Peaceful Warrior

on June 02, 2006 by Bridget Byrne
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"Peaceful Warrior" is a movie for the choir. Those inspired by inner-truth inspiration books like Dan Millman's "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" may find some real satisfaction in this earnest screen adaptation of his semi-autobiographical life message. Those who espouse other spiritual and emotional journeys, or who figure, "What the hell," and trek on through life under their own steam, probably won't be hooked.

The filmmakers can't be faulted for trying; it's a decent effort, but nevertheless misses out in both the mind and body categories, and rather overdoes the spirit. As Millman, a college gymnast striving full-throttle to grab the golden ring, Scott Mechlowicz does all he can to look convincing swinging, levitating, toe-pointing and muscle-flexing on the rings and vault, but even the best efforts of the filmmakers can't fully disguise the use of a double at crucial moments. Down on the ground, where he's also heading for a fall and hoping for some sort of perfect balance to catch him, he essentially just looks consistently puzzled, whether confronting his teammates, his coach, his love interest or the mysterious stranger at the gas station who, via a series of quizzical enigmatic conversations and some real arm-twisting, pumps him full of a philosophy that seems to boil down to something like "living in the moment will make you feel better about everything." Or maybe it's some other mumbo-jumbo about the obvious benefits of being as fit as possible in muscle, heart and soul. Anyway, Nick Nolte is suitably enigmatic as the mysterious old guy and so provides something of a sharp foil for Mechlowicz in their numerous what-does-it-all-mean encounters, but the whole thing is rather joyless, which surely can't be the point. Starring Nick Nolte, Scott Mechlowicz, Amy Smart and Ashton Holmes. Directed by Victor Salva. Written by Kevin Bernhardt. Produced by Mark Amin, Cami Winikoff, Robin Schorr and David Welch. A Lionsgate release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for sensuality, sex references, and accident scenes. Running time: 120 min

Tags: Starring Nick Nolte, Scott Mechlowicz, Amy Smart and Ashton Holmes. Directed by Victor Salva. Written by Kevin Bernhardt. Produced by Mark Amin, Cami Winikoff, Robin Schorr, David Welch, Lionsgate, Drama
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