What could have been one of the best efforts of Michael Douglas' career became less with all the gobbledygook slideshow of different threat notes between transitional scenes. It is unclear and confusing, though the plot and story are good ideas. What was a good premise got lost among the (literally) shuffle.
The Sentinel (12A)
Time Out says
Tue Aug 29 2006Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) is under-appreciated at work. The veteran secret service agent took a bullet for Reagan back in 1981, and the small thanks he receives is a 25-year stretch doing a desk job at the White House. Worse, when his colleague Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) investigates allegations that an agent is plotting to kill the present incumbent, Garrison becomes the prime suspect. So without even a carriage clock from his employers Garrison makes a hasty retirement from the agency, determined to clear his name.
Opening with archive footage of the Reagan assassination attempt, this action thriller acknowledges its star’s advancing years by locating his career highpoint in the distant past (a little like the Clint Eastwood picture ‘In the Line of Fire’). But once on the run Douglas proves there’s life in the old dog yet, strutting his virile stuff to evade his secret-service pursuers while conducting an affair with the First Lady (Kim Basinger).
Although some of the action scenes are briskly executed, this is confusing, overheated nonsense, with a strained and humourless performance from Douglas, whose main point of interest is his suspiciously smooth skin (at least Eastwood had real wrinkles). Sutherland offers solid support, but his presence only reminds you how much better ‘24’ does this kind of on-the-run conspiracy thriller. Its relentless glorification of the Presidential Office is grating, especially given the film’s hostility to all things non-American, notably a ragbag of villainous foreigners (Eastern Europeans, Cockneys and South Americans ) and Canadian peaceniks (boo hiss!). Probably the trashiest thing Douglas has done since dancing in that V-neck with Sharon Stone.
Author: Edward Lawrenson
Fri Sep 1, 2006