Peacemaker aka “Alien Peacemaker” (1990)

Caught in the middle of a high-octane clash between two men claiming to be alien enforcers of intergalactic law, a woman must decide whom to believe.

Genre – Sci-Fi

Director(s) – Kevin Tenney

Writer(s) – Kevin Tenney

Cast – Robert Forster, Lance Edwards and Hilary Shepard

Blue Rider’s Role – U.S. theatrical distributors

Distributor(s) – Blue Rider Entertainment, Fries Entertainment (video), Image Entertainment (laserdisc), Video Ban (Brazil VHS)

Release Date – 1990

Synopsis – An interplanetary space rover crashes into the Pacific, frightening a young couple on a beach. The alien pilot, Townsend (Lance Edwards), who looks like a normal man, heads into L.A. and antagonizes some police officers by trying to steal a shotgun from their squad car and sending one them flying about 30 feet with a casual blow. More police arrive and pursue Townsend, shooting him several times with little effect. Finally Townsend is surrounded and felled by a fusillade from the desperate cops.

At the city morgue, Assistant Medical Examiner Dori Caisson (Hilary Shepard) is working on the bullet-riddled corpse when it suddenly heals itself and returns to life. Caisson runs away, but Townsend captures her and tries to force her to help him escape in her car. Meanwhile, Yates (Robert Forster), another alien, hears news accounts of the mysterious crash-landing and the police battle and proceeds to the morgue. When Yates spots Townsend and Caisson, he immediately tries to kill them. After a spectacular car-and-gun duel, Townsend succeeds in knocking Yates off the roof of a parking garage. Townsend forces Caisson to take him to her home, where he ties her up and teaches himself English overnight by scanning radio and TV broadcasts.

The next day, Townsend explains that he is a peacemaker, a lawman from another planet, and that Yates is a dangerous criminal he has been assigned to capture. He also explains his miraculous rejuvenation, saying that his race can only be destroyed by massive damage to the brain. Meanwhile, Sgt. Frank Ramos (Robert Davi), an L.A. cop with a romantic interest in Caisson, worries when she fails to show up at work and arrives at her home shortly after Yates appears, minus one hand, the result of his own encounter with the LAPD. Ramos’ arrival interrupts a vicious battle between the two aliens. Despite being shot in the stomach, Townsend pursues Yates on foot, then on motorcycle, when Yates steals a pickup truck. After a lengthy chase, Townsend jumps onto the truck and, while struggling with Yates, forces it off the road into a dynamite shack, resulting in a tremendous explosion. Caisson tries to tell Ramos that the two men were aliens, but he refuses to believe her.

Everyone assumes the explosion killed Townsend and Yates until Yates, severely burned but mostly intact, turns up at Caisson’s house. He ties her up, rejuvenates, then convinces her that he, not Townsend, is the peacemaker and that Townsend is actually a dangerous criminal. He says she is in danger because Townsend will probably return to make her help find the key to his space rover, which was lost during his first confrontation with the police.

Townsend returns and attempts to kill Yates. But Caisson helps the severely wounded Yates escape, returning him to his room in a run-down hotel. She goes to retrieve the missing key from Townsend’s clothes at the morgue, intending to bring it to Yates. However, Townsend captures her and convinces her that he is truly the peacemaker. After some inter-species hanky-panky, Caisson gives Townsend the key, sends him out to buy some clothes, and calls Ramos to let him know she is safe. However, Ramos informs Caisson that she is anything but safe, since her boss at the morgue was tortured to death the previous night, apparently by Townsend, who was searching for the missing key.

Ramos quickly drives to the motel with an army of police and attempts to capture Townsend, only to find that the alien has fled with Caisson. Caisson then manages to escape from Townsend, running over him in a pickup truck and returning to Yates’ hotel. There she discovers that Yates had been lying to her after all–that he is the criminal and Townsend is the peacemaker.

Townsend shows up, badly wounded from clinging to the undercarriage of Caisson’s truck, and surrenders his weapon when Yates threatens to kill Caisson, whereupon she distracts Yates long enough for Townsend to attack bare-handed. After a desperate battle, Townsend reaches into a gash in his stomach, pulls out a handgun he has hidden there, and shoots Yates between the eyes. Caisson returns Townsend’s key and takes him to his space ship.

