Clint Eastwood may be a little too old (plus he kind of already did his own version of this movie in 1993's In the Line of Fire
), but Harrison Ford could have been The Sentinel
's lead and lent the same kind of top-flight Hollywood superstar craft that Michael Douglas brings as a superstar secret service agent fighting a frame-up in a panicky countdown to peril. That the marquee name could have belonged to anyone with the same chops as Douglas is no slam to him, Ford, Eastwood, or anyone else of their ilk. The Sentinel
is a crackling good thriller because everyone involved is working at the top of their game. Pete Garrison (Douglas) is on the presidential protection detail when another agent is murdered. A creepy informer tells Garrison about an elaborate assassination conspiracy that's related and well underway. Garrison also happens to be having an affair with the First Lady (Kim Basinger), the stress of which causes him to flunk a lie detector test when word of the plot to kill the president becomes more than just paranoia.
Garrison is soon on the run, being hunted by his protege David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland, whose 24 experience gives his performance an extra edge). But Garrison is the best, using all his secret service wiles (and there are plenty, the details of which give added tension and authenticity to the taut script) to evade his former comrades as the clock ticks. You can often see the plot thickening a mile away, and as much as the movie wants to keep us guessing, the real bad guy is an easy mark for the audience. But the energy and kinetic skill which propel the action are always spot on and enough to keep us from caring about the giveaways. Co-star Eva Longoria is miles away from her Desperate Housewives role and miles away from any real import of character in the movie. But the rest of the cast and the whooshing forward momentum of style and anxiety are plenty to keep The Sentinel in full-tilt suspense mode from beginning to end. --Ted Fry
Thriller starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland. A respected secret service agent, Pete Garrison (Douglas), is framed and blackmailed over an affair with the First Lady, Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger). When a plot to assassinate President John Ballentine (David Rasche) is suspected, Garrison finds himself the primary suspect. When accused of treason, Garrison leads the investigating agents on a wild chase and the truth becomes more and more twisted.