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The Guardian

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It travels a predictable path, that’s true, but Davis’s professional handling of the material gives it a likeability. And the two leads are definitely watchable in roles that suit their skills.


Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Costner, John Heard, Neal McDonough

It’s so four-square and all-American you should probably receive a slice of apple pie and a red, white and blue flag along with your ticket, but “The Guardian” is also a mildly gripping and engaging yarn about the highs and lows of heroism.

The courageous rescue swimmers of the Coast Guard are the film’s focus, and the movie – sturdily if unimaginatively directed by “The Fugitive”’s Andrew Davis – does a solid job of presenting the gruelling training they must undergo to perform their demanding job.

In terms of “The Guardian”’s story, well, it’s the same ‘Tough, grizzled veteran teaches cocky young hotshot the ropes’ tale you’ve probably caught a few times before.

This time around, the veteran is Ben Randall (Kevin Costner), a legendary Coast Guard swimmer left mildly traumatised after a rescue attempt in stormy seas goes awry, leaving several of his comrades dead.

Part of Randall’s recovery process includes a stint as a trainer at the Coast Guard’s ‘A School’, where young up-and-comers are pushed to their limits as they learn the ins and outs of high-seas rescue.

Among the most promising new recruits is Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher), a champion swimmer with ambition to burn. Randall recognises the young man’s potential for greatness but is also wary of his recklessness and ego.

Okay, you can probably see where this is going. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid “The Guardian” altogether, After all, there’s something enjoyable about a familiar story, especially if it’s told with competence and conviction. And those are two things this movie has in earnest.

It travels a predictable path, that’s true, but Davis’s professional handling of the material gives it a likeability. And the two leads are definitely watchable in roles that suit their skills.

Frequently cast in light comedy roles, Kutcher makes a decent fist of the Fischer role’s demands. Not only is he in fighting shape, his portrayal of the character’s cockiness and underlying vulnerability is heartfelt and straightforward.

And Costner certainly knows his way around a role like this one. He handles the dramatic demands very well indeed (his scenes with Sela Ward, playing his estranged wife, are particularly moving), and there are flashes of the sly, confident wit that made him such a box-office draw in the ’80s and ’90s.

Rating :
Reviewer : Guy Davis

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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