Picks and Pans Review: The Peacemaker

updated 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Marcel Jures, Armin Mueller-Stahl

No one stays put in The Peacemaker. They're too busy saving the world, or, in the case of the bad guys, plotting to blow it up. Good guys and bad guys alike zip from Washington to Vienna to Azerbaijan to Bosnia to Manhattan, all within a couple of days and always miraculously managing to find a clean, crisply pressed shirt in time for the next scene.

Which is to say that Peacemaker, the first movie from DreamWorks Pictures (the movie division of Dream Works SKG, the new entertainment company formed three years ago with much hoopla by director Steven Spielberg, ex-Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and Hollywood mogul David Geffen), is a big, slick, globe-trotting thriller. If it ultimately is not as satisfying or involving as one would hope, it's not for lack of trying. The movie has a serviceable enough plot as it follows the frantic efforts of a brainy White House nuclear-weapons expert (Kidman) and a hotshot Special Forces intelligence officer (Clooney) to recover a stolen nuclear warhead. First-time movie director Mimi Leder stages several spectacular action sequences, both Clooney and Kidman deliver savvy, proficient performances, and Peacemaker makes a genuine effort to put a human face on its main terrorist (Jures), a piano teacher, by showing us how he lost his wife and daughter to snipers in Bosnia.

So what's the problem? It all seems numbingly familiar. Too much action and techno-talk and not enough about Kidman's and Clooney's characters—who they are and how they got here. The lack of depth makes Peacemaker a movie for a popcorn-happy Saturday night rather than one for the ages. (Continuity watch: Is it just me, or do other viewers think Kidman's hair becomes a much darker shade of brown about two thirds of the way through the movie?) (R)

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