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"Peaceful Warrior"

Directed by Victor Salva ("Jeepers Creepers").
Written by Kevin Bernhardt.  Based on the novel by Dan Millman.
Starring Scott Mechlowicz, Nick Nolte, Tim DeKay and Amy Smart.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  7/8/06


"Peaceful Warrior", which is one of those "inspired by real events" dramas, incorporates the best and the worst of the philosophy from recent thrillers like "The Matrix" with the recent gymnastics movie "Stick It" with a dash of Nick Nolte, who is nearing the age of 1,000.

With all of this, you get a mixed bag that is watchable but ultimately forgettable.  That's due in part to the horseshit performance of Scott Mechlowicz, who was great in "Eurotrip" but very not great here as Dan Millman (who is the real-life author of the book "Peaceful Warrior"), a rings star at Cal that is gunning for a berth in the Olympics when we meet him.  One night, after a bad dream, he walks by a gas station manned by an old guy (Nolte), and after the twosome exchange pleasantries, the old guy simply jumps 20 feet into the air on top of the building.  Yeah.  Dan, shocked, comes back the next day, and learns more about inner focus, crazy zen-like philosophies (not crazy, just crazy to Dan), catching flying objects without looking at them and--after suffering through a horrific motorcycling accident--learning to recover from having your leg broken in 17 places to regain the form that might make him an Olympic champion.

The Dan/old guy relationship has good moments, and Nolte is great as the Morpheus/Miyagi/Yoda-like mentor.  I also enjoyed the idea that gymnasts are rolling so much box & boozing so often that they can barely keep up with their studies (or that Cal has loads of hotties walking around...been there, wrong), so I was greatly entertained at times during the free showing for this last week.  But Mechlowicz at times is so bad people were laughing in my audience; a strange character played by Amy Smart (can any one actress make any more mistakes with her career?) also comes off as meaningless; some of the life lessons that the Nolte character teaches to Dan seem like Duh! 101.  The film is very up-and-down; ultimately, I don't know if a film like this really changes anything or was an attempt to even kinda change anything, and as such, it makes itself forgettable early on.

Hey, it least it was free.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09