The Sentinel Review
—2. Cast and Crew
—3. Photo Pages
—4. Trailers, Clips, DVDs, Books, Soundtrack
—5. Posters (Michael Douglas)
—6. Production Notes (pdf)
—7. Spiritual Connections
—8. Presentation Downloads
As a fan of the ultra-addictive show 24, I was excited to see Kiefer Sutherland making a trip to the big screen, playing a role similar to his hard-edged Jack Bauer character. Would the duo of Michael Douglas and Sutherland, with a mix of sexy Eva Longoria thrown in for good measure, capture the expert pacing and energy of the best special agent show on TV? Would this be the first step in Sutherland’s return to big screen glory?
In a word, no.
The Sentinel, directed by Clark Johnson, fails to raise Sutherland’s movie career from the dead let alone any excitement level for the viewer. At best, the film is an average thriller, and is better suited for Sunday night TV movie-of-the-week fodder. Forget it paralleling the brilliance that is 24; in fact, lower your expectation and take 24 out of your head entirely. What we have is a plodding, predictable narrative that fails to engage. Blame the poor editing, blame the stale characterization, and definitely blame the writing—all of these elements are guilty of helping to sink this cinematic ship.
The story introduces us to Pete Garrison (Douglas), who begins to self-destruct his respectable career as a secret service agent by carrying on with the First Lady (Kim Basinger). Garrison is also wrongfully tied up in a plot to assassinate the president, and the movie quickly descends into a lesser version of the much superior The Fugitive. David Breckinridge (Sutherland) is an old colleague of Garrison’s, and is handed the task of hunting down the MIA Garrison. Sutherland brings a much needed spark to his scenes, but he and Douglas fail to produce much chemistry. Jill Marin (Longoria), tags along as Breckinridge’s intern, but quickly becomes nothing more than eye candy—the producers obviously are trying to catch the bus of her success on Desperate Housewives. The whole ho-hum affair (no pun intended) ends with a loud, poorly edited shoot-out in a setting we’ve never seen before: a *gasp* stairwell.
Overall, the movie treats its subject matter a little too lightly, never respecting the depths of the characters’ lives and choices. For instance, when Breckinridge finally discovers that Garrison didn’t sleep with Mrs. Breckinridge but instead has been, ahem, “protecting” the First Lady, all is instantly forgiven between them.
“You thought you could get away with this?” Breckinridge asks Garrison incredulously. They chuckle about it like college buddies discussing their first female conquests. It seems as long as Breckinridge’s wife is in the clear, then good ol’ Garrison can cheat with any woman he wants.
But be sure your sins will find you out…early on, photos of the affair surface and push Garrison down shady roads in order to cover his sexual misdeeds. He winds up in places he shouldn’t be, and soon his career is destroyed. Thank the writers for at least not rewarding Garrison’s behavior in the end—he is eventually fired when it all hits the fan.
Oh the irony…protecting the president’s life for years, and yet stabbing him in the back in the end. The movie stops before we can see the lasting ramifications of the affair—the president’s ruined political career, his broken marriage, and the years of pain to follow.
But the consequence for 24 fans is a good one, because this lackluster film will keep Jack Bauer in TV land for at least one more season.