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The Sentinel
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Action, Mystery
IMDB rating:
Clark Johnson
Michael Douglas as Pete Garrison
Kiefer Sutherland as David Breckinridge
Eva Longoria Parker as Jill Marin
Martin Donovan as William Montrose
Ritchie Coster as The Handler
Kim Basinger as 1st Lady Sarah Ballentine
Blair Brown as National Security Advisor
David Rasche as President Ballentine
Kristin Lehman as Cindy Breckinridge
Raynor Scheine as Walter Xavier
Chuck Shamata as Director Overbrook
Paul Calderon as Deputy Director Cortes
Clark Johnson as Charlie Merriweather
Raoul Bhaneja as Aziz Hassad
Storyline: Special Agent Pete Garrison is convinced that a Neo-Nazi Aryan Disciple has managed to infiltrate the White House. When a White House Agent is murdered, Garrison is framed and blackmailed over an affair with the First Lady Sarah Ballentine. He is relieved of his duties, but Garrison won't stop in trying to prove his innocence, and save the life of the President. While attempting to uncover the person behind it all, he comes into confrontation with his protege, Agent Breckinridge.
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Thank you ladies and gentlemen who wrote the bad reviews!!
Had I known what I was going to endure during almost 2 hours, I would have skipped that masterpiece of s...., and would have started right away to read the bad reviews. This was very entertaining, for they included wit, suspense and humor, to put it short: all that was missing in this film. A every low budget production would have been more carefully executed than this unbelievably bad film. I am not sure if the main actors could sleep properly at night after having seen it. A fat paycheck may have relieved their pain.....To me, it shouldn't be in the Action category, far more, I think, would it belong to the 70's catastrophic genre like Earthquake, Towering Inferno etc. But these films were at least entertaining.

Keep up the good work and stay critical!
Great Cast and Potential for Greatness... Sentinel falls short!
Okay, I think that the producers of "The Sentinel" watched a few episodes of "24" and thought "conspiracy theories, Keifer and a couple of stars will be an instant blockbuster!". The other stars, film icon michael douglas, sexy latina eva longoria and classic beauty kim basinger; make up an all star cast (and they each play their role extremely well!)... but sadly, the movie just never came together! I think that it had potential to be REALLY cool, but unfortunately you can't cram a season of "24" into 2 hours, neither can you combine so many scenes and characters without compromising the important details that viewers need to connect with to feel they're really PART of what they're watching.

This movie wasn't a total loss, but I wish that more attention had been paid to Keifer's AWOL (would have been nice to see some MacGuyver-esquire gadget making - what did he do with all those parts he bought at the hardware store?), less mushiness with michael douglas and the first lady, and a better ending (okay, weren't we all waiting for the last bad guy to make a final bad a$$ stand?). I'd recommend renting it on PPV, not the theater.
A positive review for this film can only be the result of cognitive dissonance.
The production notes for 20th Century Fox's "The Sentinel" describe it as an "unpredictable" political thriller that tells the story of "the agents assigned to protect the President and the First Lady". A more accurate description would be that the film is a prime example of what happens when you give a $60 million budget to people who should never have been allowed near a camera.

Michael Douglas stars as Peter Garrison, a Secret Service agent who uncovers a plot by group of assassins who wish to kill the President and have the aid of mole from inside the agency. During the investigation, Garrison is framed as the traitor and is forced to go on the run to continue his investigation. Kiefer Sutherland is a former protégée of Douglas who is sent to track him down along with the help of rookie agent played by Eva Longoria. As Douglas uncovers more and more of the deadly plot, he must struggle to evade his own organization, in an effort to clear his name and save the President's life before it's too late.

It's hard to know where to start when reviewing a cinematic disaster, except to say that the least offensive element in "The Sentinel" is the acting. Douglas is competent, if entirely forgettable as a senior agent whose years of experience must be called upon to save the day. Sutherland, on the other hand, is wasted in a one-note role, largely due to the film's lazy script. Sutherland's character is limited to only two emotions, "less angry" and "more angry", and calling his character "stock" would be implying too much depth.

Eva Longoria is given little to do and is essentially eye-candy for males in the audience. At 5'2" and likely no more than 100 pounds, Longoria is barred from conveying the presence as well as the ability of an actual field agent. Regardless, she is still able to upstage Kim Basinger, whose performance as the First Lady serves as yet another reminder that her Oscar for "L.A. Confidential" may have been a fluke. Behind the camera, the only person who emerges relatively unscathed is composer Christophe Beck, whose percussive-intensive score, while completely predictable, is rarely inappropriate. Everyone else should be embarrassed.

The film's "wouldn't this be cool?" sense of production design suffocates any realism one expects in a "political-thriller". Kiefer Sutherland's office features more technology than a "Best Buy" store and yet in reality, our own FBI is struggling to equip agents with their own email accounts. This is but one example of where the film trades honesty for flamboyance. Much like the director Clark Johnson's previous effort, "SWAT", "Sentinel" refuses to give the audience insight into how a real law-enforcement organization operates. Countless opportunities in the film to illuminate how the Service operates are discarded in favor of pointless plot developments and made-for-TV action scenes.

