Looking back, 1993 was a golden age for thriller cinema. That was the year Hollywood hatched both In the Line of Fire and The Fugitive, the two obvious and way superior antecedents for the very humdrum B-movie mash-up The Sentinel. It was also the year of Falling Down, a borderline-nuts drama that Michael Douglas tore through, playing a far less safe, far less boring role. Here, rotely returning to screen (although he does look hale) for the first time since 2003’s The In-Laws, Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a veteran Secret Service agent who uncovers, as Clint Eastwood once did, a plan to kill the president. And like Harrison Ford before him, Garrison’s gotta run for his life while he clears his name. He’s been framed as the mole who’s in cahoots with the bad guys. Who are borschty-accented Russians. The movie smells faintly of 1983 as well. Tracking Douglas in the Tommy Lee Jones role is Kiefer Sutherland, who should have graduated from these chintzy by-the-numbers movies to better material by now, given his award-winning success on 24. (The movie’s one rousing scene has Sutherland and Douglas barking at each other in Douglas’ living room. These are two actors fun to watch at their highest decibels.) Eva Longoria is the first-day-on-the-job rookie Sutherland improbably takes on as his partner. Her presence is the only irrefutable confirmation that this musty movie was indeed shot in the 21st century.

The Sentinel
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes