The Sentinel (2006)

"Weak"

The Sentinel (2006) Review


The Sentinel is one of those movies made for commercials and trailers full of shots of well-dressed Secret Service agents running and impassioned scenes where actors bark out lines like, "He's looking for an ally and the First Lady is a fine one to have." Rarely do these movies translate well into a longer format, and The Sentinel is far from the exception.

Directed by Clark Johnson (he of the awful S.W.A.T.), The Sentinel stars Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland as former friends forced to become allies after a plot reveals an unknown mole inside the Secret Service. Pete Garrison (Douglas) is a veteran agent drawn deeper into the plot after his affair with the President's wife (Kim Basinger, playing the curviest First Lady ever) is revealed, leading investigator David Breckinridge (Sutherland) to turn his attentions to Garrison. Meanwhile, TV's babe of the moment Eva Longoria co-stars as Breckinridge's sexy new partner and Garrison's protégé.

You would think the Longoria character would have had mixed feelings of being in the middle of a bitter feud. You never know. Johnson and screenwriter George Nolfi don't give her any thing to do, except handling the leering advances of her co-workers. Since Douglas and Sutherland are both on autopilot -- the former is in his stoic, manly role; the latter with his Jack Bauer intensity -- the movie trudges along until Garrison goes on the lam to prove his innocence and to save the President. That's a 40-minute wait before the movie begins to move.

The Sentinel's sleepy rhythm persists: The actors act important and alarmed, conducting investigations and taking polygraph tests, and then something blows up or someone fires a gun. The characters' background (especially Longoria), the motives of the mole's terrorist sponsors, and even the relationship between Garrison and the First Lady -- all ripe with dramatic possibilities -- remain unexplored. Ditto how Garrison gets framed, which is kind of important to the movie. For Johnson and Nolfi, you don't get brains with the bloodshed. When they finally reveal the mole's identity, it's not so much a surprise as an obligation fulfilled. You're surprised not because of who it is, but because after 90 minutes you have no idea who the hell he/she is.

That's the other thing. I don't know if I'm altogether comfortable with a movie of so little consequence using international terrorists to threaten the President of the United States. In shuffling these thugs into the proceedings, Johnson and Nolfi (adapting from Gerald Petievich's novel) make no reference to 9/11, no reference to the underlying unease many Americans feel on a daily basis. For that to happen, The Sentinel would need a script that goes beyond a backyard game of war, offers fully formed characters, and has an understanding of what the nation's reaction would be if such a plot actually occurred. But, you know, you can't fit all that stuff into the trailer.

The DVD includes a commentary track, deleted scenes (including an alternate ending), and two featurettes about the Secret Service.

High five.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Marcy Drogin,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.