Despite borrowing liberally from films like "The Fugitive", "The Negotiator" and "In the Line of Fire", George Nolfi's script can best be described as "insulting". There is an overriding feeling throughout that the filmmakers have no respect for their audience. Most plot developments are riddled with holes and every character including Douglas' is paper thin. A laughably artificial romantic scenario is introduced early on that exists only because the hack-job of a screenplay lacked a love interest. The villains are given literally no descriptions beyond being from Kyrgyzstan. And despite the build-up, the mole in the agency is dropped in at the last minute as part of a half-baked Cold War plot with a single line of dialogue serving as the "motive".

Equal blame, however, must go to director Clark Johnson. With the dubious aid of cinematographer Gabriel Baristain, Johnson has created one of the most visually unattractive and poorly shot films in recent memory. Absolutely nothing works, as Johnson bombards the audience with an embarrassing mix of quick close-up zooms, awful CGI, contrast-boosted outdoor scenes, and faux security camera footage. The last of these is especially frustrating in hindsight, as themes of voyeurism are planted then inexplicably dropped when they can't be tied to the plot. In fact, the only frame that stuck with this reviewer from the entire 105 minutes was the close-up of Eva Longoria's butt.

Furthermore, Johnson is apparently unaware that his film cannot fit into the genre of "political thriller" if it lacks thrills as well as politics. Most scenes feature various individuals chasing or being chased by the 61 year-old Douglas. The problem is that Johnson's complete misunderstanding of how to generate excitement or tension makes these scenes about as engaging as playing hide and seek with Helen Keller. Even the finale's promise of a an action-packed assassination attempt goes completely unfulfilled, and there is a pervading sense that the filmmakers either just ran out of money or gave up and shot what they could.

Could "The Sentinel" have been any better? Absolutely. If the filmmakers had simply set out to create a buddy-cop film with Douglas and Sutherland as agents trying to prevent an assassination, the results might have at least been entertaining. It also would have cut down the large number of "24" fans who will flock to this film and leave disappointed. As it stands, "The Sentinel" is one hell of a mess, evidence that a lack of talent will inevitably produce a terrible movie.
Completely forgettable... which is why this review is so short.
I've been willing to put up with a lot from late-spring/summer action fluff movies, but in general that's been due to the fact that most of them have reasonable payoff (i.e. cool special effects, interesting plot twists, comic value, Steve Buscemi, etc.). This movie, however, had none of this. All that we got was the cheap thrill of several minutes of Eva Longoria's cleavage (an issue of Maxim is cheaper than a movie ticket). There is an embarrassing lack of plot, suspense, back story, character development, continuity, etc. I would get into specifics, but quite frankly I've already-maybe willingly-forgotten most of the movie.

The entire time I was in the theater, I was kicking myself for not just spending the afternoon watching a 24 season on DVD. Save your money on this one, folks. Unless you really, really, really like Eva Longoria's cleavage.
Not really up to par
The 2006 film "The Sentinel," which stars Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Basinger is a fair movie that makes a decent rental. It's the story of a Secret Service man who is framed for an assassination attempt on the President (David Rasche) and sets out to find out who's framing him while Sutherland is after him.

Unfortunately, the casting gave away one of the subplots, and as to whom was framing Douglas, that was apparent as well.

What could have been a really excellent thriller is spoiled by a clumsy script that lets the viewer down at the end of the film.

Eva Longoria has a supporting role which was basically thrown in there for no apparent reason.

Kim Basinger makes a lovely first lady and Rasche, who has little to do, is effective as the President. Douglas and Sutherland are in familiar roles.

I saw this around the same time that I saw "Inside Man" and there's no comparison. "The Sentinel" seems thrown together. I would have been upset had I seen this in the theater and paid full price.
Pretty disappointing movie
I went in to see this movie without having watched the trailers. That was a bad move. The film started slow and boring. The dialogue was poorly written and the plot was poorly explained. Although the plot wasn't well explained, the bad guy in the film was so obvious that there was absolutely no suspense. The actors chosen for the parts are actually the only highlight of the film, but that is about it. The movie is kind of a 24"ish" movie but doesn't even come close to any of the chapters of that series.

*****SPOILERS NEXT!!! Don't READ IF YOU Don't WANT TO BE SPOILED!!*** The lamest part of the movie is actually the supposed climax, where the president is evacuated from the G8 meeting. The sad part is that the "bad guys" are just 4 guys, so the supposedly "super plot" to kill the president is just plain stupid and laughable. **** SPOILERS END****

So the bottom line is, if you want to see this movie, rent it, or even better, wait for it when it's played on the cable. A very lackluster movie. If you want thrills and government plots and a lot of action and tension, better go and grab a season of 24, hell, any chapter alone of that series will beat this movie.

