The secret about this Secret Service thriller is out: The Sentinel is not so thrilling. Still, Michael Douglas shouldn't be feeling too badly about it. At least he was smart enough to stay far, far away from Basic Instinct 2.
In The Sentinel, Douglas plays veteran Secret Service agent Pete Garrison. Fellow agent David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) suspects that Garrison is having an illicit affair with his (Breckinridge's) ex-wife, and while Breckinridge is right about the affair, he's wrong about whom it involves. Instead, Garrison's trysts--and here's the twist--are with the First Lady (Kim Basinger).
Are you filled with the American spirit yet? Wait, there's more. Things get complicated when Garrison is assigned to investigate a plot to assassinate the President (David Rasche), and make room for a sexy new agent on the force (Eva Longoria of TV's Desperate Housewives).
Director Clark Johnson, who also directed the underwhelming S.W.A.T., and writer George Nolfi, who scripted Oceans 12, have apparently fallen short of the standard set by other secret-agent thrillers like Wolfgang Petersen's In the Line of Fire and Andrew Davis' The Fugitive. In fact, even Kiefer Sutherland's hit television series 24 earns higher marks than this.
Russ Breimeier (Christianity Today Movies) compares it to In the Line of Fire and The Fugitive: "Smoosh the two together and you have this cookie cutter conspiracy thriller. While there's nothing wrong with revisiting familiar material, The Sentinel struggles with execution." He describes the storytelling as "soapy," and adds, "As much as people may want to see Douglas and Sutherland interact and outwit each other, the film confuses acting together with yelling at each other. … The Sentinel ...1
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