The Sentinel (2006)

(In theaters, April 2006) It had been a long time since the last thriller set in the White House, and The Sentinel is a good return to the sub-genre with a welcome emphasis on Secret Service characters. While the film can never completely shake off the shadow of In The Line Of Fire, it’s not a bad take on the same elements. What is a bit more distracting is the presence of two TV mega-stars in important role. “Desperate Housewives” Eva Longoria is Teh Cuteness, but her casting here seems more like a stunt given how that role could have been played by just about any actress in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Keifer Sutherland reprises a role very, very similar to the one he plays on “24”, constantly welcoming comparison to the TV show’s intensity. Alas, it’s a comparison that often works to The Sentinel‘s disadvantage: loosely adapted from a novel by Gerald Petievich, the film moves well but doesn’t have the same breakneck pacing nor surprising plot twists. Which isn’t to say that the script holds together: There are a number of troubling implausibilities through the entire film. Almost entirely bereft of humour, The Sentinel will still amuse Canadians given how the last act is spent shooting and running near the Toronto City Hall. Director Clark Johnson does an unspectacular job: whatever stylistic flourishes there are in the movie disappear once the film’s second act is well under way. While this certainly won’t go down in history as anything more than an adequate thriller, The Sentinel delivers what’s expected from a genre B-movie: It’s the cinema equivalent to a decent beach-side page-turner.

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