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Dreamworks/1998/124m/ANA 2.35

     There’s lot’s of good, standard action fare on the plate in The Peacemaker. It’s the dressing that turns the taste of the meal a tad tired. George Clooney plays Colonel Tom Devoe, a line officer acting more like James Bond than a soldier with multiple battle ribbons and command rank. Nicole Kidman has the impossible chore of giving Dr. Julia Kelly any more credibility than a Lewinsky in the White House. Kelly is the Nuclear Weapons Analyst who reports a crisis involving renegade Russian military personnel and nuclear weapons. All hell breaks loose in The White House and Pentagon and Kelly is called upon to lead the team to investigate and take any necessary steps to recover the warheads. The military supplies Kelly with every action filmmaker’s answer to the Swiss Army knife, a man of determined action, with a natural way about the ladies.
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Clooney maintains action integrity©Dreamworks

     Director Mimi Leder does fine work with the action sequences. The opening which involves the hijacking of the nuclear warheads is scripted and recorded with potent pen and visual power. Leder’s camera seems to be in the right place and the cutting maximizes the situation. That’s really the best of The Peacemaker. Coming out the gate with such force adds extra pressure on the filmmakers to deliver the goods. Once Kidman is on the scene, you know it ain’t gonna happen. The Peacemaker pairs Clooney and Kidman as an unlikely team. In one preposterous sequence, the not too dynamic duo zip off to Eastern Europe to find out the whereabouts of the contraband carrying truck. This results in a well-filmed blistering car chase with Clooney at the wheel and Kidman at the squeal. Several more action segments fill out the film until the rather ridiculous Manhattan manhunt climaxes in a "come on already" diffusing of a portable nuclear device.
     Dreamworks has executed a superb transfer in their debut DVD The Peacemaker. Mastered with consummate restraint, there is absolutely no edge enhancement in evidence. The result is a marvelously clean picture, free from added noise, and no image ringing to disturb picture perfection. Perfection is not an easy theater companion. Virtually every DVD or laser disc I have watched applies some edge enhancement. When it’s subtle, the result is usually very effective, but more often than not, enhancement degrades the image causing ringing and adding noise. Viewers are used to watching video with some level of image enhancement. It may take a few minutes to get used to a picture without artificial sharpening, but video connoisseurs will appreciate the perfection of The Peacemaker. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround sound is not the typically aggressive action film mix. Information is there on a need to happen basis only. The sound consistently supports the image and the balance of music, effect and dialogue tracks is exemplary.A nice added attraction, there is a short special secton including an interesting breakdown of two of the action sequences. Stunts are broken down in stages and compared to the finished sequence. Quite edifying.