*/**** Image C Sound B- Extras F
starring George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Marcel Iures
screenplay by Michael Schiffer
directed by Mimi Leder
by Walter Chaw With boring being the one thing from which an action movie can't recover, studio supergroup DreamWorks SKG marking their debut by giving professional director of boring action movies Mimi Leder the bank suggests they were asking to make a terrible first impression. I guess, in their defense, Leder showed promise after a storied career helming boring television episodes--"ER" the place where executive producer John Wells spied her "potential" to one day direct motherfucking Pay It Forward. Wells's own participation in The Peacemaker likewise explains the presence of George Clooney (still trying to pop the balloon of A-list opener) and, later, of Clooney's "ER" replacement Goran Visnjic in an eye-blink cameo. But of all the things the curiously-prescient The Peacemaker predicts*, the lasting one is Leder's incandescent career as a truly awful filmmaker and DreamWorks as a particularly well-funded curiosity that has only confirmed everyone's suspicions about the eponymous Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen. It takes the acceptance of Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker over a decade later to restore the idea that an American woman is able to direct a smart, terse action film (which Bigelow had been doing since the mid-'80s)--to undo the damage of high-profile Leder-helmed disasterpieces like this and Deep Impact. No surprise that Leder soon retreated to the boob tube, where she, if not belongs, at least can do the same damage less spectacularly.