The 10-Year Itch of 'The Sentinel'

The 10-Year Itch of 'The Sentinel'

Matthew Razak

Sitting in the theater watching “The Sentinel,” I swore I’d seen the movie before — but when?

It was in the 1990’s and a slew of cookie-cutter thrillers were being thrown out by movie companies to cash in on the success of great thrillers like “Clear and Present Danger.”

“The Sentinel” is 10 years behind the trend. Its hero is about 10 years past his prime, his love interest is right there with him; the villains are 10 years past being topical; and you can see the twist coming 10 years away.

The only thing up-to-date is Eva Longoria, whose character needs about 10 more years of development.

Oh, and Jack Bau...sorry, Kiefer Sutherland, is in it, too.

Assuming this movie isn’t occurring 10-years ago, then the current president’s secret service has a mole in it and Pete Garrison (Douglas), a long time service agent, is being framed for being the one who is attempting to kill the president. His protégé Jack Bau…sorry, sorry, David Breckinridge, is put on the case and in a wildly random decision teams up with his new recruit Jill Marin (Longoria), whose character is just there to look pretty — which is demonstrated by her running around in high heels and having perfect make up on, a terribly realistic representation of female service agents.

After Garrison and Breckinridge confront each other Garrison takes off on a “Fugitive”-like run to prove he is innocent while Breckinridge picks up the Tommy Lee Jones/follow the evidence/narrow minded chase. It’s all been done before 10 years ago and much better.

Complicating things, and making a lot of the frame-up possible is the fact that Garrison is sleeping with the first lady, Kim Basinger, but thinking back to Douglas’s steamy on-screen relationships 10 years ago, theirs is barely a whimper and no thrill at all.

All this incredibly tense action (feel the sarcasm) culminates in a thrilling (there it is again) chase through a stairwell, in Canada. No offense to Canada, but there are about 500 more places that are more thrilling, exciting and topical for the president to travel to and then be kidnapped in. Maybe 10 years ago when the country wasn’t in the middle of a major war Canada would have been a nice choice that didn’t offend anyone but now it just seems pointless. At least make it in a stairwell in New York, or London or the middle east. Were they even trying?

This type of careless plotting is indicative of the entire film — from acting to action, all if it seems trite, old and used. A trip down memory lane isn’t always a bad thing but maybe doing it with some care would be a good idea.

At least Jack Bau…oops again, Kiefer Sutherland, nails his roll. Then again, he’s only been doing it for the past five years.