Tuesday, April 25, 2006


(mystery thriller)
Time: 110 mins
Rating: * * *
Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Douglas
THERE is an assassination attempt on the life of the President of the United States and agent Kiefer Sutherland is heading the investigations into a possible mole in the Secret Sevice. Are we watching a big-screen version of the popular TV series 24?

Well, it certainly feels like it, given the sort of plot and action in this mystery thriller. Sutherland is David Breckenridge, a no-nonsense Secret Service agent who bulldozes his way through the investigations very much like the way his Jack Bauer did in the TV series. He has a rookie partner in Jill Marin (Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives) but the main star of the show is Michael Douglas’ Pete Garrison, a veteran agent who had taken a bullet for President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Garrison is a legend among his colleagues but there is a skeleton in his closet: He is secretly having an affair with the First Lady (Kim Basinger as Sarah Ballentine). When Breckenridge gets into the case, old wounds start to fester. Garrison has also had an affair with Breckenridge’s wife and now, with all the evidence pointing to him, Garrison has to go on the run to find the real culprit.

The Sentinel, directed by Clark Johnson based on the novel by Gerald Petievich, aims to keep us guessing on the identity of the mole but the ‘expose’ comes as no surprise, really. Thankfully, there is no religious controversy in the terrorists portrayed here.

As expected, Douglas skillfully guides us through the mystery, displaying the stamina and the smarts Garrison has gathered over two decades of protecting the President. Basinger does not have much to do here but she is still as sultry as ever in a steamy sequence with Douglas.The most watched role has to be Longoria’s who acquits herself well enough as the level-headed partner to the hot-headed Breckenridge.

The best part of the movie is watching how the Garrison-Breckenridge rivalry subplot plays out — culminating in the latter having to draw his gun on his former best friend. The climax, at a summit in Toronto, Canada, is not even close to the nail-biting endings of the 24 series but it certainly won’t leave you with a bitter taste as you leave the cineplex.


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