Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Sentinel |
Actors: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland
Genres: Action & Adventure
There's never been a traitor in the United States Secret Service...until now. And the evidence points to Pete Garrison (Douglas), one of the most trusted agents on the force. Now on the run, with two relentless federal inv... more »
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Clearing Your Name, Savings the President. All in a Day's W
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 04/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) has spent his whole life working for the Secret Service. He's risen through the ranks, and his current job is head of the First Lady's (Kim Basinger) security detail.
Complicating his life, he and the first lady have fallen in love and are having a secret affair. Someone has found out, however, and sent the incriminating pictures to Pete.
Meanwhile, Walter (Raynor Scheine), a former informant of Pete's, tells him someone is planning to kill the President (David Rasche). When the little intel that Walter was willing to part with proves true, the Secret Service springs into action. They have a mole in their department and need to find him or her before the murder takes place.
Unfortunately, the clues begin pointing to Pete. Internal investigator David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) is convinced Pete's the mole. Pete has no choice but to take off and find the truth himself. But can he do that without being arrested?
I'll admit, I was lured to see this movie based on TV advertisement placement. I am a huge fan of the show 24, and this movie looked like it could be similar. Plus it starred that show's Kiefer Sutherland.
Unfortunately, this movie didn't live up to my high expectations. The story is weak. Things came to the main characters, especially Pete, way too easily. I like seeing characters search for the information they need. Several pieces of information came so quickly, I had to guess how the character figured things out. That's hardly good story telling.
And don't even get me started on the climax. Several characters, including the villain, behave in completely illogical ways. Additionally, one plot thread is dropped, giving no resolution to that aspect of the story.
Since this is a thriller, I expected some tense moments. While I will admit to jumping a time or two, most of the time I wasn't pulled into the story. I cared about the characters, but the scenes that should have had me on the edge of my seat were rather ordinary.
The thing that works in this movie is the characters. The actors do a great job of making us care about what happens. Michael Douglas is in most every scene and does a fine job. Kiefer Sutherland gets to play the guy we're all hoping our hero can work around to save the day, a switch from his 24 character. He's up to the part. Not being a fan of Desperate Housewives, I hadn't seen Eva Longoria before, but she does a great job of playing the rookie caught between the two leads. Finally, Kim Basinger makes a great First Lady.
Another thing that sets this movie apart is the setting. Not only do we get great shots of Washington, DC, but we get to see the inside workings of the Secret Service, something I had no idea about. I found those parts of the movie fascinating. Additionally, several scenes take place in the country, and the settings are beautiful.
Honestly, this felt like half a movie, with scenes cut out from start to finish. I'm sure if I'd been able to see the whole movie, this would have been great. If you're interested, it's worth seeing, but wait for the DVD."
Pedestrian White House thriller that offers little in the wa
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A mediocre, instantly forgettable espionage American government crime thriller, The Sentinel plays out more like a trumped-up network television show than a fully-fledged motion picture crime thriller. This fractured, overly convoluted tale of a spy within the Secret Service who is trying to assassinate the President is so laughable and implausible that you'll end up being cynically amused at most of what goes on.
The movie is totally dumb, and gets even dumber as it goes on. Michael Douglas - who indeed seems to be fighting the hands of time - plays Special Agent Pete Garrison. A few years back, he slept with the wife of his best friend and protégé, David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland). Now he's having an affair with first lady Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger).
When Pete receives incriminating photos of himself and Sarah he realizes he's being blackmailed. At the same time he also learns that there's a "mole" working in the secret service plotting to assassinate the president. Things go really haywire when he realizes that someone's trying to frame him as the perpetrator.
Beaten into a corner and in danger of being charged with treason, Garrison goes on the run, partly in order to clear his name and also to hopefully uncover the real architects behind presidential assassination plot. But Breckinridge stays hot on his tale, chasing his former pal with the gorgeous rookie (Eva Longoria) who adds a bit of glamour to the chase. (Eva Longoria as a Secret Service Agent?).
Unfortunately The Sentinel doesn't really work that well. Apart from that fact that you can figure out whom the mole is after about twenty minutes, director Clark Johnson allows his pursuit scenes to run on for far too long. Most of the action is made up of a lot of gratuitous running, crouching, skulking around corners, aiming guns and shooting them. This of course gets a bit boring when carried on for so long.
Johnson uses jerky camera work to heighten suspense and to make the film look a little more prestigious that it really is, but this ends up being annoying instead. The same can be said about the film's overpowering background music as well as its choppy editing. And are the Secret Service really this efficient and on top of things in the real world? When you think of how the government has handled recent tragedies, something tells me they're not.
The Sentinel becomes even more preposterous as it lurches along. The rationale behind the assassination plot is murky at best. And then there's the big, hugely far-fetched shoot-out at the close, which suggests that infiltrating a small army of gunmen into an international assembly that is supposed to be a G8 summit must be the easiest thing in the world to do. It's also never really made that clear whom the gunmen actually are, but at least the scenes are shot in Toronto so we get to see some of the City.
The movie gradually sinks into a pit of conspiracy clichés, from the D.C. detective who talks like he's from a Manhattan borough to Pete's unkempt on-the-street informer who seems to know everything. Even worse, the characters lack in-depth development. It's also criminally sloppy writing when towards the end of the movie Sutherland's Breckinridge changes his attitude towards Garrison for the flimsiest of reasons.
The performances are pretty much what you see is what you get. Douglas goes through his usual tight-lipped shtick - you would think after thirty years in the business he'd be stretching himself and taking on more interesting roles. Sutherland does his TV show spiel and Longoria - who is never going to the world's greatest actress - is wasted in a role anybody could have phoned in. And Basinger looks svelte and gorgeous but offers little beyond her appearance as a meek and decorous First Lady. Mike Leonard September 06.
