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The Guardian
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward, Melissa Sagemiller
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: Some scenes are a little intense.  Leave the kiddies at home.
Date Movie: She'll probably be crying her eyes out at times.
Gratuitous Sex: It would have helped the rating.
Gratuitous Violence: Some fighting goes on.
Action: Life-saving, rescue scenes.
Laughs: There's a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: I did like how Emily knew exactly what Jake was up to in the bar.
Memorable Quote: Ben to Jake:  "22"
Directed By: Andrew Davis
Produced By: Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson

The Guardian
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2:16 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
"The Guardian" had a whole lot of potential to be the proverbial commercial for The Coast Guard, much in the same way "Top Gun" is it for The Navy. From that opening sentence you can probably realize that I didn't think it pulled it off. Letís get to the storyÖ

Kevin Costner is Ben Randall. As a Coast Guard swimmer there doesnít seem to be anyone better. The problem for him is that his personal life is in shambles and that he is over forty, which is pretty old in the world of Coast Guard swimmers, or so the movie says. When a rescue goes bad and his crewmates go down, his commander gives him some options: Head to the academy to train the next group of cadets, take a desk job, or quit. Me, I would have quit so that I could be perpetually consoled by his wife, Helen (the continuing to be hot Sela Ward), but Ben options to teach Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher) and his class how-to-be swimmers. Alright, not really swimmers, they already knew how to swim, but I guess they call the Coast Guard rescue folk's "swimmers."

In any case, Ben has his concerns about Jake, believing Jake isnít trying to take up this profession to save lives, but rather for the glory, and drives Jake to the brink. But, of course, things wouldnít be that simple for this movie if A: Jake didnít have a past that leads him to his training. B: There was a love interest (in this case we get Melissa Sagemiller playing Emily, a very similar role to Kelly McGillisí role as Charlie from "Top Gun.") And C: The way-over-the-top, trying-to-be-tear-jerking moments.

So we see Jake and Emily getting it on yet "ignoring" they care for each other, we get Ben trying to come to terms with losing his crewmates, finally Ben and Jake bond, and all is right with the Coast Guard world, until, of course, the bloated ending rescue.

For whatever reason Iím not going to ruin some of the key scenes because they will probably make the girls cry while watching "The Guardian," but Iíve got multiple reasons why "The Guardian" doesnít come close to "Top Gun."

First is running time. The Navy was able to get their stuff done in under two hours, while The Coast Guard took almost 30 minutes more. Sure, a lot of times The Navy is just about blowing shit up while The Coast Guard has to take a little longer to actually save lives, but for a movie, unless itís balls-out action, 30 minutes usually means unnecessary plot development.

Second, and Iím sorry to say this because I found her very cute, but Emily is no Charlie. Sure, they are both teachers, but Charlie teaches fighter pilots while Emily teaches first or second grade (And no, Iím not saying first or second grade teachers have it easy, oh hell no. They probably have it more difficult at times. But a hot, fighter pilot teacher has one more issue, beating off the students.). And Charlie just seemed more philosophical for Maverick in his time of need, while Emily just fell for another Coast Guard student who would be gone in 18 weeks.

Third, as much as trying to save people can put you on the edge of your seat in the sea, it doesnít nearly put you on the edge of your seat as a 4g inverted dive with a MIG 28, at a distance of about six feet, while trying to keep up foreign relations.

And fourth. No movie should ever again, in the history of movies, use the phrase "Iíll never let go." That phrase is forever meant for "Titanic," where even though Rose never let go of her promise, she let go of Jack. And in "The Guardian," "Iíll never let go" became a continuing theme, and all I could keep remembering, every time it was uttered, was Jackís body, swirling down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, because Rose couldnít figure out a way to get Jack on that piece of wood with her.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Ashton Kutcher (except for maybe his greatest role as Jesse in "Dude Whereís My Car,") but thought he did a pretty good job as Zack Mayo, I mean Jake, as the kid who really doesnít have anywhere else to go and has something to prove. Kevin Costner was also in a role that fit him well, and did a good job at kicking the asses of the trainees. But there were too many scenes in this movie that I didnít need. We know what the movie is supposed to be about: A recruit who has the potential to be the best, learning from the current best, and the both of them learning from each other. Get me there, get people rescued, but trim 20 minutes from this film of unnecessary plot development and it would have been an extra star, or maybe even more if Melissa Sagemiller would have gotten almost naked, even with a body double which seems to be her M.O.

In the end "The Guardian" tries too hard to bring out the sappy, tries too hard to make sea rescues exciting, and forgets to just concise things to a movie that I didnít have to piss like a racehorse by the time Jake admits heís in love with Emily. Itís 2 Ĺ stars out of 5. Catch a matinee, but get the medium soda and not the large or youíll miss the tear-jerking ending.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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