Bullet Points: The Guardian (2006)
With hundreds of movies being released by Hollywood each year, I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised that a movie could fly under my radar. And I am not talking about some small independent film, but a movie released by a major studio, with an advertising budget and two well known actors in the lead roles.
That was the case with the 2006 film The Guardian, a movie I honestly did not know existed until 2016…
- The Premise: Kevin Costner plays Ben Randall, a rescue diver with the United States Coast Guard. Ben is the best of the best and a true legend. Some tell stories of Ben saving 300 or more lives over the course of his career. Unfortunately for his home life, his career always came first. Ben’s wife Helen (Sela Ward) has decided to leave Ben after he has neglected her and turned down numerous opportunities to slow down, lead a normal life and take a desk job with the USCG so he can still go out and risk his life to save others. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ben goes on a mission that goes very wrong. I’m talking exploding helicopter wrong. Ben loses his best friend and the rest of his crew in the tragedy. Ben’s commanding officer Captain William Hadley, knowing Ben needs time to get over the tragedy and recharge his batteries, informs Ben there is an opening at the United States Coast Guard’s A School, the training ground and boot camp for future members of the USCG. A reluctant Randall follows orders and becomes the new chief instructor of the A School.
- The Hot Shot: Ashton Kutcher plays Jake Fischer, a high school swimming champion, who like Ben Randall has darkness in his past. Fischer turned down scholarships to Ivy League schools, so he could enroll in The A School because of a personal tragedy. Jake was the only survivor of a a fatal car wreck, that killed the other members of his high school swim team. The fact that he couldn’t save his friends haunts him and Jake now wants to devote his life to saving others. But losing his friends also caused Jake to lose his sense of teamwork, that fact and his overall cocky attitude cause a great deal of friction between himself and chief instructor Ben Randall.
- The Action: I would like to point out that The Guardian is not a straight up action flick. There are high levels of romance and drama content. But with that said, when we do get some action it is intense and adrenaline pumping as life and death situations unfold before our eyes. The Guardian does a great job at presenting the dangers and the risks that the real life heroes of the United States Coast Guard must endure in order to do their job.
After watching The Guardian, I can understand how it slipped past my radar for nearly a decade. Don’t get me wrong, the film was well done and put the spotlight on a branch of the military that doesn’t always get a lot of attention. The casting was excellent and everyone played their part to the best of their ability. It was a classic story of redemption. And who doesn’t like a good redemption story? But is it the type of movie people are going to be talking about after they watch it? Probably not, unless they contribute to web sites like this one or are huge fans of Kevin Costner or Ashton Kutcher.
So if you were like me and overlooked The Guardian for the past 10 years, it is worth watching. And these bonus Bullet Points are worth reading…
- Familiar Faces: The Guardian features quite a few faces that would be familiar to action fans. There’s Neal McDonough who plays Jack Skinner, the former chief instructor for the United States Coast Guard. His demotion to make room for Ben Randall causes some tension between the two… Clancy Brown plays Randall’s commanding officer, Captain William Hadley. You may remember Brown from his roles in Starship Troopers, Highlander or more recently the Daredevil series on Netflix… Finally character actor Ron Dean plays a Navy Captain. Dean has had roles in Code of Silence with Chuck Norris and in The Dark Knight.
- Montage à trois: The Guardian features no less than three montages. There are two training montages and a record breaking montage where all of Ben Randall’s records are smashed by Jake Fischer. Speaking of breaking records, The Guardian also set the record for most montages in a movie about the USCG.
- If you ever: …wanted to see Ashton Kutcher get a beer dumped on his head, then this is the movie for you.
- Fugitive Reunion: The Guardian was directed by Andrew Davis who also directed 1993’s The Fugitive. The aforementioned Sela Ward and Ron Dean starred in The Fugitive.
- One Line Summary: The United States Coast Guard version of Top Gun.