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THE SENTINEL (2006)

Director: Clark Johnson

Screenplay: George Nolfi

Starring: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, David Rasche, Kim Bassinger...

Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 108 minutes

Genre: Thriller/crime/drama

For reasons never clearly defined (shades of "Airforce One") it seems there is a plot, from within the Secret Service, to assassinate the President of the United States. (With David Rasche as the President, I was rooting for the assassin to be successful, whoever he was.)

Special Agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) is an aging but well respected agent. He's soon caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. He is being blackmailed because of the affair he is having with the President's wife, (Kim Bassinger). Not surprisingly, he quickly becomes the "disgraced" Secret Service agent suspected of being the assassin. What? Michael Douglas, an assassin? I didn't believe it for a moment. Now Kiefer Sutherland? Maybe...

Garrison takes off to try and clear his name followed closely by fellow agent and former friend, David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland). Breckinridge has personal issues with Garrison that go way beyond whether or not his former friend is an assassin. Breckinridge also has a new rookie partner, Agent Jill Marin, (Eva Longoria) who just happens to have been a student of Garrison's.

If this all seems to be getting a little complicated, just think of it as a mixture of bits and pieces of plots from other action movies. As you watch the film, you'll be reminded of "Absolute Power," "In the Line of Fire," "Airforce One," even "Dave." (And in my opinion, each and everyone of those other films is better, by far, to watch than "The Sentinel.")

There's no real tension here. Everything comes too easily to Douglas. And we even know from the start that he's not the assassin. There is no thrill. Political or otherwise.

I'm glad I didn't opt for watching this movie in a theater. Don't get me wrong, I like Michael Douglas. For that matter, I don't dislike Kiefer Sutherland. I just think they should have switched parts in this movie. If they had, I believe the movie would have been a whole lot more entertaining and a whole lot more thrilling.

A tighter plot with a real possibility that Garrison was the assassin or that he might not be able to clear himself would have added a great deal to the lackluster story. Which reminds me of "The Eagle Has Landed." Now that was a thrilling movie!

Another way to go with this movie would to have been to cast unknown actors rather than Douglas, Sutherland, Longoria, Bassinger, and Rasche. As it is, "The Sentinel" feels like a made-for-TV movie-of-the-week, filmed in Canada. (And just for the record, I like Canada!)

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