It’s not often in Hollywood do you see those at the top take remarkably big chances. David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg did just that when they founded DreamWorks, their own studio, and yet it never succeeded in the way it was expected that the combination of these three talented men was supposed to. There are plenty of reasons why DreamWorks failed to grab hold and become the next great studio, from its focus on animation instead of live action, but the signs were there from the beginning that this was not going to be a long term success. Example #1: The Peacemaker, a film that was financially successful but not very good.
George Clooney and Nicole Kidman play a mismatched pair looking to stop some Russians from the former Soviet Union using nuclear weapons against the free world. Clooney was still a television star at this point, looking to cross over to film. Kidman was a couple of years away from an Oscar for The Hours but near her peak as a draw (and married to a then not crazy Tom Cruise). It’s the same position Russell Crowe was in for Virtuosity; supported by a bigger star, easily replaceable and years later overshadowing his co-star. In this case he’s a Special Operations Lieutenant Colonel, used to playing by his own rules. She’s a nuclear scientist used to playing by the rules everyone sets up for her. Together they have to track down the ten nuclear weapons stolen and make sure they don’t wind up in the wrong hands.
If it sounds like a thriller aping the classic mismatched buddy cop formula that’s because it is; from the back and forth banter to Clooney openly aping Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon (without the mental instability) whereas Kidman plays the straight man to Clooney’s loose cannon. It’s a formula that works when the right actors are used. In this case two very good actors are in the main roles but they don’t just have the right chemistry. This is supposed to be an antagonistic relationship but it’s forced instead of feeling natural; they’d make a great couple in a romantic drama or even a screwball comedy but in an action film it feels off. There isn’t the feeling that they dislike each other, or can’t get along, which is what the script requires of them.
The script itself isn’t very spectacular; this is a generic paint by numbers action thriller that hits all the right notes but doesn’t hit any of them particularly well. It’s a combination of moments from better films with a Russian theme. With as much talent running the studio as DreamWorks started out with it certainly could’ve found a better film to set the pace and tone of its future films. It didn’t set up DreamWorks’s live action aspect as the next great film studio as Universal, Warner Bros, et al, have all made the same exact slightly above mediocre thriller on a regular basis.
In a Dolby Digital surround with a Widescreen presentation, the transfer has been cleaned up since its first release onto DVD. This is a film with a lot of color and unique set pieces that come through cleanly and clearly.
Stunt Footage is some behind the scenes footage before the film’s action sequences.
Deleted Scenes were taken out for a reason.
The film’s Theatrical Trailer is included as well.
As hard to believe as it is, there was once a time when George Clooney was a marginal movie star who couldn’t headline a film without a bigger star. The Peacemaker occupies the same spot on his film resume that Virtuosity does for Russell Crowe; a throwaway role that looks bigger in retrospect.
Paramount Home Entertainment presents The Peacemaker . Directed by Mimi Leder. Starring George Clooney, Nicole Kidman. Written by Andrew Cockburn, Leslie Redlich Cockbur and Michael Schiffler. Running time: 124 minutes. Rated R. Released on Blu-ray: September 21, 2010.
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.