Directed by Victor Salva, Peaceful Warrior is the relatively unknown brain child of the man who is most known for the Jeepers Creepers series. Starring Nick Nolte, Scott Mechlowicz, and a host of others, Peaceful warrior may not be what you had in mind after hearing the title. Without looking at the cover or trailer you would think that it would be about….well a warrior or an action movie in general. But the warrior in this film is of the different sort. In contrast to someone who would be fighting on the battle grounds, the battle that the peaceful warrior faces is primarily with himself.
Dan Millman Played by Scott Mechlowicz is an aspiring Olympic gymnast who would much rather live in the future and his dreams of winning a gold medal than in the present moment. However with the help of a gas station guru simply referred to as Socrates (Nick Nolte), Dan is taught to pierce through the thick veil of illusion and live in the now. Although Dan is reluctant at first, he soon realizes that he does not only need these tactics to help secure him take his game up a notch but to defeat his often stubborn ego as well.
Throughout the movie Dan faces some serious hardships and realizes that in order to live in the present he must not go off and live in a cave, but to continue to do what he loves and is passionate about. Both Nick Nolte and Scott Mechlowicz give strong performances and it is unbelievable how this gem could have slipped under the radar. It is a step in a completely different direction from what Salva usually puts out and it shows how much potential he has as a director.
For those not familiar with Ram Dass and other modern day living in the now messengers, this film may seem like its littered with hackneyed sayings that have been copied out of every Zen and Buddhist book at your local library. However like most profound proverbs, they can be read a million times but will not hit home till one is ready to grasp their true meaning. To illustrate this there is a saying that states: “A snake’s skin cannot be ripped off. It will shed itself when it is ready.” Peaceful Warrior is like the Tao Te Ching, Bible, Bhagavad Gita, or any other spiritual book. It may take several times to watch this movie to get the real essence of the message.
Peaceful Warrior is a powerful film and if you are living in the now when watching it, there is no doubt that you will think about things in a different manner. Peaceful warrior is not a mundane movie. Rather, it is a movie about the mundane and how to make it spectacular.