I and my friend ended up watching this movie, mostly because I got to choose any movie I wanted to see as my birthday’s treat *smile*.
I bet you can google what this movie is all about. I got the summary of this movie from this source Plot Summary of The Guardian, and quoted as follow:
Best described as the US Coast Guard version of “Top Gun” with a little “An Officer and A Gentleman” thrown in, “The Guardian” is a passable diversion with the recognition of having parts of the aforementioned films. Kevin Costner plays an aging USCG rescue swimmer whose team is killed in a horrific rescue mission. Immediately prior to this terrible event, his wife (Sela Ward) also announced that she cannot take anymore. His first love is always the rescue mission. This leaves Costner an obviously emotional wreck. His commander gives him a choice – quit or take a position as an instructor at the USCG training facility in Louisiana. Reluctantly he takes the position. Moving into the school, he immediately increases the 18 week curriculum that routinely fails half of the people that attend. Here he meets a young man (Ashton Kutcher) with unlimited potential, but with some secret that seems to hold him back as a team player. Delving into his past, links are found that make him a psychic twin to the older man. Thrown into the midst of the story is a romance with a local girl (Melissa Sagemiller). Rescue missions punctuate the beginning and end of the story with the training sessions the center of the film.
Want another version of movie critique? Here it comes, Movie Review: The Guardian.
Frank’s film tip: It’s sink or swim–mainly sink–for the romantic Coast Guard caper THE GUARDIAN, a water-soaked AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN wannabe that pits Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in watery angst and adventure.
As much as the Hollywood machine chugs along to pacify hungry moviegoers, it never fails to fall short of its objectives. In this case, we’re served another gun ho-style military melodrama in the form of the daring yet woefully derivative waterlogged The Guardian. Director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”, “Collateral Damage”) aims his camera at the heroic antics involving the dedicated souls that make up the United States Coast Guard. In a post 9/11 and Katrina-inflicted aftermath where a feel-good watery wonderland such as The Guardian might register as an intriguing tribute on the waves, Davis has the right intentions in trying to hatch a soak-filled An Officer and a Gentlemen copycat for the millennium age. Unfortunately, this aquatic knockoff doesn’t come off as swimmingly pleasing as one might expect. Drenched with courageous-driven cliché, a familiar mentor-and-trainee conflicting confrontation, a blandly concocted romance and tedious training exercises that look both exciting and exhausting, The Guardian’s formulaic fable manages to come up all drippy.
In all fairness, one can see the need to conceive a mainstream entertainment centered upon rescue swimmers and the devotion they bring to an unrecognized yet noble profession–the career of tending to tragic-based events on the high seas. From jingoistic jolts featuring military movies that automatically capture that pulsating patriotic spirit to fire-fighting flicks that restore our faith in blue-collar bravery, it’s very understandable where The Guardian could fill that distinctive gap and explore a traumatic trend involving disoriented daredevils in wet suits.
But Davis and screenwriter Ron L. Brinkerhoff never hatches anything original or involving to get the juices rolling about these remarkable responders that take to the water like a giddy duck on steroids. Sure, the rescue sequences are fascinating at times and in-depth to say the least. And the grueling stunt work does add some eye-popping panache to the festivities. However, The Guardian cannot sustain its massive 138-minute running time based on the built-in premise of a mature handsome has-been instructor and his cocky cutie pie protégé out to conquer their sunken emotional demons. When you are tearing the page out of an already written book courtesy of hedonistic high-minded junk such as Armageddon then that’s a revealing sign that pretty much says you’ve surrendered creatively.
Wisely, the film enlists the services of high profile manly leads Kevin Costner (who knows a thing or two about kicking around in expansive, big-budgeted watering holes a la the cinematic punch line “Waterworld”) and the celebrated current “Mr. Demi Moore” in former TV heartthrob That 70’s Show standout Ashton Kutcher. The contrast of the leading men is intentionally convenient for drawing in the varying demographics, particularly the feminine element. Costner plays Ben Randall, a withering veteran that represents the traditional values of the old school Coast Guard mentality. After settling his shattering nerves over a recent water-related mishap that left him on edge, a disillusioned Ben travels from the icy waters of Alaska to teach at a Louisiana-based elite Coast Guard academy. There, Ben must oversee the training of an immensely talented swimmer in Kutcher’s Jake Fischer, a bragging Boy Wonder with an arrogant chip on his shoulder. Predictably, the gradual father-son love/hate relationship would click on all cylinders between the wounded men.
