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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    German, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • Behind the scenes footage - Stunt Footage
  • Interviews - Cutting Room Floor

The Peacemaker

Dreamworks/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 124 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

I remember seeing the trailer for The Peacemaker when it made it's appearance at the cinema. At the time my thoughts were along the lines of "Die Hard but without Bruce Willis - no thanks" and summarily dismissed the film. In hindsight, I wish that I had gone to see it on the big screen.

While still falling into a block-buster style action film, The Peacemaker raises the bar on intelligence. The number of big explosions can be counted on one hand, and gun battles are in smaller than usual supply. Instead, The Peacemaker concentrates on raising the tension of the situation, in which several nuclear warheads are stolen from the Russian military during their efforts to disarm and dispose of such devices.

The hunt is on to locate the nukes before they disappear onto the black market and into the hands of those who would use them for unscrupulous purposes. When one of the detonation packs (itself a small nuclear device) arrives in the US, things take a desperate turn as the authorities race to find a terrorist with no demands.

  Video
Contract

Taking a close look at what was being displayed on the television screen reveals several flaws with the image quality. Firstly, the image is somewhat grainy - not a lot, but enough to dirty up the picture. This was fairly consistant through the film, so I can only chalk it up to the source film - either it was deliberately filmed using grainy film, or the source used for the transfer wasn't as pristine as it could have been.

Regardless of the cause, the grain didn't help the DVD, but caused more problems with edge enhancement evident on most character shots such that the actors don't seem to mesh 100% naturally with the background. Don't get me wrong, this isn't as bad as the blue screen work in Independance Day, but if you're looking for it, it's there.

Lastly, the grain doesn't do much to help the compression process, giving some regions of fine pixellation and artifacting. This is mostly in the background, on not-quite-solidly coloured wall surfaces, and during the earlier scenes of the film where there are clouds of billowing smoke and steam - something that's usually harsh on video compression.

To repeat myself somewhat in closing, I'd hardly call this a stunning transfer, but neither is it so bad as to detract from watching the action.

  Audio
Contract

Presented in Dolby 5.1 is passable, but nothing exceeding special. Dialogue is clean and clear, and you shouldn't need to fiddle with the remote once you've found a comfortable level. The sub-channel is unusually reserved for an action film, cutting in when it should (ie, the big explosions) rather than all the time, as is normal run of the mill. I did find it a little quiet when it was used though... Use of the surrounds is present, although not particularly noticeable - usually a good thing, but you only barely notice them in the scenes they should be more prominent (for example, when the assault helicopters are heading into Russian air-space).

While the effects may not have made much use of the speakers available to them, the film score is a different matter, drawing you into the tension and action inherent to the story.

  Extras
Contract

A small collection of extras on this disc:

  • 2 Theatrical Trailers, one in widescreen, the other in full frame, complete with the green MPAA approval slide.
  • Stunt Footage intercut with the actual sequences from the film, this short reel gives a nice feel for how dangerous stunt work is done during filming to keep the stars out of trouble.
  • Cutting Room Floor interviews with George Clloney, Nicole Kidman, and director Mimi Leder about working with each other, along with some off camera footage and bloopers. Not a great deal here, but shows the human side of show business.

  Overall  
Contract

A surprisingly good film, with two actors not usually known for this genre, it's well worth watching.

As for the DVD, it's a reasonable rendition of the film, and the flaws are easy to ignore if you're drawn into the film. If you're more of the fussy type, then I'd probably recommend you to steer clear of this one.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=372
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      And I quote...
    "A surprisingly good film ... well worth watching ... a reasonable rendition on DVD"
    - Andrew MacLennan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-515
    • TV:
          Philips 29PT6361
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2700
    • Speakers:
          Aaron ATS-5
    • Centre Speaker:
          Aaron CC-240
    • Surrounds:
          Aaron SS-120
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-240
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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