Peacemaker, The (Blu-ray) (1997)

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Released 2-Oct-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Making Of-Stunt Footage
Featurette-From the Cutting Room Floor
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 123:50
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mimi Leder
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring George Clooney
Nicole Kidman
Alexander Baluev
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Marcel Iures
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When a collision between a commuter train and a special train carrying nuclear warheads in southern Russia results in one warhead exploding, the Nuclear Smuggling Group of the White House headed by Dr Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) is tasked with working out what happened. It soon becomes clear that the crash and explosion were a cover for the theft of 10 nuclear weapons from the train by rogue Russian general Alexsander Kodoroff (Alexander Baluev) who intends to sell the warheads to Iran.

     Clandestine Military Ops officer Lieutenant Colonel Tom Devoe (George Clooney) is added to Julia’s team, and they fly to Vienna to meet Tom’s friend and counterpart in the Russian military, Colonel Dimitri Vertikoff (Armin Mueller-Stahl), to follow up a lead on Kodoroff. Although Dimitri is killed, they obtain enough evidence to locate Kodoroff and the stolen weapons in the far south of Russia, and launch a raid into Russian territory to recapture the bombs. They are successful, but one bomb is missing. It appears that the real danger is not from Kodoroff but from a Bosnian diplomat, Dusan Gavrich (Marcel Iures), who intends to detonate the nuclear bomb at the UN in New York to show the “Peacemakers” what it is like to suffer pain and loss.

     The Peacemaker is directed by Mimi Leder. She was one of the few female action directors working in Hollywood, Kathryn Bigelow (Dark Zero Thirty (2012), The Hurt Locker (2008), Point Break (1991) being the obvious main exception. The Peacemaker is a very entertaining, well-made, almost old fashioned, political action thriller, old fashioned in the sense that Leder seldom uses the quick pans and jerky, jumpy cutting of more recent action films. Instead, she uses longer, steady camera shots to develop tension and to deliver the story. The opening sixteen minutes, played almost without dialogue, is a case in point. After a brief opening in Bosnia, that originally seems to have little to do with the plot but which later becomes very relevant, the scene switches to a Russian missile base and the hi-jack of the special train. This sequence, involving the spectacular sight of a steam engine travelling through a forest covered landscape accompanied by the music of Hans Zimmer, is compelling, tense cinema, and in fact the film afterwards seldom reaches such cinematic highs, although the sequence in which the helicopters track and attack the warhead carrying trucks comes close. Indeed, the action throughout the film is energetic, believable and well-staged, without ever going over the top into action for action’s sake.

     The film’s obvious draw is the pairing of stars George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, which should work but doesn’t. Kidman is great at playing flawed women, such as in The Paperboy (2012) or To Die For (1995), but here she is bland as the smart heroine and the script does not actually give her a lot to do. As well, her scenes with Clooney lack sparkle, despite the featurette in the extras on this Blu-ray which indicates that they had a good rapport on set. All I can say is that the rapport doesn’t really come across on screen with a George Clooney who is playing George Clooney. The supporting actors do better. Armin Mueller-Stahl is excellent while he is on screen, Alexander Baluev is suitably over the top, but the undoubted highlight is Marcel Iures, who gives a nuanced and memorable performance.

     The Peacemaker does not break any new ground but is a well made, well-constructed thriller with exciting action sequences that still holds up well after fifteen years. The film runs just over 120 minutes but, unlike other films in the genre that can feel bloated, it does not waste a minute. Indeed the message, that acts of terror may occur through desperation when the peacemakers of the world abrogate their mandate, given the situations in the Middle East is as valid today as when the film was made, maybe even more so.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Blu-ray of The Peacemaker is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code. This is the original theatrical ratio.

     The print is good with fine detail on faces, although it is not up to the standard of recent films made digitally. However, colours are wonderful, deep and natural, and the widescreen vistas stunning. Skin tones are fine, blacks solid, shadow detail good and contrast and brightness consistent.

     This is actually one case where the HD presentation highlights the presence of grain throughout the film that is often quite heavy, but never unpleasant. There were no marks on the print, the only issue I noted was occasional ghosting with movement.

     Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese plus English for the Hearing Impaired. White English subtitles come on automatically to translate sentences of non-English dialogue.

     A nice print and an improvement over the DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The main audio is English DTS-MA HD 5.1, with dubs in French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640 Kbps.

     The English audio is nicely enveloping without really testing the system. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand and the surrounds are mostly used for ambient sounds, such as weather, insects or crowds, plus music and there are some panning effects as the trains or helicopters cross the screen. There are also gunshots in action sequences and overall this is an effective but not aggressive surround track. The subwoofer supported explosions, music and the train engines without drawing attention to itself.

     Lip synchronisation was fine throughout.

     This earlier score by Hans Zimmer is definitely a recognisable Zimmer score with some themes that are very Pirates of the Caribbean like. However, his other themes and the use of music by Chopin and Mozart work well, enhancing the power of the visuals.

     The audio was not overly aggressive, but was effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are duplicated from the previous DVD release with nothing extra, although the Blu-ray misses out on one of the two trailers on the DVD. The extras are:

Stunt Footage (5:36)

     Behind the scenes footage of filming the stunts with the cars in the market in Vienna, plus the sequence as it appeared in the film. There is also a behind the scenes look at the foot chase in New York from different cameras, plus the finished sequence as it appeared in the film. Interesting enough for its type.

From the Cutting Room Floor (3:01)

    Not quite what is sounds like. This featurette is not deleted scenes but interview snippets with Mimi Leder (director) and Michael Schiffer (screenwriter) about the two main stars, plus bloopers and input from George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Short but amusing.

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Blu-ray releases of The Peacemaker are the same across all regions. Indeed, our release displays the US “R” rating screen before the film starts.

Summary

     The Peacemaker is a very entertaining, well make, well-constructed thriller with exciting action sequences. The film may not break any new ground but fifteen years on still holds up very well.

     On Blu-ray The Peacemaker looks and sounds good so this is a nice way to revisit the film. The extras are the same as those on the previously released DVD, but there is nothing additional in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, October 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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