Critics’ Kudos:
Jack Sommersby, “A slam-bang action film with science-fiction underpinnings, Peacemaker sets itself apart from other features of its type, particularly those made on low budgets, by effectively blending suspense, romance and comedy.

“Peacemaker is an unexpected gem, a thriller that actually thrills, delivering the goods with a surprising amount of intelligence and style. Fans of sci-fi action films, accustomed to dull knockoffs with one or two memorable moments at best, will undoubtedly be impressed by director-screenwriter Kevin Tenney’s verve and inventiveness. Peacemaker is lots of fun–the highest compliment you can pay a film of this type.

“The film is also technically impressive, boasting rich nighttime cinematography by Thomas Jewett and elaborate-but-convincing makeup effects by John Blake. Peacemaker looks like a big-budget effort. Take a close look, for instance, at Yates’ now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t severed hand in the motorcycle-pickup truck chase scene. Peacemaker is a stunt extravaganza, packed from beginning to end with some truly spectacular and imaginative action sequences. It also manages to build genuine suspense by keeping the audience guessing as to which alien is the bad guy. Tenney even scores reasonably often in his attempts at humor, usually with throwaway lines such as Davi’s contemptuous reference to Townsend as ‘Mork.’

“The acting by the entire cast is more than adequate to carry the film along. Forster turns in a very strong performance as the impassive alien who may or may not be a murderer, and newcomer Edwards is equally effective as his foil. Davi, who usually plays the heavy, is also interesting in this good-guy role.”

Richard Scheib, Moria (The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review): “Peacemaker is one of the more unassumingly enjoyable films among director Kevin Tenney’s output. Tenney does quite a decent job of imitating the pelting action style of James Cameron, particularly during the big set piece of a highway chase sequence. Generally the film is quite successful in the action department.

“Where it works particularly well is in the ambiguity that Tenney sets up between the two aliens as to which is the good guy and which the bad guy. Both aliens offer equally plausible alternate scenarios about one being a serial killer and the other an intergalactic law-enforcement official, or one being a ruthless assassin and the other relocated to Earth as part of an intergalactic witness-protection program. The film hovers between both scenarios, even offering some quite intriguing SF about Robert Forster having passed through a black hole during their pursuit in order to explain how he has been on Earth for 20 years.

“The script throws in some wry one-liners – heroine Hilary Shepard reacts in disbelief at Lance Edwards’ claim that he is an alien: ‘This is Candid Camera! Tell me you’re Allen Funt’ and later pinpoints his dilemma: ‘You’re telling me you can’t go home because you’ve lost your [spaceship] car keys?’ In one hilarious scene she tells off a cop: ‘The only difference between a brown-nose and a shithead is depth perception.’

“Lance Edwards has a blank impassiveness that works quite well for the character of an alien.

“The result makes for a film offering a clever and imaginative treatment of cliches that stands it out over most of the other Terminator copies.”

Jon Bloom as “Joe Bob Briggs,” Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In: “Peacemaker is a space-alien super-cop stunt movie that’s the best wheels-and-triggers action flick since Action Jackson, and you guys KNOW how much I love Action Jackson. There’s not a single minute of the movie without either a car chase, a fireball, a fistfight, a shootout, an upside-down squad car, a body through a plate-glass window or a shotgun blast through the gut-bucket.

“Remember when John Carpenter made that movie Starman, with Jeff Bridges as the weirdbeard alien trying to get back home? This is the same movie, only without the sappy philosophy, and with not one, but TWO starmen attempting to blow holes in each other’s brains, because one of them is a cop and the other one is a serial killer on another planet–only you don’t know which is which. Caught in the middle is Hilary Shepard, who can’t decide whether to a) run away, b) sleep with one of them, c) help one of them find the other one, or d) tell one of them the other one is trying to find him. And, oh yeah, one more thing–they both have guns the size of a ride at Disneyland. And Robert Davi is a human cop trying to figure out why the two outer-space cops are here. This movie is so violent that Robert Davi is the GOOD GUY.

