The Sentinel

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Bassinger
Directed By: Clark Johnson
Rated: PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality
Review Posted: April 28th, 2006

Final Grade:

Before I go any further into this review, I need to get this out and into the open, so bear with me.

“Hi, My name is Jason and I am a Kieferholic. I didn’t mean to be, I swear. I started when I was younger and didn’t really even know who he was. But then, just like any addict I moved onto the harder stuff. I watched Phone Booth. And when Phone Booth wasn’t getting me my Kiefer high, I started watching the TV show 24. And when 120 hours worth of 24 wasn’t enough, I paid $50 for the 24 video game so I could get my Keifer high by actually playing the game as Keifer. Yes, I admit it. I’ve lost my life savings, countless hours of my time and distanced my self from my friends and family. My name is Jason and I am a Kieferholic.

The Sentinel opened in theaters recently and being the Kieferholic I am, I was psyched about the movie. Part of this was because it was Everywhere I turned around. The theater I worked at plugged the film daily with pre-feature show featurettes about the film, and every time I’d turn on Fox for a night of 24, they’d run an ad for the film there too. I was surrounded and hooked from the get go. It looked like a lot of fun, a action flick with some star power filled with some twists and turns. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Well as I was soon to find out, there are problems with that, especially when there really are no twists and no turns. You see everything you need to know in the trailer and you don’t need to see too much more. It’s one of the most average formulaic films I have seen in a while. We are led to believe that Michael Douglas is a Secret Service agent who has gone rogue and plans to kill the president. The lead investigator on the case is a hard hitting, by-the-book agent (Kiefer Sutherland) who will follow the evidence and do whatever it takes to bring the would be assassin down. Who will win in this battle of wits? If you watch the film it’s easy to see how this one will turn out.

The film touts the aging, yet still cool, Michael Douglas who plays the aging apprentice Secret Service agent to a tee. He does a great job, and watching the film I was reminiscent of Harrison Ford, a la the Fugitive. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Keifer Sutherland playing the agent tracking down Douglas. Kiefer basically brings his 24 character, Jack Bauer to the big screen, shouting intense things, pointing guns and doing whatever it takes to find his mark. Paired with Keifer is Eva Longoria, in a role that is useless and actually hurts the film. Longoria plays the rookie agent who tags along with Sutherland who’s only true meaning is to provide eye candy and another star name to the cast list. Longoria’s role could have been played by any female in Hollywood, or not even included in the plot at all. Yes, she was that useless to the film.

Where this film fails in the acting department is really due to one actress, Longoria. Now I know Desperate Housewives fans will flood my email box calling me a hater, but she really did ruin it for me. Paired with Sutherland, a guy who plays the intense character just about better than anyone out there (except Samuel L. Jackson), Longoria running around with a gun and trying to act tough sticks out like a sore thumb. She prances around on screen like a low rent soap opera actress (no pun intended) who stumbled into this role by pure luck and doesn’t really fit into the equation at all. Dump Longoria from the plot, this film would have been better. Granted this was not the only problem the film had but dumping her would have been a start.

This movie fails, because it brings nothing to the table. Things are resolved with ease, The film foreshadows everything so well you see every thing play out in your head 10 minutes before it happens. There are no subtle references in this film. They make sure they show the fire extinguisher 20 times in 3 minutes and expect you to be surprised when the fire extinguisher is shot as a diversion for a clever escape. You also quickly learn that despite being a National fugitive with a plot to kill the president, Douglas can pretty easily maneuver inside government facilities without much trouble from anyone. The only one really concerned with finding him is Sutherland. If our national security is that bad in police stations and government evidence labs etc, then we are really in trouble!

All in all, The Sentinel is a mediocre waste of time. A Kieferholic like myself got a little joy out of the film, but not a whole lot more. I can easily resort back to my 24 DVDs and Video Games or even pop in Phone Booth for a much better Kiefer fix. If you want to see Eva Longoria check out Desperate Housewives. If you want to see Michael Douglas watch just about anything else( The In-Laws included) The Sentinel is not a bad film, it’s just not a good one either.