First off, I'll see anything starring Michael Douglas. That's just a given. It's also the main reason many of the other stars agreed to sign on to this one. Douglas is a Hollywood hero and every movie he makes is good. Isn't it weird how much he looks like his father these days? Anyway, here's another such case. Although not his greatest film, it's fun and intense and it's most certainly worth a look if you're in the mood for a Hollywood action thriller.
A couple of problems. One, it's "The Fugitive." There's no other way to describe it. If you've seen Harrison Ford in that film, you'll see a near remake in "The Sentinel." Still, "The Fugitive" might be Ford's best non-Lucas involved movie and so any film that is even half as good as that one was, is going to be a good time. So the comparison is accurate and actually not totally a bad thing. Two, I knew who the bad guy was instantly. Maybe it was a lucky guess, maybe it was my natural movie-goer instinct, or maybe it was just SO FRICKIN OBVIOUS! Whatever it was, I was hoping I was wrong the whole time; but alas, I was not fooled. I doubt you will be either. Three, as in most films of this type, there are a few small holes and very fortuitous happenstances. But like I said, most films are this way and one must be able to suspend their disbelief. So to harp on this point would be nit-picking.
Douglas plays secret service agent Pete Garrison, who is on the run because he has been accused of plotting to assassinate the president. He's been in the business for 25+ years and has loads of experience, talent and expertise. He is also the agent directly responsible for saving Reagan's life back in the 80s; so he is nearly a legend among his peers. Of course he's the innocent victim of a frame-up, but long time colleague and one time best buddy, Agent Breckinridge (Sutherland) is not taking any chances and is the lead investigator charged with hunting down Garrison and capturing or killing him. Along with new rookie, recruit Jill Marin (Longoria), Breckinridge begins the chase. And so begins the basic storyline of the aforementioned "The Fugitive." With basically the entire secret service hunting him, Garrison uses his experience and knowledge to stay one step ahead of them at every turn.
There is also a deeper, less consequential, side story regarding the two main characters' past personal experiences. And (this is NOT a spoiler) even the first lady is importantly involved in the story. Nothing is complicated about the story and there's not a whole lot to think about. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the rest of the movie is fun and the story is told well by the director and actors.
Douglas is Douglas. He's the man, as always. Sutherland plays basically the same character he plays on the hit TV series "24," Jack Bauer, so he fits into the role like a glove. Everyone else is just there and work well with one another to make the story happen. No academy awards here, just some big stars having a good time making an exciting action/thriller.
No one's going to claim that this is the greatest film ever and there will be no mention of "The Sentinel" at the Oscars next year. So what? It was fun, intense, well thought out and starred big names. It's what a big Hollywood film is supposed to be. It's a rare occasion, but I actually think this movie could've been about 30 minutes longer. It needed a little more depth towards the end, as the resolution seemed to happen a bit too quickly for my tastes. But I still really enjoyed it and would consider seeing it again on DVD one day if someone wanted to rent it.
IMDb.com - full cast and crew