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The Peacemaker Reviews

Ruthlessly efficient and utterly predictable, this international thriller pits rogue male Lt. Col. Thomas Devoe (George Clooney) and Dr. Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) of the White House Nuclear Smuggling Group against -- yes -- nuclear terrorists. The pluses: Kelly and Devoe postpone their romantic flirtation until after they've averted doomsday. (Please don't complain that we've given away the ending: No one in this day and age believes a major American motion picture will end in the nuclear annihilation of a major American city, nor that most of the principal Eastern European characters are played by Eastern European actors rather than Americans affecting foreign accents.) German Armin Mueller-Stahl does play a Russian general, but you can't have everything. The minuses: You've seen it all before, and Clooney's trademark charm is almost entirely obscured by his character's near-constant barking and swaggering. As a formulaic action thriller, this first theatrical release from the much ballyhooed DreamWorks SKG (Spielberg, Katzenberg, Geffen, for those who don't live with their noses buried in the trades) is perfectly competent, but as a vision statement it's rather disappointing: blandly commercial and 100 percent risk-free. Of course, that may be the statement, that DreamWorks will be churning out by-the-numbers junk with the best of them. If that's the case, we get the message.