Wednesday, 15 May 2013

No.98 : The Sentinel

The Sentinel at the IMDb

 Michael Douglas stars in this routine thriller which is a kind of mash up of ‘In the Line of Fire’ and ‘Spartan’ but falls short of either of those films.

Douglas plays a head security man in the Secret Service charged with looking after the president. He also looks after the first lady too to the extent of having an affair with her - well she is Kim Basinger. The President, who has got promotion since he was in ‘Sledgehammer’, doesn’t know and relies on his army of security men to protect him from the dozens of nutters who threaten the top man each day.

Things get a bit hairy for Douglas when an agent is shot and the presidential helicopter is brought down without the main man on board. His affair proves to be an Achilles’ heel as the bad guys get photos of him doing the dirty and blackmail him to doing his bidding.

Rival agent Kiefer Sutherland hates Douglas for shagging his wife too, and he starts to put the screws on the greying G-Man. With all sides moving in Douglas goes rogue and tries to find the traitor within his organisation who is still plotting to assassinate the president. Can he save the day and will the lovely Kim help out? Will the terrible British bad guy with the goatee beard serve up any menace whatsoever and will Michael get an award for doing his own stunts? - well there were quite a few stairs in that hotel.

The first half of this film was a lot better than the second. The first twenty minutes was a behind the scenes look at presidential security and it was interesting to see all the background guys and snipers set against a familiar mix of fast cuts and CCTV shots. Once the agent gets shot it becomes more of a character piece and Douglas doesn’t really have one. He’s meant to be no nonsense and meticulous but then he’s pumping the first lady - where does she get the time? He tries to be cool wearing his designer shades and fingering his earpiece but the main thought you have is why hasn’t be been pensioned off?

His detection was logical but not so inspired and given he got tracked down every five minutes, not that effective. The motivations of the bad guys were barely examined and why they needed a tough talking but poor acting British guy who had all the threat of a sock puppet I don’t know. The fake White House and ropey helicopter explosion stood out like sore thumbs but apart from that a good cast and some tight dialogue and action saved this from being a total turkey.

The sub plot with Kiefer and rookie agent Eva Longoria was largely pointless but at least added a bit of glamour. I wasn’t buying Kiefer’s ‘hate him but respect him’ routine and when they team up at the end it was no surprise at all. The ending itself was somewhat confusing with the good and bad guys getting mixed up as the overlong gunplay spilled out over many rooms and areas.

You will see a lot worse films, but it was in essence a decent TV movie with some stars on the bill.

THE Tag Line - No Presidential Pardon Granted        52%

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