|THE PEACEMAKER (1997)|
|Time: 122 mins.|
While THE PEACEMAKER is certainly not the most original thriller at least it's smart and complete. No pesky holes to be found in this action-packed thriller that has it's lead characters chasing a missing nuclear bomb across the world. Though I can't put my finger on it, I thought the film moved a little too slowly, even though it was only two hours long. The opening sequence where the bad guys steal the weapons could have been 10 minutes shorter and still got it's point across, but then again we wouldn't have had those nifty red-eyed bad guys who looked like giant jawas jumping between two trains careening through the Russian countryside. I don't really think we needed to see the dead troops in the train three times. I realized were dead the first time from all the blood. Maybe they felt they had to justify the makeup and extras cost.
The rest of the film, which has Clooney and Kidman chasing the stolen nuclear warheads around Russia, Vienna, Sarajevo and New York, moves fairly well and is very exciting. The action sequences are done well and are all fairly believable for once, which gets big points from me. The car chase through the streets of Vienna goes on a little long, but it works. The plot is easy to follow, but not condescending. When the characters speak, it's worthwhile information and not just some stupid lines to make them look cute. The final chase through the streets of New York is wonderfully shot, using the city perfectly to illustrate the frustration of the characters in trying to find a needle in a haystack one man in a city of millions. All I have to say is, I would hate to have been in the city while they were shooting. Can you say massive traffic nightmare?
Clooney, in his second outing as an action-hero, was good as the general who helps save the day. But his smarmy, "aren't I so cute" act is wearing a little thin with me. He's a fine action hero, but I couldn't quite believe him as a general. Any branch of the military would have whipped that smirk off his face long before he got to such a high rank. He seems to be content to play himself just in different costumes, and though it still works here, I'm not sure how much longer his appeal will last. There's only room in Hollywood for one too cute actor who is continually successful at playing himself in all of his movies and I don't think Mr. Cruise is going to give up his berth anytime soon. However, maybe Mr. Clooney can build a career from his cast-offs. I reserve my opinion about George's future until after his next movie. Maybe he'll actually take a role that will allow him to stretch his acting muscles.
All I have to say about Ms. Kidman is bravo. It's obvious to me, and I think anyone with a brain, who the true actor is in her family. She disappears into each role, becoming the character and giving them a kind of intelligence and authority rarely found in woman onscreen today. She also speaks with such a good American accent I forget that she's not from here. Others should take note. Even I bad-mouthed her in the beginning for marrying into a career, but she is quite an amazing actress, even in films like this that don't really give her much room to spread her wings. If you want proof of her prowess, rent TO DIE FOR or PORTRAIT OF A LADY Those performances show what real acting looks like. THE PEACEMAKER is missing a truly charismatic bad guy which would have pushed it over the edge into greatness, but it is a solid effort for all involved that will keep you glued to your seat until the final frame.