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The Sentinel (2006) – Review

1 Star


What a tired lazy movie this is, from concept to execution no cliché has been left untouched. If the villainous turncoat isn’t obvious on his/her first appearance than you need to see other (better) movies. Perhaps if The Sentinel had arrived 20 years ago on the heels of riveting blockbusters like In the Line of Fire or The Fugitive, it would have come off as a second tier copycat. Today it is just plan redundant, transparent and uninspired, notable only for the fragile Michael Douglas kicking the hell out of secret service agents half his age and carrying on an affair with the (younger) first lady. This would easily categorize as a vanity project if it wasn’t so common in the industry.

Clark Johnson the man behind the camera brings a fluid visual flow to the outlandish wannabe thriller. I enjoyed the offbeat energy and humor infused in the surprisingly enjoyable SWAT. That film understood its absurdity and reveled in it. The Sentinel is equally as trashy but dressed better. Michael Douglas is solid in the Michael Douglas role, an adulterous professional who gets in over his head because of his sexual desires. Pete Garrison (Douglas) is a longtime member of the secret service and something of a legend after taking a bullet for Reagan back in 1980. Today he is assigned to Presidential security detail, but his wandering eye has him embroiled in a steamy love affair with the first lady (Kim Basinger). Someone has caught wind of the illicit affair between the service man and the President’s wife and begins using the info to blackmail Douglas. As the plot goes through its weary paces, Garrison is exposed as a possible mole within the agency and is then framed for an assassination attempt on the President.

On Garrison’s trail is ruthless FBI hound David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), along with new recruit Jill Marin (Eva Longoria) the pair discover that the man on the run may not be a rogue agent. The two television actors have little chemistry and are embarrassingly outclassed by Douglas and company anytime they share scenes. To illustrate the ridiculous scenarios presented in the script, Douglas and Basinger are so conspicuous about their affair that they couple in front of an open window, making painfully obvious they will get caught. Makes you wonder how good his fellow officers are, if they can’t figure out the first lady is sleeping with one of their own, on his shift-watch no less. Seems like an awful big breach of protocol that is glazed over in the poorly written screenplay. The Sentinel is way past its expiration date someone should have green-lighted this two decades ago or left it in their bottom desk drawer.

Director: Clark Johnson
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria

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