Review: The Sentinel

Long-time Secret Service Agent Michael Douglas (who took a bullet the day Reagan was shot!) has a secret- he’s bonking the First Lady (Kim Basinger)! So when the supposed murder of a secret service agent (director Clark Johnson himself, in a self-indulgent cameo) brings about the notion of a mole in the Secret Service who is conspiring to assassinate the President (David Rasche), poor Douglas becomes the prime suspect. Why? Because he flunked a lie detector test. When asked if he has ever compromised the presidency, he couldn’t help but think of his diddling the First Lady, and oops, that needle starts having an epileptic fit. Kiefer Sutherland is a former associate of Douglas’ who hates him because he thinks he had an affair with his then wife, and not surprisingly, he’s the lead investigator in the case. Eva Longoria is Sutherland’s new recruit. Martin Donovan plays another secret service agent.

2006 Clark Johnson (the utterly ordinary revamp of “SWAT”) political thriller is yet another transparent whodunit where ala “Twisted”, the culprit is exposed the moment they first appear on screen. I guess that makes it better than “Twisted”, where I guessed the killer before it even started. Otherwise it’s a mixture of “In the Line of Fire”, “The Fugitive”, and Sutherland’s Jack Bauer on TV’s “24”, all much better entertainments. Good-looking and the director does a few nifty stylistic things here and there, but you don’t need to see this. You’ve already seen it, trust me, and it was better in all previous cases.

Scripted by George Nolfi (who went on to direct the excellent thriller “The Adjustment Bureau”) from a novel by Gerald Petievich (“To Live and Die in LA”), the cast deserve more original material than this. In fact, it could’ve been a Direct-to-DVD thriller with Rutger Hauer as the President, Craig Sheffer in the Sutherland role, Carol Alt or Jennifer Beals in for Kim Basinger, and either Judge Reinhold or Thomas Jane in the Douglas role.

Rating: C


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