1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great bits of wisdom with contrivances,
This review is from: Peaceful Warrior (Widescreen) (DVD)"Peaceful Warrior" (2006) is one of those 'almost good' films. It's a worthwhile movie but it's too formulaic and just seems to lack the necessary mojo to pull it out its pedestrian plotting.
Based on Dan Millman's hit 1980 book that I've never read, "Peaceful Warrior" is reminiscent of "The Karate Kid" and "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" albeit with gymnastics substituting for martial arts.
Although I enjoyed the constant stream of wisdom that flowed from Nick Nolte's character, "Socrates," the film took a wrong turn with him almost immediately by implying that he had the power to instantaneously levitate 15 feet. From there it gets even weirder. By the end of the film one wonders if he's even real at all. I felt this took away from his character rather than make him more intriguing. Regardless, Nolte does a respectable job in the role and, again, I did enjoy his many gems of wisdom throughout. Some say his philosophies reflects a Buddhist mindset, but I saw Biblical Christianity. For instance:
- The stress on service and humility, i.e. servanthood.
- "Putting out the trash," i.e. putting off the old man (the flesh) and putting on the new (the spirit).
- Random thoughts are not you but they can become you if you embrace them and allow them to control/lead you.
- Joy despite the mundane.
- Discerning the real spirit of others (in the compassionate sense, although sometimes for protection).
- Give to those who ask of you.
- Turning the cheek as one's initial response to antagonism (but, keep in mind, you only have two cheeks, facially speaking).
And much more. These are axioms, universal truths that are true regardless of one's lineage, culture or present belief system. It's this aspect and the character of Socrates that make the film worthwhile.
Other than that, though, the story is too formulaic. The plot mechanics are just too obvious. The viewer's aware of the contrivances just as much as the peripheral actors, who fail to pull off the material because of it. But the main four or so actors do a splendid job despite these negatives (Nolte, Scott Mechlowicz, Amy Smart and Agnes Bruckner).