Friday, April 28, 2006
by Clint Fletcher
Perhaps I got a bit too excited about The Sentinel. Anyone that’s close to me is aware of my complete and utter obsession with the greatest show in the world- 24. Both The Sentinel and 24 star an angry Kiefer Sutherland with a gun, and both are within the thriller genre. Many fans have labeled it “24: The Movie” based on its previews. Because of all this false press clouding my judgement, it made me forget that the film was written by the idiot that wrote Ocean’s Twelve and Timeline.
Out of respect for my Master Kiefer, the absolute best review I can give The Sentinel is- decent. Its not bad, its not great either, and its certainly nothing special. But some very strong acting can make all the difference. I’m a big fan of director Clark Johnson’s resume (The Shield, The Wire, S.W.A.T.), however I am not a fan of Michael Douglas, who hasn’t made a good flick in about ten years back when he was in his 70’s. However, the acting is top notch and is definitely the highlight of the flick. Even Douglas surprised me, and the scenes between him and Kiefer were the most entertaining moments of the movie. And Eva Longoria was completely useless as expected and her character served no important angle in the story, except to be the bud of all the cheesy “hot women in the Secret Service” jokes. But to my surprise she was actually quite tolerable, thanks to the script giving her as few lines as possible. But the real star here is Kiefer Sutherland, who steals the show far away from everyone else. His intensity and frustration on screen is like a magnet to the eyes, which is probably why 24 is such a big hit these days. His character was also the only one remotely interesting, with a nifty little back-story involving him and Douglas in a master-apprentice relationship. You sense that there’s many layers to this dude, but sadly thanks to a poor script none of these layers are explored. This brings me to my next point- the script blows ass.
Its not confusing, its not filled with holes, its just plain stale. We’ve seen this story about thirty times before, sometimes in equally as boring manner (Murder at 1600). The “big” plot twist at the end everyone saw coming a mile away, and the final scenes involving a sequence where our heroes must save the President from an attack was extremely anti-climactic. It was all building up to.… that? Weak sauce! And the other biggest problem I had with the flick was its lack of intensity. This is supposed to be a thriller for God’s sake, so thrill me! Enough with this PG-13 bullshit. This flick suffered from the same problem Johnson’s last movie did (S.W.A.T.), not enough intensity. This puppy needed to be pumped up to a violent R and filled with some “shits”, “fucks”, “damns”, and some mother-fucking sweet kills and explosions. I’m not saying it should’ve been converted to an action flick, I’m just saying the volume is too soft and it needs to be turned way up.
But thankfully because of strong leads, an interesting concept (Secret Service rules!) and a handful of entertaining scenes, The Sentinel is far from being a disaster. However, its nothing I would tell you to race out and see either. But if you’re bored six months from now on a Sunday afternoon, there are much worse things you could do to kill two hours. Check it out on DVD and watch Kiefer in all his glory. Then go watch an episode of 24 and realize what this movie could’ve been. Only then will you be at the place I’m at right now.