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Sentinel, The

Fox // PG-13 // February 13, 2007
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Matthew Hinkley | posted February 27, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Usually when a movie has a big cast it seems to get slammed by critics all around. Maybe it is because the critics have larger expectations with such a cast...or maybe it is just because they didn't like the movie. It is no different with "The Sentinel." The critics pretty much destroyed it in ratings.

Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) has dedicated over 20 years of his life to the Secret Service. He is a hero, even a legend, to everyone who works with him...mainly because he served under President Regan and took a bullet for him during an assassination attempt. But now he is being accused of treason. Such a scandal has never happened in the over 140 year the Secret Service has been around.

David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) is the lead investigator in the case against Pete Garrison. He brings rookie recruit Jill Marin (Eva Longoria) along to help with the case. Breckinridge had a long friendly history with Garrison, but just recently began to suspect Garrison for having an affair with his wife. Therefore, he is determined to bring Garrison in, no matter what it takes.

Garrison knows that he has been set up, so he avoids arrest and runs to the one person he can trust...the President's wife Sarah (Kim Basinger), who he is having an affair with. Not only is he being framed with conspiracy to take out the president, he is being blackmailed with pictures of he and Sarah being intimate together. Garrison must figure out who is the mole inside the Secret Service, thinking the same person is behind blackmailing him and coordinating the plan to assassinate the president. He has to try to figure out all this while running from Breckinridge and the rest of the Secret Service.

"The Sentinel" feels very much like a two-hour episode of "24." It's got some action, it's got some love, and it has some mandatory, random things that are just put there to test if you are still paying attention or not. I was very impressed with how much research was actually done from the Secret Service standpoint. And for that I applaud "The Sentinel"--for making a picture that is not only entertaining, but also fairly accurate. I enjoyed "The Sentinel" for its entertainment value. It wasn't mind numbing by any means, and has a great cast that play their parts very well. However, I did feel as if I was watching a movie that should have been made almost 20 years ago.

The DVD

Video:

"The Sentinel" has a good picture throughout. There is very little noise to be seen, and the skin tones are nice. I did find the post-processing to be a little extreme. during the length of the entire movie it was very warm., which almost gave it an orange or yellow tent. Sometimes because of this, the video did tend to feel a bit flat at times and just didn't pop like other titles have recently. Overall, after I got past their post-processing choice, I enjoyed the detail and the overall picture quality.

Sound:

We are actually given a very strong track for "The Sentinel." Filled with a lot of dialogue and a good mix of action and gun fire, we are presented with a very even mix. There are several moments in the film that you will notice the surrounds working overtime, and then just being used for background noise as dialogue is going on. Overall a very nice release with a solid soundtrack to back it up and make an entertaining flick.

Extras:

I was pleasantly surprised by how many extras are included with this Blu-Ray release. We are even thrown some HD-only goodness!

The Secret Service: This is a great little feature with Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Eva Longoria, and ex-secret service agents giving their insight on the history of the Secret Service. This is actually done very well, and has some great facts about the missions, the recruits, and training of the Secret Service. They also touch on the Technical Advisors that helped in the making of "The Sentinel" and creating realism. This is definitely worth a watch.

In the Presidents Shadow: This is also a good feature that goes behind-the-scenes of the Secret Service and specifically how they protect the President. Everything from blending in, protecting the President, to the levels of protection. This is not as good as the other feature, but might be worth the watch if you really want more details about the Secret Service.

Trivia Track: This is by far the best part of "The Sentinel" bonus features. It is basically a direct feed from retired Secret Service Agent, Gerry Cavis, and pops up at the bottom of the movie screen while you watch. It really covers everything that we would need to know about the history of the Secret Service, training, clothing and sunglasses, protocols, and even into how the actors were trained to become more like the Secret Service. If you watch this...you really don't even need to watch the rest of the special features because it covers it all, and throws in a bit of witty humor as well. The one negative thing is it is very fast, so if you have never seen "The Sentinel" before, you'd probably have to watch it again to be able to notice all the trivia.

4 Deleted Scenes and 1 Alternate Ending: These are not very good...nothing to learn from these.

Commentary: Director Clark Johnson & Screenwriter George Nolfi sit down with us and talk about the history of the Secret Service, set designs, and cast and crew choices. They also touch briefly on the Secret Service, locations that they shot, and then they explain the movie a lot trying to give us insights. This was one of my least favorite special features.

Finally 2 HD Exclusives: Making of the Mall Scene & Making of the G8 Summit Toronto: These two special features were a nice touch for HD owners. They give you a behind the scenes look at these two scenes and allow you to zoom into the Behind the Scenes or watch both the original and the edited version of the film side-by-side. Just a cool try to make some extras just for HD owners!

Overall a very good set of special features. Unfortunately, not all are worth a look.

Final Thoughts:

"The Sentinel" does not go above and beyond to entertain. It is a great popcorn flick with enough plot development to keep you interested. If you can get past the odd post-processing you will probably be very happy with the video. You will also be treated to some very nice sound, with some great action scenes that will allow you to have some fun with your speakers. "The Sentinel" isn't my favorite movie of all-time, but I did enjoy watching it. With a big cast lineup, a plot that keeps you entertained, and a great set of special features, you can definitely give "The Sentinel" a RENT on a rainy night.

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