Directed by Clark Johnson.
Written by George Nolfi. Based on the novel by Gerald
Starring Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria and Kim
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 4/23/06
"The Sentinel" stars Michael Douglas as
long-time Secret Service agent Pete Garrison. Garrison, who
saved Reagan's life back in the early '80s and is the
second-in-command on the current President's security detail, has
got a couple of problems as he negotiates the fall session:
he's banging the prez's wife (Kim Basinger) on the schneid and, oh
yeah, an old informant has just given him the heads-up that someone
in the Secret Service is planning to assassinate the President.
After handing the latter case off to his long-time understudy in an
internal affairs-like group within the Secret Service named David
Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), Breckinridge and new partner Jill
Marin (Eva Longoria) uncover evidence that fingers Garrison as the
guy most likely in charge of the coup. We all know that
Garrison's being framed, but by who? Why? Why not?
Yep, you guessed it:
"Jack Bauer is Jack Bauer in 'Jack Bauer
2: The Sentinel!!!'"
While the actual story for "The Sentinel" is
interesting and at times, fairly tense, the movie is hurt by the
presence of Sutherland...not as a bad actor, but as an actor playing
a character that is VERY similar to his current TV role as CTU agent
Bauer on "24." This, combined with a suspect so obvious I
couldn't believe I had to wade through almost 90 minutes of footage
for the filmmakers to tell us what we already knew, drags the
production down to mediocrity.
I love director Clark Johnson's work; the
long-time TV director has worked on shows like "Homicide", "The
Wire" and "The Shield", and he always seems to do pacing and action
staging in a realistic, engaging fashion. The real strengths
of "The Sentinel" come in watching the main players go through their
business with a realistic amount of thoroughness; later, when the
coup is uncovered and bodies start to get lit up, shootouts are done
in a manner where one believes that people needed actual training to
get out of a variety of close-quarter combat situations, a strength
that Johnson also exhibited in the so-so Sam Jackson flick
"S.W.A.T." a couple of years ago.
The one-note performance of Longoria--it
becomes almost comical as other characters react to her based solely
on her looks--doesn't make me believe a special career lies ahead,
but there's no doubting she adds that extra something to the movie;
D.C. serves as the main location for the film and it felt like
people actually researched locations and commute times between
locations, unlike most films I see about this town. The
production as a whole is pretty slick, so even if you have already
figured out who the mole is at least you will enjoy jumping through
the hoops to get there.
"The Sentinel" isn't bad, but the casting of
Sutherland ultimately hurts this film. It also would have
helped to have a twistier storyline, but as pre-summer movie
entertainment at least it goes down easy.
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard