29 September 2006 | TheMovieMark
Interesting look at an under-appreciated group of heroes
I was looking forward to The Guardian, but when I walked into the theater I wasn't really in the mood for it at that particular time. It's kind of like the Olive Garden - I like it, but I have to be in the right mindset to thoroughly enjoy it.
I'm not exactly sure what was dampening my spirit. The trailers looked good, but the water theme was giving me bad flashbacks to the last Kevin Costner movie that dealt with the subject - Waterworld. Plus, despite the promise Ashton Kutcher showed in The Butterfly Effect, I'm still not completely sold on him. Something about the guy just annoys me. Probably has to do with his simian features.
It took approximately two minutes for my fears to subside and for my hesitancies to slip away. The movie immediately throws us into the midst of a tense rescue mission, and I was gripped tighter than Kenny Rogers' orange face lift. My concerns briefly bristled at Kutcher's initial appearance due to the fact that too much effort was made to paint him as ridiculously cool and rebellious. Sunglasses, a tough guy toothpick in his mouth, and sportin' a smirk that'd make George Clooney proud? Yeah, we get it. I was totally ready to hate him.
But then he had to go and deliver a fairly strong performance and force me to soften my jabs.
Darn you, ape man! Efficiently mixing tense, exciting rescue scenes, drama, humor, and solid acting, The Guardian is easily a film that I dare say the majority of audiences will enjoy. You can quibble about its clichés, predictability, and rare moments of overcooked sappiness, but none of that takes away from the entertainment value.
I had a bad feeling that the pace would slow too much when Costner started training the young guys, but on the contrary, the training sessions just might be the most interesting aspect of the film. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are heroes whose stories have never really been portrayed on the big screen, so I feel the inside look at what they go through and how tough it is to make it is very informative and a great way to introduce audiences to this under-appreciated group.
Do you have what it takes to be a rescue swimmer? Just think about it -you get to go on dangerous missions in cold, dark, rough water, and then you must fight disorientation, exhaustion, hypothermia, and a lack of oxygen all while trying to help stranded, panicked people who are depending on you for their survival. And if all that isn't bad enough, sometimes you can't save everybody so you have to make the tough decision of who lives and who dies.
Man, who wants all that responsibility? Not me! I had no idea what it was really like for these guys, and who would have thought I'd have an Ashton Kutcher/Kevin Costner movie to thank for the education?
Not only does The Guardian do a great job of paying tribute to this rare breed of hero, but lucky for us it also does a good job of entertaining its paying customers.
Moviegoers wanting an inside look at what it's like to embark on a daring rescue mission in the middle of the ocean might want to give The Guardian a chance. I saw it for free, but had I paid I would've felt I had gotten my money's worth.