Monday, October 23, 2006

"THE GUARDIAN"
Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward, Clancy Brown, John Heard, Neal McDonough

"When lives are on the line, sacrifice everything"

Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex

There is a legend of a man under the sea. A fisher of men. He is called the Guardian.


I have always been ambivalent towards Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. I mean I don't really like them but I don't hate them either. They have done some good films such as "Field of Dreams" (Costner) and "The Butterfly Effect" (Kutcher). As well as really lousy ones like "Rumor has It" (Costner) and "Dude, Where's my Car?" (Kutcher). So put the two of them together in one film and what do you get? A well made movie with a solid script, coherently directed with a good paced scenario. Some lines that deserve a chuckle or two and a subject matter that focuses on an agency that is duty bound to save and rescue endangered lives in times of maritime disasters. Hmm ok so maybe the two actors had little to do with it - their acting was ok but I guess it helps that you have a lot of good factors playing out in your favor.

The first hour and a half concentrates on the gruelling training session of the new recruits of the Coast Guard. We are given a glimpse into the various stages of swimming lessons, breathing exercises, practice sessions with the necessary heavy paraphernalia/equipment as well as simulated rescue scenarios. It is all really interesting stuff to absorb. The film thoroughly researched the mechanics involved in being a Coast Guard swimmer/rescuer. Of course the bonding moments ensues between the trainees and their instructors. Naturally, Hollywood needs to throw in a female character so lead actor # 1 (Kutcher) can have some romantic scenes. While lead actor # 2 (Costner) needs to be this conflicted and flawed person battling his demons and marital woes. Conflicts always provide good dramatic 'feeling sorry for myself' moments.

Some highlights of the last few minutes of the film are on the few daring rescue missions after lead character number 1 is now officially a member of the Coast Guard. In my opinion, they should have given less airtime to the training and focus more on actual maritime rescue efforts. But overall, I think the film did justice to the valiant efforts and heroic stance of the Coast Guard in general. It is almost like a recruitment advertisement for more young guys to join the program. So given that it was a rather long movie and most of the time you have this urge to run to the bathroom to answer the call of nature due to all the wet scenes of swimming pools and the vast deep ocean, I can say the film was fairly entertaining and a good way to waste 2 hours of your time.

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