The Guardian

Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher

I could never have come up with a Coast Guard movie. After all, the running joke in the Navy is “Why does a Coasty have to be over six-foot tall?” Answer, “So they can wade back to shore when the ship sinks.” Although the Coast Guard does do more green-water exploring than they used to, I never really thought about what the Coast Guard does.

They rescue.

And “The Guardian” captures that aspect of their job with a passion. It revolves around the job of the “swimmer,” the man, or woman, who has to dive into frigid waters from a helicopter to rescue people who wind up in positions they should have not gotten into in the first place. Or, in the case of cargo ships, and the like, into blazing infernos to get the crew out. All of that in ten to fifteen foot swells.

The story is about an aging Senior Chief swimmer (Kevin Costner) who is injured and ordered to take time out to return to the training center to train new swimmers. His recent experiences make him a tough teacher. Especially when he runs into an ex-high school swimming champ played by Ashton Kutcher. I don’t think that I would have cast Kutcher in the role, but the courage of the producers paid off. I could watch the whole movie without referring to him as that guy from That 70’s Show. Both of these men go head-to-head during training and wind up friends after helping each other exercise their demons. And they had one of my favorite, underrated actors, Clancy Brown who I first took notice of in Starship Troopers and The Shawshank Redemption.

The movie was longer than it needed to be, but it did capture the life and training of a swimmer brilliantly, if a tad over-dramatized. I had some problems with seeing Navy sailors in a bar in uniforms, but that, I suppose, was for the effect. And those scenes were a bit over-acted.

This is definitely a watchable film. Director Andrew Davis did a great job and the dialogue was even believable. Being a veteran, I know what to look for in that department. If I were forced to, and since you are twisting my arm, I’d give this a rating of four stars out of five. The photography was great, but I take off a little for the length and some of the over-dramatization.

If you will excuse me, now, I have a movie to watch before I have to return it.

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