After Superman rids the world of its nuclear arsenal, an even bigger threat is posed by Lex Luthors latest attempts to extinguish the Man Of Steel Nuclear Man!
From Police Academy IV to Batman And Robin, there is an unwritten law in Hollywood that the fourth instalment of any franchise must be awful, as if all the last dregs of creative energy to make a third movie have been used up and there is nothing left in the barrel. This rule applies to A Quest For Peace, a dreadful end to the mostly majestic Superman series of the ‘70s/’80s, that takes everything you hold sacred about The Man Of Steel and flushes it down the toilet.
Based on a story idea by Christopher Reeve, who only returned to the role if the character became more socially relevant, A Quest For Peace sees Superman, spurred on by a schoolboy’s letter, pull off the not insubstantial task of ridding the world of nuclear weapons by rounding them up in a big old net and lobbing them up at the sun. If this wasn’t terrible enough, Lex Luthor (Hackman, woefully over the top), in cahoots with his surfer dude nephew Lenny, creates a new nemesis with the risible moniker Nuclear Man to battle Superman against a plethora of terrible backscreen projections. Financed by the bargain bucket company Cannon, the budget was slashed by some $17 million just before shooting started and you can see the squeeze (not too mention the wires) in every frame. Set-pieces involving the destruction of The Great Wall Of China and Superman rescuing a runaway subway train fail to convince and the decision to shift the shoot from New York to the new town of Milton Keynes is like shooting Apocalypse Now on Hampstead Heath. The scenes involving Clark Kent, the heart of previous Superman flicks where Reeve is so self assured at being awkward, feel tired and weary. Happily, good sense prevailed and this incarnation of the character came to a thundering halt. The sighs of relief were more, shall we say, Supersized.
Predictably awful fourth installment.