When a terrorist group steals the US President's personal communications computer for launching the US arsenal in case of war, only a heroic Major has the key to prevent a Presidential assassination or a nuclear holocaust.
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United States air force Major Frank Cross is in trouble with the "brass" again. This time he's made an unauthorized humanitarian relief flight ... dropping sacks of rice to starving Kurds. To the press, he's a hero. The Pentagon would like to court martial him, but can't because the President wants the highly photogenic media hero by his side--at least until after the next election. So Cross has a new assignment. He's to carry the "black bag"-- the President's high-tech briefcase containing the "go codes" and communications computer for launching America's nuclear ICBM arsenal in case of national emergency. It should be a piece of cake, but... On his first day on the job, a team of mercenaries steal the briefcase and drop Cross off a tenth floor balcony. Miraculously, he not only survives, but pursues the terrorists in a hijacked taxi. The ensuing car chase careens through the alleyways and streets of Chicago, up the ramps of a parking garage and then, unexpectedly, continues over the... Written by
Really entertaining and rather exciting action thriller, better than pseudo-namesake [The Peacemaker].
The first thing that strikes you about the movie is the similarity of the title to the big-budget DreamWorks SKG debut movie [The Peacemaker] (starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman and directed by Mimi Leder). Frequently movies with such cheap and obvious cash-in aspirations turn out to be: cheap, obvious and, of course, rubbish. This movie is a jolly exception. Don't be put off by Dolph Lundgren being in it, he isn't enough to undermine the movies good points.
High among those good points is the swift and exciting direction which is never better than during the spectacular roof-top car chase which occurs within the first twenty minutes. This chase is so good it could quite comfortably fit into a Bond movie featuring, as it does, eye-popping stunts, edge-of-the-seat excitement and ridiculous spectacle. While it does veer wildly into the improbable it never feels impossible and this aspect, for any action sequence, is of paramount importance. It is interesting to note that two key aspects of this chase sequence - the roof-top nature and the escape by getting out of the car just before it crashes through a parapet and down to the ground - also popped up in the same year's Bond adventure [Tomorrow Never Dies] (the motorcycle chase in Bangkok occurs partly over rooftops, the remote-controlled BMW car park chase ends by Bond getting out of the car just before it crashes through a parapet and down to the ground).
Another good point is the script. It's not consistently good but it is rather better than normal for a film that is not shown theatrically (it received it's UK premiere on Sky television not at cinemas). There are frequent one-liners which help push up the entertainment value while Roy Scheider and Michael Sarrazin share an unusual and thought-provoking plot line. Rather than demanding money and a plane to an extradition-free country, the usual demands of a nutball who has control of nuclear weapons in America (see [Broken Arrow]), betrayed Saddam Hussein-assassin Doug Murphy (Michael Sarrazin) turns up surprisingly alive though he was bombed by 'friendly fire'. His demands are for the President (Roy Scheider, the entire twilight of his career looks like it is going to be a series of DTV presidents) to commit suicide - to sacrifice his life for his country just as Murphy had (even though he had little choice about it and he survived) - on national television to stop a nuclear bomb going off in Washington D.C.
However, where this really scores over its pseudo-namesake [The Peacemaker] is that this movie accomplishes almost all it set out to, it is about as good as it could possibly be.
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