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Wednesday, September 06, 2006 

Mini-review: The Sentinel

The Sentinel is just as gratuitous as its sensationally meaningless title suggests: a botched attempt at sexifying a tired sub-genre, with a tired leading man and sexy supporting cast. The trouble is it's so obviously inconsequential that no-one attempts to mask this and, as such, this type of film (which died a slow death in the '90s) is erroneously out-dated from the get-go. With a story so painfully high-concept (a Secret Service Agent is framed for the future assassination of the President, whilst banging the First Lady to provide convenient leverage for motive-less bad guys), one can expect at the very least a suckling pleasure dripping from the teat of convention -- especially with one alpha male attempting to re-assert his mojo (Michael Douglas) and another (Kiefer Sutherland) confirming it by playing his TV counterpart with less daughter/dead wife issues.

Alas, there is zero conflict and zero energy in The Sentinel; dialogue is so meticulously trimmed to provide ostensible yet 'subtle' plots point to an unwitting audience who are really more interested in Eva Longoria's sweater puppets than conspiracy. Which is a good thing, I suppose, when all potential for this to be a relevant, post-9/11, political doozy is completely and utterly cast aside. Instead, the film is tarred with that cornball Scooby Doo logic and just plain swirly-for-the-hell-of-it direction that when it finally does unloosen its shackles a tad for a sweaty third act, one can't help but notice that everyone involved is capable of much more -not least the un-expressive Douglas- and, frankly, should know better than to sign up for such evident Hollywood hooey with an unsatisfactory penchant for being frugal rather than gluttonous.

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