“Twisted Metal Jubilee. Two breasts. Three dead bodies. Four plate-glass window smashings. One alien Post Toastie. Four motor vehicle chases, with two motorcycle flips, one fireball and three demolished cars. Four gun battles. Four fistfights. Door-ripping. Wall-ripping. Hand rolls. Kung Fu. Bimbo Fu. Tear gas Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Hilary Shepard, as the girl who doesn’t know whether to blow an alien’s head off or fall in love with him, for saying, after the sex, ‘Talk about your close encounters’; Robert Forster, as a killer alien, for saying ‘Did he tell you we’re from some place far away?’; Lance Edwards, the alien cop, for answering every question with ‘Because I’m a Peacemaker’; B.J. Davis, the stunt coordinator, for driving a car through a triple explosion in a dynamite shack, and for doing such a great job it takes a full minute to read the stunt credits at the end of the movie; and Kevin S. Tenney, the director who made Witchboard and Night of the Demons, for his finest achievement so far.”

Viewers’ Ratings:
As of August 6, 2007, 54.1% of the 159 people who evaluated Peacemaker at The Internet Movie Database gave it positive ratings (median: 6 out of 10), with women rating it higher than men (7.5 out of 10).

Major Cast and Crew Credits and Awards:
Director is Kevin Tenney (Brain Dead, Endangered Species, The Second Arrival, The Cellar, Pinocchio’s Revenge and five films in Josten/Geoffray’s Night of the Demons and Witchboard series).

Writer is also Kevin Tenney (Endangered Species, Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway, Night of the Demons III, Tick Tock).

Stars Robert Forster (Mulholland Drive, Me Myself and Irene, Lucky Number Slevin, Medium Cool, Spawn, Reflections in a Golden Eye; Oscar-nominated for Jackie Brown, for which he also won another award and a Saturn Award nomination; won a Hamptons International Film Festival Award for Diamond Men; 59 other films and TV projects); Lance Edwards (Wayne’s World 2, Some Girls and A Woman, Her Men and Her Futon) and Hilary Shepard (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Troop Beverly Hills, Private Resort, Summer Lovers, Tough Guys, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman).

Cast includes Robert Davi (Die Hard, The Goonies, Showgirls, Predator 2, License to Kill, The Hot Chick, Action Jackson and 49 other films and TV projects); Wally Taylor (Rocky III, Escape From New York, The Golden Child, Crossroads, Fuzz Bucket); Bert Remnsen (Conspiracy Theory, Maverick, The Bodyguard, Dick Tracy, Nashville, Forces of Nature, The F.B.I.; 220 other films and TV projects); John Denos (Wanda Nevada, Mortal Passions, The Centerfold Girl); Kyra Stempel (The Woman in Red, Camp Nowhere, The Beast); Garth Le Master (Fire Birds) and Rob Zapple (Witchtrap, Stateside, Eternity).

Executive: Charles W. Fries (Screamers, Cat People, Troop Beverly Hills, Tales From the Crypt, The Martian Chronicles and 44 other films and TV projects).

Producers: Wayne Crawford (Valley Girl, Diary of a Hitman, Snake Island, Barracuda; won Best Children’s Film at the 1997 Breckenridge Festival of Film for U’bejani); and Andrew Lane (Valley Girl, Night of the Comet, Jake Speed, Femme Fatale; Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Deauville Film Festival Critics Award nominations for Mortal Passions).

Composer: Dennis Michael Tenney (The Prophecy, The Prophecy 2, Night of the Demons, Grim, Witchtrap, Demolition University).

Cinematography by Tom Jewett (The Pretender, Fast Money, Mikey, Wiseguy, Fashion House, Instant Karma).

Film Editing by Gordon Rempel (Touching Evil, The Suspect; won Canadian Best Editing Leo award for Violet and nominated for Andromeda).

Production Design by Robert Sissman (Mortal Passions and Secret Bodyguard).

Art Direction by Tucker Johnston (debut).

Costume Design by Lennie Barin (Hell Night, Young Lady Chatterly, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood, Beverly Hills Brats).

Special Effects Makeup Design by John Blake (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, There Will Be Blood).

Special Effects Supervisor: John Carter (The Sword and the Sorcerer, Nobody’s Perfekt, Kidnapped, Earthbound, In Search of Historic Jesus).

Visual Effects (rotoscoping) by Bret Mixon (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Terminator, True Lies, Batman Returns, Dracula, The Abyss and 97 other films and TV projects).

Stunt Coordinator: B.J. Davis (As Good as it Gets, Army of Darkness, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Darkman, Universal Soldier, St. Helen’s and 106 other films and TV projects).


Internet Movie Database entry for Peacemaker
Rave Review from TV Guide