I'm not so much of a Kevin Costner fan but the level of entertainment that this film had giving me was more than enough. 'The Guardian,' although littered with clichés, is a very moving. The premise is a veteran United States Coast Guard rescue diver named Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) is sent to oversee the training of prospective divers at an elite school known as "A" School. Randall, who is still recovering from losing his crew in a failed rescue mission, makes sure the trainees understand the intensity of the life they are ready to embark upon. His unconventional methods are criticized by fellow coast guard personnel, but his experience is ultimately respected. Randall focuses on one trainee in particular, named Jake Fischer (Kutcher). Fischer's cockiness does not create a great first impression on Randall, but throughout the film their relationship undergoes a great change.
What really impressed me in this film was its representation of the USCG. There are very few films that highlight the actions of these brave men and women, and if nothing else, 'The Guardian' is an awe-inspiring tribute to the most overlooked branch of the United States armed forces. At times watching the swimmers endure in-the-water torture is very uncomfortable but effective. There are plenty of adrenaline-charged scenes, most of which involve either Coast Guard rescue swimmer training or actual missions. This story gripped my heart. It gave me a better understanding of the Coast Guard in a way that I would never experience except by first hand.
I also found the characters just as appealing as the subject matter. Not only does Costner portray reluctant Coast Guard instructor Ben Randall with humor and sincerity, but his "average Joe, aw shucks" demeanor is reminiscent of Crash Davis in Bull Durham. Ashton Kutcher does a fine job as the full-of-himself Jake Fischer, a fast swimmer with a faster mouth, which often gets him into trouble. He was perfect as the 'son' model and didn't upstage or take anything away from the lead role with his performance, The cast is rounded out by veterans John Heard and Kurgan himself Clancy Brown as various Coast Guard personnel.
'The Guardian' is a powerful piece of cinematic history that will forever be remembered for its tribute to the heroism of the men and women of the USCG, as well as the dangers they must endure on a daily basis. Yes, it is very predictable and yes we have seen most of it before, but this film stands on its own in a climate of rehashed cheap entertainment that Hollywood has been rabidly feeding audiences. I can only hope that audiences receive 'The Guardian' as well as I have.