Peacemaker, The (1997)

The Peacemaker (1997), directed by Mimi Leder.

Hijacked nuclear warheads and a backpack nuke headed for New York. It's going to take some action-hero scrambling to stop it.

This doesn't seem well-liked and I'm not sure why. It's a bit late to start worrying about action film improbabilities. You don't think the two lead national security advisers would go into the field and be present at every exciting event? Has the big race to defuse the ticking bomb become a worn-out scene?

George Clooney again, doing that testosterone and competence stuff he does, a throwback to earlier eras before men were sensitive and conflicted.

Nicole Kidman is not very believable as a nuke expert and crisis boss; her main purpose seems to be as a sort of comic response to Clooney's intense studliness.

That's probably a reason this gets a low rating: the terrorist machinations serve as a meet-cute for a barely concealed romantic comedy road trip. That actually might make it a good date film.

It's slickly done with many exciting segments: hijacking the nukes from a moving train, a nuclear detonation, car chase and shootout, hunting the truck and the helicopter assault on the bridge, and the final act in New York.

This is four years before 9/11. You can see the World Trade Center from the terrorist's window as he flies into NYC.

The villain wants to punish the world for a private grief. This gives him a human face but it's hard to integrate into this type of film.

The more things change: they have to stop the nukes from getting to Iran.

Hans Zimmer score. I hear Pirates of the Caribbean in the action scenes. Films featuring the Russian military always have great men's choirs.

Available on Blu-ray.