The Peacekeeper (1997)


Introduction

The Peacekeeper is a 1997 Canadian-American action film directed by Frédéric Forestier, and starring Dolph Lundgren, Michael Sarrazin, Montel Williams, and Roy Scheider.

The film follows US Air Force Major Frank Cross, who is the only man who can prevent the president being assassinated. He must also prevent an impending nuclear holocaust. The threat is from a terrorist group, which has stolen the President’s personal communications computer; it has the capability of launching the US arsenal.

Also known as Hellbent and Red Zone (working titles, US).

Outline

United States Air Force Major Frank Cross is in trouble with the “brass” again, after making an unauthorized humanitarian relief flight, dropping sacks of rice to starving Kurds. The press considers him a hero, requiring him by the President’s side during his election campaign and thus preventing the Pentagon from court-martialling him. Instead, they assign him 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 a national emergency.

However, on his first day on the job in Chicago a team of mercenaries manages to steal the black bag. Cross, however, manages to fake his death and infiltrate the mercenaries. Thinking they have seen the last of him, they fly with a helicopter from the rooftops of Chicago into the night sky and onwards to their final target: United States Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Facility K-7. A disguised Cross slips into the missile silo as the team murders the silo personnel and takes over the launch control using the secret codes contained in the black bag.

They are led by ex-Marine Colonel Douglas Murphy, whose unit was sent to kill Saddam Hussein during an undercover operation in Iraq before Operation Desert Storm and was then exterminated by the President, who was Army Chief at the time, for political reasons. Driven by revenge, he launches a terrifying warning shot and sends a Peacekeeper nuclear missile that destroys Mount Rushmore, killing thousands. Only then does Murphy make his chilling demand: unless the President kills himself in front of a live television audience, Washington D.C. will be destroyed.

All attempts to stop one of the missiles from leaving the silo fail. Finally, the President gives in to Murphy’s demand, only to realise that Murphy lied to humiliate him, so that he then should helplessly watch Washington be destroyed as Murphy helplessly had to watch his unit be destroyed against his will by the President. At the first opportunity, however, Frank acts against the terrorists and, with the help of the last surviving member of the silo, Lieutenant Colonel Northrop, he is able to kill the mercenaries and prevent the destruction of Washington in the nick of time.

Cast

  • Dolph Lundgren as Major Frank Cross.
  • Michael Sarrazin as Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Murphy.
  • Montel Williams as Lieutenant Colonel Northrop.
  • Roy Scheider as President Robert Baker.
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as Hettinger.
  • Allen Altman as McGarry.
  • Martin Neufeld as Decker.
  • Monika Schnarre as Jane Cross.
  • Michael Caloz as Billy Cross.
  • Tim Post as Nelson.
  • Carl Alacchi as Holbrook.
  • Chip Chuipka as Davis.
  • Roc LaFortune as Abbott.
  • Gouchy Boy as Robinson.
  • Phil Chiu as Kong.
  • Michel Perron as Space Command Controller.
  • Serge Houde as Secretary of Defence.
  • David Francis as Major General Harding.
  • Vlasta Vrana as General Douglas.
  • Frank Fontaine as General Greenfield.
  • David Nichols as General Joseph.
  • Mark Camacho as Presidential Aide #1.
  • Susan Grover as Presidential Aide #2.
  • Larry Day as Secret Service Agent Maxwell.
  • Alan Fawcett as Secret Service Agent Samuels.
  • Philip Pretten as Secret Service Agent Clark.
  • Andy Bradshaw as Secret Service Agent Johnson.

Trivia

  • The film was shot on location in the city of Montreal, Quebec.
  • Dolph Lundgren injured his back during a stunt.
  • At some point, Kiefer Sutherland was cast as Colonel Murphy, and Louis Gossett Jr. was to play Colonel Northrop.
  • Originally entitled ‘Red Zone’ and ‘Hellbent’ and taking place on Air Force One, the film was re-written and renamed after the US ‘Peacekeeper’ missile.
  • Many fans of Lundgren consider this to be the start of the “direct-to-video” era of his career.
  • Roy Scheider’s previous role the same year was also a President of the USA in another movie called Executive Target.
  • The two sets of target coordinates are N 43.96253 W 103.37880, which is near the small town of Rockerville, roughly halfway between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore; and N 38.90505 W 77.01616, which is a mile from both the Capitol and White House.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Frédéric Forestier … (as Frederic Forestier).
  • Producer(s):
    • Kevin Bernhardt … executive producer.
    • Nicolas Clermont … producer.
    • Stewart Harding … co-producer.
    • Avi Lerner … executive producer.
    • Elie Samaha … executive producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Stewart Harding … (screenplay) (as James H. Stewart).
    • Robert Geoffrion … (screenplay) (rewrite).
    • Kevin Bernhardt … (rewrite) (uncredited).
    • Dan Mirvish … (rewrite) (uncredited).
  • Music:
    • Francois Forestier.
  • Cinematography:
    • John Berrie.
  • Editor(s):
    • Yves Langlois.
  • Production:
    • Filmline International.
    • Millennium Films.
    • Phoenician Films.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Millennium Films (1997) (Non-US) (all media).
    • KSS (1998) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • Lion Pictures (1998) (Italy) (theatrical).
    • RCS Films & TV (1997) (Italy) (theatrical).
    • Allumination Filmworks (2006) (USA) (DVD).
    • Alpha Filmes (Brazil) (VHS).
    • Buena Vista Home Entertainment (1998) (Finland) (VHS).
    • C/FP Video (1998) (Canada) (VHS).
    • Columbia TriStar Home Video (1998) (Canada) (VHS).
    • Columbia TriStar Home Video (2000) (Canada) (VHS).
    • E1 Entertainment Benelux (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD).
    • Eagle Films (1997) (Non-US) (all media) (Middle East).
    • Globus United (Israel) (VHS).
    • Home Box Office (HBO) (1997) (USA) (TV).
    • Home Video Hellas (HVH) (1998) (Greece) (VHS).
    • Image Entertainment (1999) (USA) (DVD).
    • Indies Home Entertainment (2004) (Netherlands) (DVD).
    • Leone Film Group (2010) (Italy) (all media).
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment (2000) (Canada) (VHS).
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment (2001) (Canada) (DVD).
    • Marquee Pictures (1997) (UK) (VHS).
    • Metropolitan Film & Video (1998) (France) (VHS).
    • Metropolitan Film & Video (2000) (France) (DVD).
    • Metropolitan Film & Video (2017) (France) (Blu-ray) (DVD).
    • Metropolitan Filmexport (1998) (France) (video).
    • Nelonen (2006) (Finland) (TV).
    • Nu Metro Productions (South Africa) (all media).
    • October Films (1997) (USA) (TV).
    • Phase 4 Films (2007) (USA) (DVD).
    • Phoenician Films (all media).
    • Rainboworld Entertainment (1997) (Taiwan) (all media).
    • Trimark Home Video (1998) (USA) (VHS).
    • Triumph Home Video (1998) (Australia) (VHS).
    • Veronica Television (2000) (Netherlands) (TV).
    • Video Film Express (1999) (Netherlands) (DVD).
    • Warner Bros. (all media).
    • Warner Home Video (1998) (Germany) (VHS).
    • West Video (1997) (Russia) (VHS).
  • Release Date: 13 August 1997 (video premiere, Hungary).
  • Running time: 98 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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