REVIEW: The Peacekeeper
The Peacekeeper stars Dolph Lundgren, Roy Scheider, Michael Sarrazin and Montel Williams (!) in an admittedly pretty solid little B.movie which gets by on its talent of the cast. (well aside from Montel Williams...) This take on Die Hard features Dolph Lundgren as a soldier who is assigned into holding a "black bag" which holds all the secret codes to shooting of nukes, when said bad guys get the black bag the demands are simple, that the president (Played by the always great Roy Scheider) commit suicide on live TV, thankfully humanity's hope lies within Dolph Lundgren and (less so) with Montel Williams who are the two men standing between annhilation.
The Peacekeeper is one of Dolph Lundgren's better movies. (Alongside The Punisher, I Come In Peace, Bridge Of Dragons and Universal Soldier) It features him in a more playful form and his one liners work fairly well and although The Peacekeeper is largely implausible I must admit that the overall quality, suspense and fast pace got me into the movie a lot more than I expected to. The special effects in particular are well done and the action sequences (including a car chase by roof top) are all first rate. Indeed for a B.movie you will not see a better showcase of taking a movie to its limit and trying extremely hard to deliver the goods. Indeed The Peacekeeper in retrospect often reminds me of a PM movie with it's action drenched story that despite being routine works because the action and movie is so well done. In fact even though I knew Lundgren would save the day watching the clock go to 1 admittedly had me on the edge of my seat. In all respects The Peacekeeper is as well made as die hard rip offs get.
Also good is Michael Sarrazin who makes a great villain, as expected he's better than Lundgren. (Let's face it Lundgren can sorta act but he's always at his best when surrounded by better actors.) His villain manages to find a humanity that we actually understand and his reasons aren't all that far fetched, in that he is simply upset with the fact that he was given cancer by the friendly fire on the president's orders. He's willing to nuke the world because he learned he was expendable and so he wants to see if the president is willing to kill himself to save the country, indeed even in the ending it's only because of Sarrazin that Lundgren is able to save the day. As no fight takes place as Sarrazin tells Lundgren if he wants to be a hero he's running out of time. He's a good villain and makes almost steals the movie, if not for Roy Scheider.
What renews such interest is that this is Roy Scheider's last good movie and the only movie worth watching in which he plays the president. Here Scheider easily gives the best performance, that's not say that Lundgren and Sarrazin are bad (they're actually pretty good) but none of them can match the epic performance from Scheider who's scenes actually make us give a damn whether he commits suicide on TV or not. (Something of course totally unrealistic, I mean nobody would care ifour president commited suicide, in fact many would cheer.) But because of the quality that Scheider invests into his character he makes what could've been a silly Die Hard clone into a movie that shapes up into a suspenseful outing.
However this thing is flawed. For instance what makes this fit in the category of Bad Movie Knights, is Montel Williams and his "performance" Montel Williams (who stepped in for Louis Gossett Jr, who would've been much better.) is not at all different from his TV show and watching him talk tough, fight it out with bad guys and use profanity is hilarious. This is Montel Williams a guy who's talk show was like Dr. Phil when this came out. Montel Williams' seriously bad performance makes one wonder why on earth such a guy was cast. I mean couldn't they have gotten Fred Williamson, Richard "Shaft" Roundtree or Ice-T? Someone who can exhibit the notion that he could kick ass and not ask everyone for a hug afterwards?
Also some of the bad guys are pretty lame as they can't act worth a damn, and Lundgren's personal life with his hot blonde girlfriend and irritating kid all seems like filler to give Lundgren's character depth but all things considered such flaws are forgiven (Though not Williams' casting) and The Peacekeeper is pretty good as straight to video action flicks go. In fact The Peacekeeper is much better than The Rock, Con Air and Air Force One which came out around the same time. I think the reason remains in the fact that this tries hard, delivers the exciting punch one would expect and features Roy Scheider in his best performance in ages. Lundgren himself has rarely done better than this movie and I think most will find this effort quite enjoyable on most levels.
If only they had cast someone other than Montel Williams.
Hamlin Grade: 7
-Board certified professional safety dancer