europe, hoping America's latest Special Forces action man (and his brainy, beautiful sidekick), don't track them down. The action flits from mainland America to Vienna to Bosnia, and to somewhere Russian ending in "-aijan". Cars explode and old friends get shot, before a tense "Where's the bomb?" finale in the bustling streets of New York.

    The missing nuke warhead plot is uncomfortably realistic. The Russians have recently admitted that, because of the break-up of the USSR, they haven't the faintest clue where all their bombs are now. A few could easily have slipped down the back of the sofa when they weren't looking. This is from a country where a local electricity company once cut off the power to the Navy's nuclear submarine fleet because it hadn't paid its bills on time. While meltdown threatened, the Russian army had to storm the power station to force the technicians to switch the juice back on.

    Top marks then for the Time magazine realism - but it doesn't disguise the fact that The Peacemaker is too long, shallow and utterly predictable, despite the best attempts of a Bat-free Clooney (he's the best thing about the film).

    Taken in order, The Peacemaker is not only long, but tortuous and plodding, the action sequences (good, but there are only two of them) are split apart by large chunks of international phoning, satellite watching and flitting between war-torn holiday destinations. ER's Mimi Leder directs the wham-bams and furrowed brows competently enough, but this film could have been shorter and tighter.

    Then there's shallow. The main cast numbers precisely three (Clooney, Kidman, the bad guy), but the subtleties of characterisation are abandoned after the first 30 minutes. From there on in, what you see is what you get. Clooney's Thomas Devoe is a likeable, resourceful, indestructible Bond-a-like, a gravel-voiced grunt who prefers the cold, grooved feel of a belt-fed machine gun to the warm, curvier feel of Mrs Cruise's bomb expert. Kidman is an egghead pacifist, a slave to technology who demands authorisation for everything in triplicate. Romance is always possible, but Clooney's pumped-up soldier has his mind on bombs rather than baps.

    That leaves predictable. The Peacemaker does have a couple of original moments - Clooney phones the bomber in his truck to taunt him, the baddie does have a sympathetic grievance, and there's an unbelievable stunt involving the nukes, a helicopter gunship and a bridge) - but the plot follows the action genre to the letter, right up to a ticking bomb finale. To prove it, we've compiled The Total Film Bomb Checklist (score one point for each of these fondly-remembered clichés):

    1. Movie bombs always have big, blinking red timer displays.

    2. Bad guys who set bombs always leave about an hour on the timer, giving the hero more than enough time to find and defuse it.

    3. To defuse the bomb, cut the wire that links the bomb to the detonator to stop the timer. But not until only one or two seconds remain.

    4. All bomb wires are different colours, so the hero can easily defuse the device when told to "cut the red one."

    5. If a bomb does go off, the explosion will always be filmed in slow-motion. The characters will be running away from the blast and will know when to dive (again, in slow-mo) to avoid the worst of it.

    The Peacemaker? It gets a respectable four out of five. And no, we're not telling you which one it didn't get...

    Admittedly, The Peacemaker may seem shallow and predictable, but Clooney and Kidman turn on the charm to transform a humdrum action flick into an entertaining, amusing pursuit thriller. It's James Bond meets Patriot Games in a 30/70 kinda split.
    Expand
  5. Jan 28, 2014
    2
    As usual, Clooney was pathetic. If it wasn't for him, it might have been a really good movie. I can only assume he is able to get any workAs usual, Clooney was pathetic. If it wasn't for him, it might have been a really good movie. I can only assume he is able to get any work at all by virtue of his ultra-liberal politics, because he really sucks as an actor. Expand
  6. Dec 11, 2010
    1
    This movie was just so.... AVERAGE! It was kind of boring with some exciteing moments, but all in all it kind of sucked. I wouldn`t recommendThis movie was just so.... AVERAGE! It was kind of boring with some exciteing moments, but all in all it kind of sucked. I wouldn`t recommend this. George Clooney haven`t been so bad since "Batman and Robin".
    Don't see this movie!
    Expand

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