Sunday, 18 November 2007

Peacemaker



Peacemaker (1990)

Written and Directed by: Kevin Tenney
Starring: Robert Forster, Lance Edwards, Hilary Shepard and Robert Davi

A cult favourite, Peacemaker is a fully adrenalized B-movie that makes up for what it lacks in budget with sheer verve. Action and stunts are pushed to the limit in this tale of two aliens (Robert Forster and Lance Edwards) who crash land on earth and set about blowing the living hell out of L.A. and each other. One is a cop and one is a criminal, but which one is which. Identities flip-flop between the two and it’s up to, caught in the middle, Dr. Caisson (Hilary Shepard) to figure out who is who before they kill her, one another or all three.

Director, Kevin Tenney is a filmmaker who can create a lot on a small budget. Gems such as Witchboard 1 & 2 and Night of the Demons overcame limited budgets and hokey stories with oodles of creative camerawork, committed performances and solid direction. Peacemaker follows in the same vain and saw Tenney moving away from horror to more action orientated material, albeit with a sci-fi tinge. It may just be his best film. Momentum is kept up throughout by the narrative’s chase element and the cast’s committed abandonment to the fun element of alien cops and criminals. Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Supernova) is a great as the sneering, is he or isn’t the bad guy alien, proving a force to be reckoned with, as he always gets back up no matter how much the rest of the cast knocks him down. Lance Edwards (who pretty much disappeared after this flick) is good fun as the slightly dim-witted possible hero, while Hilary Shepard (Scanner Cop) all but steals the show as the human caught up in the alien chase mess. Despite accepting her situation (and endless silly sci-fi jargon and explanations) with the upmost ease, she keeps her tongue firmly in cheek and delivers some class one liners (“The only difference between a brown nose and a shithead is depth perception”). Throw in Robert Davi (Die Hard) as an equally wise cracking cop and you have a great cast that add to the fun of the show.



Yet, Tenney really pulls it out of the bag with the stunts and action. With little let up between the gunfights, high falls and car chases, Peacemaker delivers full throttle action in spades. It may be a little rough around the edges and somewhat low tech by today’s standards, but the action is relentless, full-on and violent. The amount of people thrown through windows and off buildings is staggering and the adrenaline is pushed to the max, helped in part by a thumping score that propels the action. The centrepiece is a turbo charged extended car chase that doesn’t skimp on intensity for almost ten minutes.

Peacemaker is a full-on fun movie and quite possibly the best movie Kevin Tenney ever made. It may resemble another cult classic from around about the same time, The Hidden, a little too much and the dialogue does tend to get very silly, but it never detracts from the good times this move gives. Seek it out.

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