Friday, August 04, 2006

The Sentinel

If you've seen the trailer, you'll have most of the movie planned out for you. Michael Douglas (The In-Laws) plays a secret service agent on the run after being accused of plotting against the president. Keifer Sutherland (TV's 24, and The Lost Boys, if you're a purist) is trying to bring him down. There's some bad blood between them, for reasons that are fairly unimportant. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) has nice breasts and looks good in a pants-suit.

While it is nice to see a film that's not a sequel or remake, this one does lack a certain originality regardless. It's a mishmash of The Fugitive, In The Line Of Fire, and every other 'aging-American-bloke-does-a-lot-of-running' film you've ever seen. Though it doesn't bring the film down in this respect, it does jar slightly, leaving you thinking 'now where have I seen that before...?' rather than allowing you to sit back and unravel the quite deftly handled mystery.

The characters are woefully underdeveloped, especially the requisite bad-guys, and all characters are prone to massive switches in attitude for no apparent reason. Kim Basinger's first lady is not much more than wallpaper, and Michael Douglas' face-lift is often more interesting than he is.

The film's shooting is cliche - sweeping helicopter shots, ragged flashes of corpses... director Clark Johnson (S.W.A.T) has been here before. But his work is more suited to Law And Order or NYPD Blue than a film that requires a 108-minute runtime.

But the film does save itself in the fact that it knows what it is, and which audience to target. In that respect, it's a solid political thriller for a Friday night, and is subtle in that it spares us copious shots of things blowing up, and doesn't rely on swearing or graphic sex to create interest (and really, who needs to see Michael Douglas on the job, anyway?). It's fun, it keeps you guessing, and though you may not remember a thing about it the next day, it's a nice respite from real-life.

1 comment:

Rohan Williams said...

Nice review. And yeah, it is nice to see something that's not a sequel or a remake, but this thing looks derivative enough to be a remake anyway.