The Guardian
137 minutes of swimming seamen, even in a cave.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/29/2006
Director: Andrew Davis
Cast: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward

Yeah, I didn’t pay to see this. That is, unless you count the cable bill. But that’s neither here nor there.

I went into “The Guardian” knowing the basics. It’s a movie about the Coast Guard starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. I knew there would be some teacher / pupil aspect to it, but I wasn’t sure to what extent.

The more in-depth synopsis is that Costner plays a legendary helicopter deployed rescue swimmer based in Kodiak, Alaska. His marriage is ending when a general rescue mission goes terribly awry. The aftermath of this tragic mission is his being assigned to instruct at “A School” (a course to become a Coast Guard rescue swimmer) for a little bit of down time before he can go back out in the field.

Enter Sir-Punks-A-Lot who plays an arrogant cadet seeking to set all sorts of records for swimming times that just happen to belong to Costner. In this whole process he must face and deal with his own personal demons to become a better seamen. Those are all original character devices, eh?

From there you split time further developing either of the two main characters. More cliché things like a scene at a bar with a bet of how fast Kutcher can pick up “the hottest one in the room”. She plays hard to get. He’s just too witty and irresistible not to sleep with. The originality oozes from this film.

There are some bumps in the road for the young cadet. Sure the instructor feels compassionate because of the similarity of their personal tragedies of the past. But there is no way that any cadet in any military training program would not have been kicked out of any training program for lesser infractions. For this reason, it was just about as believable as a “Police Academy” movie without Michael Winslow (you know, the guy that makes all those funny sounds).

There’s a graduation, and Kutcher is deployed to Alaska at the same base as Costner. From there, it’s a sort hop and a skip to the climax and ending.

On its own, the ending wasn’t bad – but the voice over at the very end made it bad. The CG was sometimes OK, and sometimes not so much. It’s the story that annoyed me most of all. I felt like some basic Hollywood writer paced around trying to think of what military niche they could exploit next with the same old plot devices.

The acting wasn’t that bad considering what they had to work with. But even lucky charms with bad milk tastes like shit. Despite the fact that you can narrow it down to the milk, you may still steer away from the rainbows and purple horse shoes for awhile.

For all these reasons, “The Guardian” is only a 2 of 5.