out of Five
Running time: 108
Cheesy, nonsensical and ultimately disappointing thriller, despite good work from a decent cast.
What's it all about?
Michael Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a veteran Secret Service agent who once took a bullet for Reagan. However, his current position, protecting President Ballentine (David Rasche) is somewhat compromised by the fact that he's knocking off the First Lady (Kim Basinger).
When investigating agent David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) and rookie agent Jill Marin (Eva Longoria) uncover evidence of a plot against the President's life, Garrison finds himself in the frame, so he goes on the run to clear his name, with Kiefer (with whom Garrison has history because he nicked Kiefer's wife) in hot pursuit.
The few pleasures that The Sentinel does have to offer have almost nothing to do with its risible plot. Basically, it's a treat for fans of 24 and Desperate Housewives to see Jack Bauer running around with Gabrielle Solis – they'd make a great double act and should be given their own show immediately.
The performances are actually pretty good, at least better than the badly written script deserves. Sutherland is comfortably the best thing in it, whilst Longoria works wonders with a desperately underwritten part and Basinger brings an air of long-suffering dignity to a potentially unsympathetic role.
One problem with The Sentinel is that it's quite hard to buy Douglas as a First Lady-shagging good guy and his weird surgery-enhanced face (check out the airbrushing on the poster) is a constant distraction.
The plot is incredibly stupid, inventing pissed off Russians from Kharjistan instead of actually bothering to think up something decent. It's also increasingly nonsensical and hampered by the fact that Sutherland's character (who has less screen time) is more interesting than Garrison.
Ultimately, despite decent performances, this remains a poorly plotted and largely unconvincing thriller which wastes a valuable opportunity to make some political points. Not as good as Firewall and yes, that's damning with faint praise.