The Guardian

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher 
Directed By: 
Rated: PG-13 for violence and Language 
Review Posted: October 11, 2006 

Final Grade: 

Putting Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher on screen together may actually be one of Hollywood’s more interesting marketing strategies of the last few years. Flocks of women, young and old swoon for the actor that appeals more to their age range, and so why isn’t it a great idea to pit two Hollywood heart throbs from two different generations on the silver screen together? As a motion picture distributor, you already have a cast and an audience for the film, now all you need is to add a story line, stir it all together, bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees and walla, you have a an instant hit.

The problem with the Guardian is that it has a story with potential and it has the heart throb cast but it also has a slew of problems as well. As viewers, we are able to accept certain story lines and we are able to suspend disbelief, and we are able to accept some level of cliché if a film entertains us. The Guardian however taps into every stereotypical cliché a Hollywood film could possibly have. Never since the emergence of The Boondock Saints have I found a film that has been so cliché, and so painfully unoriginal that instead of the mood the director intended to generate, I found myself in laughter instead.

Simply going into the film knowing the Coast Guard motto, “So Others Might Live” (Which they Hammer into your brain with a giant metaphorical sledge hammer), and having seen a preview for the film, you should be able to predict the beginning, the middle and the end of this flick. Having any general knowledge of any “military school film” will tell you that the young cocky recruit will learn that he has an inner strength. He is able to swoon the local innocent (usually a teacher or waitress) into falling for him. And after proving that he is a true hero to his peers, he lives happily ever after with his new found love, thanks to the help of the great Captain (who may or may not be with us anymore) who taught him about life. It’s a plot line that has been worn like an old T-shirt by films over the years. Like your favorite T-shirt, it’s comfortable, and probably pretty easy to wash and wear again and again and again. While the plot line may work, I want to see at least something new brought to the table. The Guardian was unable to produce that. Kutcher and Costner play off of each other well, but their performance is belittled by the fact that they simply are just rehashing every cheesy line or acting out every situation we’ve seen time and time again. They played out their roles to a tee, but the film is so formulaic, their performance seem robotic as well.

Visually the film looks a mess as well. Computer generated waves fill the screens for large portions of the film, and giant super storms loom on the horizon, but they look so fake that it toys with the film’s already limited credibility. They also attempt to do a steady cam training montage that looks like a shoddy home video made by a 16 year old with a DV cam instead of a Hollywood cinematographer. It doesn’t fit in and sticks out like a sore thumb when the rest of the film is trying to establish itself as a “Hollywood” film.

There are those films that I will suggest that while they may not be worth the full ticket price at your local movie theater, they are worth a few bucks as a rental. Those that have known me know that I will suggest just about any Costner film ever made at least as a rental. Those that have read my reviews over the years, brace yourself. Coming from the guy who suggests that you rent Costner’s film, Dragonfly, is telling you to skip The Guardian all together. That’s right-skip it. Don’t see it in theaters, don’t rent it, don’t mention it in casual conversation, just simply skip it. There are far too many films out there that are available to enjoy on our rental shelves and in theaters to waste away your time watching something that is a horribly cliched Hollywood garbage like the Guardian. Don’t get me wrong. The Guardian is not TERRIBLE, it’s just not anything at all. Why waste your time on something so mediocre, life’s far too short for that. 

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