Together, Ben and Jake’s bonding process is solidified on so many levels–mainly, the fact that both men are broken inside and find it difficult to bring their inner complexities to the forefront. On the surface, they are committed to shielding their personal fears by masking it through the monotonous training techniques that reinforces their masculine-oriented discipline. We are reminded that grizzled vets such as Costner’s Ben have sacrificed a great deal in the name of “the job”. In this instance, Ben has paid the price concerning his fractured marriage to his suffering wife (played by Emmy-winning actress Sela Ward).
Not only is Ben’s marital status precariously floating as erratically as a defective life preserver but he has to maintain his pride and reputation as boyishly brash upstart Jake threatens to break all of his legendary Coast Guard records thanks to his flamboyant and furious rescuing efforts from yesteryear. Regardless of Jake’s capabilities as an emerging diva of the hostile currents, it’s Ben’s duty to ensure the professionalism of his raw recruits and separate the real men from the boys. Can Ben reign in Jake from his hotshot high horse? Better yet, will Ben overcome his psychological shortcomings in the wake of the menacing onslaught of middle age that constantly reminds him that he has to yield his glorious past to Jake’s promising future?
The Guardian tries to be a potent mixture of inspiration and admiration in its workman-like skin. Sadly, this is a boisterous yet bloated production that never quite gets a confident handle on the disjointed drama. Clearly, Davis’s narrative could have been edited more accordingly to convey this spongy saga more diligently. Plus, there’s nothing unique about the trivial trappings in The Guardian that hasn’t been dramatized in other action-packed vehicles. The situational set-ups are arbitrarily by-the-numbers in the way it paints the ambivalence about conflicted manhood. From the obligatory bar fight occurrences to the interaction of rowdy guys chasing down the local chicks, the movie waxes poetically about its testosterone-driven transparency. The wat
er scenes are impressively crafted. It’s too bad that we couldn’t say the same thing for the leaky overwrought story being told.
It is refreshing to see Costner acting his advanced age as a lost male coming to grips with the aging process while time has knowingly fiddled with his youthfulness. And Kutcher’s impish cuteness registers appropriately with his character’s bursting bravura. But after awhile, the tug-of-war philosophy between two flawed human superheroes becomes a routine gimmick. The acting feels wish-washy and we’re never really invested in the Coast Guard’s procedural structure especially when this branch of the military constantly tackles with being an underdog in the notable limelight of the Navy’s revered shadow.
The countless supporting cast members posing as various officers and recruits come and go as the storyline weaves in and out. Surprisingly, the women that preoccupy the chaotic world of Coster’s Ben Randall and Kutcher’s Jake Fischer are practically non-entities in the thick of things. Ward’s turn as the flustered spouse to Ben is hardly pronounced. And Melissa Sagemiller’s role as a pretty schoolteacher who distracts Jake’s coastal concentration thus causing the friction beleaguering Ben seems like filler to enhance the labored plot.
Sure, The Guardian has an intermittent colorful spunk and some challenging drive but the movie doesn’t achieve the energetic stormy attitude as evidenced in the choppy waters that the participants confront on the big screen.
Frank rates this film: ** stars (out of 4 stars)
The 136min-movie is kind of boring, but of course Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner are the reasons why I didn’t fall into sleep *smile*. All in all, I think this an entertaining movie… the movie you can watch with your friend and won’t get you into fight or heated discussion *smile*.
You know what… try to search “The Guardian” and it comes on the top list of top search engines. I wonder whether Guardian (the news source from UK) has something to say about it.
What’s left after the movie? I guess the tag line “So Others May Live”. Yeah, that’s me, always fall for those with public serving commitment.