Clan 404

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Movie Review: The Sentinel

20 Aug 2007 by ShogZ

I have to type fast whilst I can still remember this film, and I think that sums it up. Not bad, not good, but forgetable.

The plot synopsis is that Michael Douglas is a US Secret Service agent framed for attempting to assasinate his boss, and the intrepid Keifer Sutherland of 24 fame must stop him (Douglas that is).

So Douglas goes on the run, and Keifer chases him around DC and a few other places for a while.

The film is your standard 'smart people doing cool stuff' with it's usual raft of cliches: "He knows your every move", "This is your worst nightmare" etc. There are some neat tricks and a few bits of CSI style forensics, fingerprinting cups etc. It's not exactly different but it's ok.

The plot is obvious from the outset, following Hollywoods recent preoccupation with bad guys in the nest, or top politicians controlled by conglomerates and cartels and other such japery. It's not really an action film although there is plenty of suspense. I had a fairly racey heartbeat throughout, mostly because I ate a family pack of Haribo jelly babies. Essentially Douglas goes through the motions of trying to clear his own name whilt Keifer is slowly convinced of his former mentors innocence, culminating in a father-son style combination effort from within and without of the USSS.

The film itself is not really full of much action, and some of the shots are a pain in the ass. It tries to give a 'surveillance' feel with many outside location shots looking through windows and conversations occasionally panning across the stereo field. I think its an attempt to add an atmopshere and you never know who's really watching etc. It works for te early part of the film and rapidly tapers off to annoying about halfway through. There's also a kind of montage cut scene using presidential death notes and noise that is used a few times at the outset, oddly as it seems, its more something befitting a series than anything else. It also randomly disappears later in the movie.

Whilst the camera work is nothing to write home about and the photography is basically anything that doesnt make Keifer look anything too much like Jack Baur and Douglas not totally ancient, the sound is fairly good. A decent intense score with some eerie moments, ruined only by the closing credits which are some kind of hip hop funk mix that sounds basically crap.

This film is not James Bond, Jason Bourne, it's marginally better than the woeful 'Shooter' starring Mark Wahlburg that I sat through last night but it's not got as much action. Nomally when a movie spares us car chases and gunfights in favor of plot devlopment the fights are more 'raw' and intense when they do appear. This sadly isnt the case with Sentinel as you just wait for shots to be fired.
Keifer kind of encapsulates this whole paradigm with "Some agents go their whole career without drawing their weapons" only to draw his about thirty times in ten minutes. Irony.

The film isnt without obvious glitches and mishaps too. Why doesnt Keifer shoot to wound where Douglas has no body armor if hes intent on a capture without kill but cant shoot him in the chest or head? No, nothing?

Why, if theres a mole in the unit, aren't the entire team rotated out to another detail until they isolate the guy inside?

Why are scanners and fingerprinting machines available in Wallmart when you're on the run? Plus why does every on the run good guy need cans of miscellaneous gas that they never go on to use? (Shooter too).

Regardles the film ambles along pleasently with Jack, sorry Kefier doing a solid enough job, his side kicks boobs are present in great abundance and she also bounces around with some effort. I found myself wandering about three quarters of the way through, basically waiting for the end, not bads, not good, just forgettable.

If you're stuck on guard duty at home and need something that you dont have to remember tommorrow, give it a watch and while away the little hours.