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Sexiest First Lady Sexiest First Lady
by Asa Butcher
2006-09-16 09:42:43
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Information
Film
The Sentinel
Clark Johnson
20th Century Fox, 2006

A free ticket and an intriguing trailer resulted in The Sentinel becoming the fourth film I chose to watch at the cinema this year. It was not a disappointing decision, especially considering how high my hopes were: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, an In the Line of Fire type plot and an enticing tagline: In 141 years, there's never been a traitor in the Secret Service…Until Now.

Sounds good, huh! Well, it even moved up a notch when Kim Basinger's name appeared in the opening credits, so expectations were dangerously high for a movie I knew very little about. The film was based upon a novel by an author whom I have never encountered, but, from the film, it seems as though Gerald Petievich has a touch of Robert Ludlum about him.

Special Agent Pete Garrison (Douglas) discovers that somebody has managed to infiltrate the White House Secret Service and plans to assassinate the President from within. Following the murder of a White House Agent, David Breckinridge (Sutherland), Garrison's protégé and ex-friend, begins an investigation. Garrison is framed and blackmailed over his affair with the First Lady Sarah Ballentine (Basinger), but manages to escape and begins to prove his innocence and stop the assassination of the President.

The plots in these types of political betrayal stories can go one of two ways: complicated or more mixed up than Christmas lights in the loft. Thankfully, a modicum of concentration allowed me to follow the film to a natural conclusion and allowed me to guess the traitor within fifteen minutes. Yes, the film really is that straightforward, but it didn't reduce any of my viewing pleasure and that was because of one man: Kiefer Sutherland.

Sutherland's character Jack Bauer, err, I mean David Breckinridge, couldn't shake off the character for which Sutherland has become associated: 24's Jack Bauer. I expected Sutherland to shout, "Who are you working for?" every time he appeared on screen and waited to hear the CTU ringtone in his office, but I was disappointed on both counts. Kiefer is made for these security service roles and he certainly outshone Mr Douglas this time round.

My problem with Douglas in this film began two weeks ago when I watched The American President again. A fortnight ago he was president, three days ago he was an international smuggler/CIA agent in The In-Laws and now he is suddenly demoted to mere bodyguard, this was too baffling. However, Douglas wasn't the only one to suffer from past role association, actually this next one was even worse.

The president was played by David Rasche, who played Sledge Hammer, the dumb violent police detective, in the TV series of the same name twenty years ago. Each time he appeared on screen my brain was trying desperately to place him because something about him told me he should be the last person to portray the American president; ok, Dame Edna Everage should be the last person, but…

The Sentinel has some cool technology/cyber effects and the film was more of a 'Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service', but it was a good way to spend a couple hours. My suggestion is to ignore the plot holes, concentrate on the ever beautiful Kim Basinger, who is one of the sexiest First Ladies to appear on film, and don't get hung up trying to remember exactly what 'sentinel' means - one that keeps guard, by the way.


   
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