Nothing that one episode of 24 won't show you
Chris Kennison | Jefferson City, Mo United States | 09/04/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"THE SENTINEL was, all in all, pretty run of the mill, unchallenging, forgettable and offered nothing more that what you could find in one single episode of the show 24.
The SENTINEL explores the life of a Presidential Secret Service Agent. When an off duty Secret Service Agent is gunned down outside his home, talk begins to circle about a plot to kill the President and a potential MOLE among the Secret Service. So, when SSA Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) fails a polygraph, the heat is not far behind.
All sounds very intriguing, and it is, but the problem is with the delivery. Watching the film, it seemed like an entire season of 24 crammed into a 2 hour movie. There was SO MUCH going on. Bad guys. Possible bad guys. Moles. Possible moles. Affairs. Suspected Mole on the lamb. Informants. Assassins. A shoot out in a public place. Murders. Secrets. It all seemed too choppy.
The movie sort of has an empty feeling. People do heroic things, but they didn't grab my gut. Shocking things happen, but the movie is so hyperactive that you never truly get the desired feeling from it. Characters are established, but not really fleshed out... like Jill Marin (Eva Longoria). We meet her. We see how swift she is and why she has gotten this new job, but by the end of the film, we realize that she wasn't all that necessary cause she didn't do much.
But the main gripe I have is the lack of exploration and explantion given to the BRAINS behind the assassination plot. You never truly feel the danger from them because you don't know them. Why are they dangerous? Why are they doing what they're doing? There personalities are only highlighted but not given enough attention.
Finally, there are a couple of VERY questionable incidents involving the bad guys. Why would the assassin open fire in a crowded mall where everyone can see him? Not only that, but why would he instigate it? They didn't know who he was. What's he shopping for anyway? The second incident would give away too much of the ending, but the brains behind the operation seemed to leave his brain in the trunk when he got there.
Then of course, there was the cheesy 80s music ending. I was completely expecting Michael Douglas, as he walked away from the capital, to jump into the air, kick his heels together with glee which would be captured in freeze frame glory.
The SENTINEL could have been a good film. Kiefer Sutherland is his solid self, playing David Breckinridge, a variation of Jack Bauer from 24. Michael Douglas is real, sympathetic and solid. Yet, the rest of the characters are one dimensional, not unlike the story and the execution.
It's not a horrible way to spend a couple of hours, but had I spent money to see this at the movie theatre, I would have REALLY been disappointed. I expected more than what we got with the talent that was involved."
Standard, but not bad.
Boss Fan | Take a Right at the Light, Keep Going Straight Unt | 04/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the thing about "The Sentinel:" It is one of those movies you've seen a dozen times before in various incarnations, and often done better, but most often done worse. That this movie has a TV show, miniseries, direct-to-DVD, and/or decade-or-two-past feel to it is about the worst thing that can be said about it. Alas, that is all true. But there are other movies you could say the same about that, if I saw them bashed, I would go to the mat in defense of (anyone remember Wesley Snipes in the taunt, but underrated because of it generics thriller "Murder at 1600?").
Like the buddy cop thrillers, teen slasher movies, one man army flicks from Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and the Steven Seagal/Van Damme type action pics, Hollywood used to crank these political potboilers out in droves in the 80's and 90's. So it is only fitting that this film stars Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Basinger, since this movie is a product of their film-career heydays; not to mention they have all covered similar territory before in a number of films. The parts in this movie are a stretch for no one. Kiefer Sutherland does Jack Baur-lite, Michael Douglas wears a suit, beds the babe and spends the movie trying to figure out a lofty conspiracy and clear his name at the same time. Granted, Eva Langoria has never played a Secret Service agent to my knowledge, but then again she doesn't much play one here either. Still her presence is the one way that when we look back on this movie in 10 or 15 years, we won't confuse it for something that came out in 1993.
None of this makes "The Sentinel" bad, but it is a little disappointing that the makers didn't realize that their film was generic and try to do something to overcome the genre conventions. All of this plays out pretty much how you'd expect. No surprises or big twists. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a tight, straightforward thriller, and "The Sentinel" isn't exactly predictable, but it's never particularly engaging. You want to see how it all ends up, but the outcome is like any other. Of course, it is possible the makers wanted to deliver more of a Secret Service procedural, and on that level, and on the general skill of the cast and director, "The Sentinel" earns a recommendation.
Here is a quote from the film critic at The Onion that sums up just what I was thinking after this movie: "Here's the problem facing the generic political thriller "The Sentinel:" Television is still free. As standards continue to rise and TV more readily turns out first-rate action serials, the bar has been raised for Hollywood cinema, and air-conditioning alone isn't its salvation. No one should know that better than Clark Johnson, a seasoned director of superior cop shows like "The Shield," and star Kiefer Sutherland, whose heads up one of TV's tensest hours in "24." For the most part, the professionals on both sides of the camera know how to deliver the goods: "The Sentinel" gets the job done, supplying a steady mix of action and intrigue without embarrassing itself too much. Yet any given episode of The Shield or 24 is more densely plotted, more surprising, and considerably deeper in characterization."
Well, that's pretty much what I just said, and that is pretty accurate. Even if you loved this movie, you should be able to admit to that. But again, if that's the worst that can be said about a movie, it's probably still worth checking out.
If you want to see a Secret Service thriller done right, Clint Eastwood's "In the Line of Fire" remains the high standard.