Monday, February 26, 2007

The Guardian

The Guardian is an interesting movie about the work of the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. These are members of the Coast Guard who jump into the sea to rescue shipwreck sailors. As can be imagined from the nature of their work, it is dangerous and the risk of injury is high. This is especially dangerous in the cold waters of the north. In this movie, the setting is the Bering Sea. The filming is wonderful and the shots of high waves and rough seas reminds me of The Perfect Storm. It make me feel cold just watching the movie. It also makes me want to eat ice-cream. I wonder why.

The movie is about Ben Randall (Kevin Costner), a rescue swimmer who is something of a legend in the Coast Guard because he holds almost all of their records including a record of the number of people rescued. Ben is a determined type of person who is like a bulldog; once they have a grip on you, they never give up.

The story starts with his wife leaving him and he lost his whole team in a freak accident during a rescue. Ben is forced to take up a job training new recruits. Here he meets Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher), a hot shot young swimming champion who wants to join the Rescue Swimmers so that he can beat all of Ben's record. After an unorthodox training stint, Ben went back to his old unit at Kodiak, Alaska. Jake graduated and is transferred to be Ben's partner! Hey, it is a movie. In Jake's first training mission, they are forced to turn it into a real rescue mission. Ben sacrificed himself to save Jake. Duh.

The storyline is predictable. It would have been a powerful movie if we are made to empathise with Ben Randall. With his wife leaving him and his partner killed, Kostner did not pull off in his acting to draw the audience to even sympathise with him. Instead, he is acting as if he has nothing worse than a bad hang-over. Then his treatment of his trainee Jake makes it looks like he had a chip on his shoulder.

Jake is always trying to find out the number of persons Ben has saved so that he can beat the record. The only memorable part of the movie is when Ben replied that he only keep score of the numbers that he did not rescue; those who had died. It is meant to show the character of Ben. Personally I think it is a lousy way to keep score. It's like seeing the glass half full or half empty. Keeping score of those he could not save will make a neurotic out of him.

On the DVD, there is an alternate ending. That's one of the beauty of DVD. The other is that I do not have to go to the cinema to watch the show. I like the alternate ending better.

The Guardian is watchable. It is like The Perfect Storm with helicopters.



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