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.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , Charlie Lyons, Zanne Devine


Comments

Kevin_Costner_Rocks's picture

Kevin_Costner_Rocks

I completely disagree with all those who said this movie stunk! I saw it for my fourteenth birthday and it was GREAT! The best...touching...so real....sad...funny...shocking....I can't believe somebody would say something so mean and untrue about this movie! kevin Costner is the greatest man alive...and this movie IS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER!

7 years 10 months ago
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BobtheCritic's picture

BobtheCritic

Grandma's love Costner, but I don't think it has anything to do with his acting. Save your money and miss this turkey. Hollywood has run out of original films and The Guardian is a carbon copy of half a dozen of them. Costner does better, but he still's wooden and lacks emotion. Kutcher is watchable. The hype of this film was over blown for the final results. Good DVD rental but not worth trekking to the theater to see.

7 years 10 months ago
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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.

7 years 9 months ago
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KevinCostnersHot's picture

KevinCostnersHot

Ok, I completely disagree with the dude who wrote this review. I'm sick of goin online and seeing such bad reviews for this awesome movie. I just bought it on DVD and It's like, one of my favorite movies. & I didn't even know that Kevin Costner was ganna die on the end. So really, it's not that predictable. The ending was real sad, I cried. And it sucked to see my hubby [Kevin Costner] give up his life. But I think both Kevin & Ashton did wonderful in this movie. Screw all the haterz=]

7 years 3 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 1 month 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

7 years 10 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!

7 years 10 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 3 months ago
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Sarah788's picture

Sarah788

This film was not worth paying full price for a ticket. Better to wait and rent it on DVD. The film was very slow and the ending was predictable. Costner after 25 years of acting, still can't act his way out of a cardboard box. Costner fans will love this movie, but it's only because they are Costner fans. The rest of us are merely disappointed.

7 years 10 months ago
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icesk8rbebe's picture

icesk8rbebe

I absoulutly loved this movie. It had a great ending. I honestly didnt see that coming i thought that ashton would hold kostner all the way to the base or whatever cuz in the middle of the movie when the lady said this is one record you will never break i figure that he would hold him. i cried so hard in the end but i love the movie its my all time favorite i want to become a rescue swimmer now. lol.

7 years 6 months ago
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The Guardian Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2006

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