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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.51%
Worth A Look: 3.51%
Pretty Bad: 42.11%
Total Crap: 0%

7 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Sentinel, The (2006)
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by brianorndorf

"As long as I don't ever see Douglas kiss Basinger again, I'm good"
3 stars

There’s nothing in “The Sentinel” that you can’t get on television. A routine thriller with occasional sparkles of delight, the film is a good showcase for the chemistry between Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland, but not nearly as much fun as it could’ve been.

Carrying on a torrid affair with the President’s wife (Kim Basinger), elite Secret Service agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) has left himself open to trouble. When a madman promises to kill the President, Pete is framed during the investigation, forcing him to take off and find a way to clear his name. Hot on his trail are a disgruntled old colleague, David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), and his new partner (Eva Longoria), with both agents learning promptly just how cunning Pete is as they try to hunt him down for arrest.

With 2003’s “S.W.A.T.,” director Clark Johnson made a rollicking romp out of pure convention. Clark managed to rise above the film’s television roots and give the paying crowd a thrill ride in unexpectedly assertive ways. While given the same ingredients for his latest, “The Sentinel,” Johnson cannot whip up a similarly enticing feature film.

Part of the problems that plague “Sentinel” is the source material. Taken from a book, the film simply has too much story to tell for the small ambition it has to entertain. Early on, you can sense Johnson sweating bullets trying to keep his film alive and kicking as the screenplay struggles to arrange plot points for later payoff. Throwing in a shoot-out here and there to keep the juices flowing, “Sentinel” entertains, but never convinces. And you can chalk most of the film’s appeal to Douglas and Sutherland, who make unexpectedly fine foes. The back and forth between the duo is good stuff. It’s a shame they don’t have more scenes together.

“Sentinel” takes an hour to fully ramp up, and once Pete goes on the lam, the picture begins to enjoy an energetic “Fugitive” vibe. Watching Pete unleash his inner MacGyver as he tracks down his enemies is where the story finds a pulse, and lets Douglas do what he does best: wrestle his way out of a corner. Unfortunately, the fun only last 30 minutes before the action lumbers to an obese grand finale.

Using his bag of tricks (what can I say, the man loves a zoom lens), Johnson can’t quite get “Sentinel” up to speed fast enough, and the film suffers massively from inertia in exactly the wrong moments.

The picture remains reliable thriller entertainment, but the genre is capable of greatness when given golden cinematic attention (such as “In the Line of Fire”), and “Sentinel” doesn’t aim high enough. With Sutherland basically doing his “24” character, and the film’s final twists resembling a bad television movie, “Sentinel” stays frustratingly grounded, ignoring its A-list pedigree.

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originally posted: 04/21/06 17:08:23
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User Comments

6/20/18 Anne could have been great 2 stars
8/07/09 R.W. Welch Some cool inside stuff, but mostly the usual cloak & dagger schtick. 3 stars
2/08/08 Abhishek Chakraborty worth watching once. If you like the 24 Tv series then you'll feel right at home 3 stars
1/26/08 mb OK movie 4 stars
7/30/07 mr.mike douglas elevates it to passing grade 4 stars
2/08/07 Matt A very promising build-up disintegrates into a lame and stupid ending. 2 stars
1/08/07 Ricki Ungar Not very believable and amazing that he was able to get around Washington without being pic 2 stars
12/14/06 Jack Sommersby Ineffectively staged and only moderately well-acted. 2 stars
9/15/06 matt good action, but the plot made no sense and lousy acting, bizarre direction 2 stars
9/11/06 Monday Morning We're overdue for a First Lady who's also a nice piece of ass. 3 stars
8/30/06 action movie fan exciting thriller one of 2006.s best 5 stars
6/03/06 San Lamar eva looked good 3 stars
5/09/06 y2mckay Entertaining, but formulaic and predictable. 3 stars
4/26/06 Mase Polished thriless thriller,Douglas looks bored, you will be too. 2 stars
4/22/06 Pat Frederick Loved the movie. Great actors! 5 stars
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  21-Apr-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Aug-2006



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