Almost didn't get the "average" 5 score (should be lower, but the actors helped a little).
The director should stick with TV
This movie had all the potential in the world to be a modern-day "In The Line Of Fire", with great suspense, story, acting, action, etc... but the Director missed the ball. Every action and suspenseful scene was missing the added element that separates TV-movies from box-office blockbusters. It's hard to put into words, but watching all the action and suspense scenes felt like I was watching a mid-budget USA or TBS movie. The cast was great and them combined with a good screenplay and overall plot saves this movie from being a disaster. There was too little character building as well, especially for the 'bad guys'. The story was still good and the movie overall will still be entertaining, but needless to say, I was disappointed.
Spoiler. The Civil Service techno-details are excellent. The plot stinks.
Spoiler!!! Stop now if you don't know the ending. I hate Tom Cruise Mission Impossible bastardizations. In the old TV series that used to be one of my all time favorites, Mr. Phelps was the voice of God. He was the ultimate Good Guy. Cruise's updated version of MI (No. 1) turned Mr. Phelps into the Bad Guy. That's like making Tonto the Bad Guy who does in the Lone Ranger. I hate movies -- or novels -- that do that, where it turns out that the DA prosecuting the innocent accused killer turns out to have done the murder himself, or the Vice President turns out to be the mole from the whatever enemy who poisons the President -- or in the case of the Sentinel, the head of the Secret Service turns out to be the Bad Guy about to kill the Prez. I warned you, that's a huge spoiler. But to me, that kind of plot is already spoiled. As the main revelation of the movie, it stinks.

Besides that, even if you don't have any more trust in your leaders than to give credence to "Mr. Phelps" turnabouts, Sentinel has some other gaping holes just too big to let slide. Maybe, just maybe, you could buy that the First Lady is having an affair with her SS detail chief behind the Prez's back. That's not impossible. Presidents have affairs, why not First Ladies? But can you really believe a guy could rise to the top of the Service itself without ever having been fully screened? Really! You think? And what was that mystery terror organization behind the plot, and how did they get onto the SS head's entanglement with the now-defunct KGB? Hmmnh? Another poser: Can anyone explain how that Xavier loser guy got all that insider info about the First Lady's affair with Douglas to begin with -- if you tell me it was the Head of the Service feeding it to him, then why the whole rest of the movie? He would have just removed the Douglas character for cause from the outset, don't cha know? The cast was good and the acting was varsity level. I liked that Michael Douglas gets to act his age, and the plot doesn't let him get away with being a 60 year old superstud who can outrun the young agents under his charge. He is slow, and he gets winded quickly. I liked Keifer. I never watched 24, but now I think I'd like it. And it was good to see Kim Basinger again, after all those years when she dropped out.

If you ignore the plot holes and the revolting spoiler, you could really like the movie for what it shows you about the inner workings of the Secret Service, one of the all-time real success stories of government service. A Beltway insider who should know told me that that part of the film was A+, and I'll take his word for it.
Even to remember is painful
I saw the trailer of the film several times at theater and I excited. It looked like a classic action thriller like the ones made in 1990's. It recalled me also Fugitive movies, a cat and mouse chase between Douglas and Sutherland. However, The Sentinel is the most tasteless action thriller of all time. As I see, many people say that this is like a TV movie. Not exactly. Firstly, there are much more better TV movies in this genre. Secondly, TV movies might be very fun sometimes, but this film is the exact opposite of having a good time. It is not stylish at all visually and the most important, the tone of the movie is unappealing. This is not an action movie, there are two action scenes consist of a chase and a clash. Also they are not big action scenes, but the worse is that those action scenes are very tasteless like the whole movie. The love affair between Douglas and Bassinger was very unnecessary. Besides, the assassination plot to the president is the most cliché story in this genre either, but they insist on that. And this is not a cat and mouse film as it is supposed to be. Although, Douglas is very old now, he has still potential for acting in an action thriller. In the film, Michael Douglas cannot be like Tommy Lee Jones, for example. Sutherland is a wrong choice either, because you feel as if you watch Jack Bauer and somehow, its character is one of the reasons which make the film like a TV movie, Eva Longoria Parker is a strange choice, of course she is too passive or straight in this movie, because she is a soap opera actress. The movie was not fun even one second to me, so I could not get over for a while.
Sometimes I enjoy Michael Douglas movies. Sometimes not. One thing you know about his movies, he will be in about 90% of the frames. This was no exception.

He's good at his craft, many times. But this was a clunker. The premise is that we'll enjoy watching Michael Run...Run Michael Run... in shopping malls, hotels, streets...etc. Toss in a car chase or two and you've got a movie... sort of. The plot is basically just implausible ... from the moment one of his cohorts is killed because he's going to tell Douglas the pres. is going to be assassinated, right up to the "depends" moment at the office farewell. Another premise that the pres. wife would have an affair with a secret service agent is ludicrous. A one night stand...maybe. A continuing love affair...silly. Women who want that kind of power don't consider giving it away for "love." Ever. They are too driven by power. A man, like a pres., might do so for sex. We've seen that before... FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Clinton... but not Elinor, Mamie, Jacqueline or Hillary. They just put with it. You can watch this movie or play pong... equally as stimulating and both from the same time continuum.
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