The Guardian

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Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 29th September 2006

Box Office USA: $55.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $55M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures, Beacon Pictures, Contrafilm, Firm Films, Eyetronics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Fresh: 54 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Charlie Lyons, Zanne Devine

Starring: Kevin Costner as Ben Randall, Ashton Kutcher as Jake Fischer, Sela Ward as Helen Randall, Melissa Sagemiller as Emily Thomas, Omari Hardwick as Carl Billings, Clancy Brown as Captain William Hadley, Neal McDonough as Skinner, Derek Adams as Lapp, Bryce Cass as Manny, Benny Ciaramello as Perada, Shelby Fenner as Cate Lindsey, Peter Gail as Danny Doran, Damon Lipari as Bennett, Scott Mueller as Reeves, Travis Willingham as Finley

The Guardian Movie Review


Much like Top Gun and, to a lesser extent, An Officer and a Gentleman, Andrew Davis' boys-in-basic-training melodrama The Guardian primarily functions as a recruitment tool for its chosen military branch. The Coast Guard would do well to have volunteers posted outside theaters this weekend. Put down the popcorn, pass around the sign-up sheet, and point the way to the pool - we're ready to enlist.

These movies have an established pattern, and Guardian follows it to the letter. To borrow a phrase from Ron L. Brinkerhoff's soggy screenplay, Guardian swims with the current as it tics off predictable accomplishments en route to a by-the-book conclusion. At times, it's laudable. At times, it's laughable. But nothing prepared me for the sheer atrocity that occurs in the film's final frames.

Before we get to that, let's discuss the plot. The Coast Guard's rescue swimmers are an elite bunch, and Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) is the best of the best. His years of heroism have come with a price. The demands of the job cost Randall his wife (Sela Ward), his rescue partner, and his health. After a harrowing rescue goes awry, Randall is ordered to take a teaching position at the Guard's training facility, where he's tasked to mold the next generation of fearless swimmers.

Randall's class mainly consists of screenwriting clichés. There's a muscle-bound show-off who gets booted because he can't stay afloat. There's a glutton for punishment who has flunked the program twice already but keeps coming back for more water torture. Not surprisingly, I can't recall the characters' names. Randall's star pupil is Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher), a varsity swim stud who turned down offers from multiple Ivy League schools so he could enroll in the Coast Guard. We learn why Fischer made this decision late in the film, and it requires Kutcher to break down and cry - not a skill the actor has mastered. Davis and Kutcher are better off leaving the waterworks for the pool.

And the pool is where Guardian spends most of its lengthy 136-minute run time. Davis balances exciting rescue missions with seemingly impossible training sessions. Randall butts heads with rival instructor Skinner (Neal McDonough) over his harsh tactics, though the grizzled chief simply wants his recruits prepared for accurate, real-life rescue situations. In between dives, Fischer backstrokes through the Gentleman training manual, romancing a local townie (Melissa Sagemiller) as he rebels against the school's authority figures.

It's all acceptable, though largely predictable. This ship's destination is never in question, until the end. Discussing endings in a review is inappropriate. Without giving anything away, I'll say that the final 15 minutes of The Guardian are the worst I've seen on film this year. The coda sinks to unseen and inexcusable depths of cheese. If you choose to see Guardian and want to be rescued from the experience, leave at the two-hour mark.

The DVD includes an alternate ending, deleted scenes, two making-of featurettes, and commentary from Davis and Brinkerhoff.

That's not the only way he's filling the pool.


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Comments

Reenie's picture

Reenie

I did,nt appreciate the 'grandmother' comment in this forum. I think I'm old enough,and objective enough,to rate films ; far more so,than many movie critics. Just because I happen to like Kevin,does,nt mean I liked all his movies. He does a better job in a film,when he does'nt overact ;i.e: Upside of Anger,Message in a Bottle,For Love of The Game,to name a few. If more people were as thoughtful,intelligent,warm hearted like Kevin,this would be a better world.

8 years 2 months ago
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Littlestar's picture

Littlestar

What idiot spells out the ending to a movie!! I was looking at reviews to decide on whether I should rent this, and now there is no point cos you have given the ending away. Get a brain!

7 years 6 months ago
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Verla's picture

Verla

I totally disagree with who ever wrote the article, I lived close to where the Coast Guard trains in Astoria Oregon, and beleive me that is no picnic. Those men and women are a tought breed of people and and yes they cry and laugh as do all of us. I think Kevin and Aston done a wonder job telling a good story.To the critic,, your way off line. I'd like to see you go try some swimming,maybe in a septic tank.Verla

8 years 2 months ago
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Reenie's picture

Reenie

Although a love-sick fan of Kevin Costner [a grandmother to boot!!],I am a film's worst nightmare. I am completely objective,and I know a 'stinker' when I see one. This movie was anything but. I will also say,it was one of his best acting roles. He's had a few bombs in his 25 year career,but for the past few years,I think he finally acts in films that let him be the kind of man he is in real life. Cinematography in a film is key,and The Guardian makes you feel you're seeing events as they're actually happening. No fake snow,visable breath when it's cold,and violent ocean storms that were far more real than The Perfect Storm. I admit the ending was predictable,but then again,my heart still broke in the final scenes. Give the guy his due already!

8 years 2 months ago
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Movie commenter's picture

Movie commenter

this movie was awsome!! so that guy that wrote the report should lern to say some more positive things...the ending i thought was good because is was unexpected and it was a good ending because it like related to the storie cause fish boy said"""i wont let go"" which is wwhat randall saidto the other guy that he took back when the winch jammed!!!soo that reporter guy should shut up and and be a bit moe positve cause that movie was AWSOME..it made me laugh, fell sorry fo the people, and cry!!

7 years 8 months ago
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DebKev's picture

DebKev

I also disagree with this review, and the reviewer. My husband is not a great Costner fan, although he loved Field of Dreams, 13 Days (way underappreciated), JFK, The Untouchables, Fandango, Dances With Wolves, Upside of Anger...geeze, this guy has made some GREAT movies)and he was as captivated by The Guardian as I was. It is some of Costner's best work, and Kutcher was very believable as the water "brat" who makes good. And, I am NOT an Ashton Kutcher fan!We did think the ending went on too long, and should have stopped at the first "turn." But, having said that, it was heartstopping, and the audience we saw it with, at a Sneak Preview, all loved the film, as noted by the clapping at appropriate spots and the end, and the laughs, when appropriate. We did hear an old lady eschew the film, as she was leaving with her pal, but her friend liked it a lot, and so did we. This critic, like many, seems to have it in for Kevin Costner, after his failed marriage and Water World. YOu can just name the "date" that Hollywood gave up on him, and have never let him forget it! But, he has made many good films since then, and one of my famorite was For Love of the GAme, which passed with little notice, but remains one of my favorites and that of my 23 year old daughter too. It had everything in it! The only thing I would have changed is Kelly Preston as the"girl". It needed a more mature actress for the part, but, even she has grown on me in the role. I have watched it many times, and the baseball scenes are great, John C. Reilly is wonderful, his coach, the story line...Give it up critics! The Costner fans are still out there, and we LOVE him and his work. The Guardian is an exciting film, with worthy performances. Get over it...and go see it folks! You won't be disappointed and the critics will just have to find another actor to savage the way they do Kevin...

8 years 2 months ago
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Pool Guy's picture

Pool Guy

Does anybody know what kind of green Arctic Parka he is always wearing in the Guardian ?Pool Guy

7 years 2 months ago
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The Guardian Rating

" Grim "

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