Retro Review: The Sentinel

How many movies does one guy have to sit through that involve an attempted assassination of a Hollywood inspired President?

There have been so many and nine times out of ten, they are awful.

“The Sentinel” falls in that 90%.

Michael Douglas stars as Pete Garrison, a Secret Service Agent who is an intricate part of the Presidential detail.

So intricate that he is sleeping with the President’s beautiful wife (Kim Basinger) without the President (David Rasche) even knowing.

When an agent is assassinated, Garrison uncovers a sinister plot to kill the President by a mole deep within the Secret Service. Garrison’s old partner, David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) is brought in as the lead investigator for the case but when Breakinridge uncovers clues setting up Garrison as the mole, all hell breaks loose.

“The Sentinel” is probably one of the saddest, formulaic and badly edited thrillers I have seen in a while.

From the hot, tight-dressed new recruit (Eva Longoria) to a KGB mole to an over-the-hill hero, we have been there and done that plenty of times.

When I watched Douglas sleep walk through this film all I could think of was the Clint Eastwood thriller, “In the Line of Fire” which looks like one of the greatest thrillers of all time compared to this flick. I also thought fondly of Kevin Costner vehicle “No Way Out” which was one of the better flicks in this genre.

Sutherland’s performance is very similar to the role he plays on the hit TV series, “24”. The difference is that this film isn’t even in the same hemisphere as “24” when it comes to Class A thrillers.

I also had a very hard time getting my head around the casting of David Rasche as the president. The role just didn’t suit the actor. I never got a feeling of the regal that seems to inhabit a Hollywood-styled president.

Well to top it all off my favorite sitcom when I was a kid was “Sledge Hammer” which starred Rasche as a clumsy “Dirty Harry” clone. It’s just really hard seeing “Sledge” as president even if it’s nearly 20 years after the fact. But maybe that’s just me.

It is extremely hard to find a part of this film that I liked. Everything in the film is tainted or I just never bought.

If you like a safe picture with no surprises, then see this. But if you like to be thrilled and excited about the thriller genre, “24” is on every Monday on Fox.

(1.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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