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The Sentinel
DVD disk
Aug 15, 2006 By: Scott Weinberg
The Sentinel order
Director:
Clark Johnson

Actors:
Michael Douglas
Kiefer Sutherland
Eva Longoria

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Michael Douglas plays a veteran Secret Service agent who's shtupping the first lady. Kiefer Sutherland is the Secret Service investigator who's called in when another agent ends up dead. From there it's a fairly tedious cat-mouse chase thriller in which the old agent is suspected of plotting against the President while the young agent gives chase.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
(Quoting from my original theatrical review here, because after a second visit with THE SENTINEL, not one measly iota of my opinion has changed.)

Only slightly more engaging that last month's 'old dude in distress' thriller FIREWALL, Clark Johnson's THE SENTINEL is eleven kinds of familiar. It's THE FUGITIVE, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, and a particularly dry episode of 24 all rolled into one, with a handful of strong performances, a few enticing action sequences ... and a whole lot of plot-heavy rigamarole.

Hoping to coast by on little besides pure movie star power, director Johnson (who previously gave us the alarmingly inert S.W.A.T.) and screenwriter George Nolfi (he wrote TIMELINE) ramble through their lock-step plot conventions, offering very little in the way of freshness or energy. Aside from the presence of Michael Douglas, THE SENTINEL feels a lot like a CBS Tuesday Night Movie. The main characters are one-note nothings; the villains are mysterious ciphers.

Were it not for the clever casting of Douglas and Sutherland, this thing would be an endlessly tedious piece of junk -- but that just goes to show you what a few good actors can do with a lame-o screenplay. But imagine what these guys could have done with something a little less dry, obvious, and formulaic.

THE EXTRAS
Director Clark Johnson and screenwriter George Nolfi provide a feature-length audio commentary, for those who dig a side order of explanation served with their generic crime thrillers. The guys actually deliver some interesting tidbits, and their conversation frequently wanders into mildly political territory. Not a bad track.

Next up are four deleted scenes and an alternate ending that come with optional screenwriter commentary.

The Secret Service: Building on a Tradition of Excellence (12:57) is basically a thank you card from Fox to the Secret Service. The love-fest features interviews from Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Eva Longoria, retired agents Gerry Cavis & Kevin Billings, and screenwriter George Nolfi.

In the President's Shadow (7:35) is more of the same.

The two featurettes combined touch briefly upon the film's production, but only inasmuch as the Secret Service is involved.

Rounding out the disc are two trailers for THE SENTINEL and a few more for THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, BEHIND ENEMY LINES 2, ROMANCING THE STONE, JEWEL OF THE NILE, and 24: SEASON 4.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you're a huge fan of Clint Eastwood's IN THE LINE OF FIRE, and you're desperate for another big-budget Secret Service thriller, well, here it is. It's not nearly as good, though.
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