The Guardian (2006)

Action, Adventure, Drama
Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward, Melissa Sagemiller
A high school swim champion with a troubled past enrolls in the U.S. Coast Guard's 'A' School, where legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall teaches him some hard lessons about loss, love, and self-sacrifice.
The Coast Guard gets its chance for a heroic movie tribute, but The Guardian does it no justice, borrowing cliche after cliche from other (and better) military branch movies.
  • Buena Vista Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 29 Sep 2006 Released:
  • 23 Jan 2007 DVD Release:
  • $55.0M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Interesting look at an under-appreciated group of heroes8/10
I was looking forward to The Guardian, but when I walked into the theater I wasn't really in the mood for it at that particular time. It's kind of like the Olive Garden - I like it, but I have to be in the right mindset to thoroughly enjoy it.

I'm not exactly sure what was dampening my spirit. The trailers looked good, but the water theme was giving me bad flashbacks to the last Kevin Costner movie that dealt with the subject - Waterworld. Plus, despite the promise Ashton Kutcher showed in The Butterfly Effect, I'm still not completely sold on him. Something about the guy just annoys me. Probably has to do with his simian features.

It took approximately two minutes for my fears to subside and for my hesitancies to slip away. The movie immediately throws us into the midst of a tense rescue mission, and I was gripped tighter than Kenny Rogers' orange face lift. My concerns briefly bristled at Kutcher's initial appearance due to the fact that too much effort was made to paint him as ridiculously cool and rebellious. Sunglasses, a tough guy toothpick in his mouth, and sportin' a smirk that'd make George Clooney proud? Yeah, we get it. I was totally ready to hate him.

But then he had to go and deliver a fairly strong performance and force me to soften my jabs.

Darn you, ape man! Efficiently mixing tense, exciting rescue scenes, drama, humor, and solid acting, The Guardian is easily a film that I dare say the majority of audiences will enjoy. You can quibble about its cliches, predictability, and rare moments of overcooked sappiness, but none of that takes away from the entertainment value.

I had a bad feeling that the pace would slow too much when Costner started training the young guys, but on the contrary, the training sessions just might be the most interesting aspect of the film. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are heroes whose stories have never really been portrayed on the big screen, so I feel the inside look at what they go through and how tough it is to make it is very informative and a great way to introduce audiences to this under-appreciated group.

Do you have what it takes to be a rescue swimmer? Just think about it -you get to go on dangerous missions in cold, dark, rough water, and then you must fight disorientation, exhaustion, hypothermia, and a lack of oxygen all while trying to help stranded, panicked people who are depending on you for their survival. And if all that isn't bad enough, sometimes you can't save everybody so you have to make the tough decision of who lives and who dies.

Man, who wants all that responsibility? Not me! I had no idea what it was really like for these guys, and who would have thought I'd have an Ashton Kutcher/Kevin Costner movie to thank for the education?

Not only does The Guardian do a great job of paying tribute to this rare breed of hero, but lucky for us it also does a good job of entertaining its paying customers.

THE GIST

Moviegoers wanting an inside look at what it's like to embark on a daring rescue mission in the middle of the ocean might want to give The Guardian a chance. I saw it for free, but had I paid I would've felt I had gotten my money's worth.
Worthy of audience applause8/10
I attended an advance screening of this film not sure of what to expect from Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher; both have delivered less than memorable performances & films. While the underlying "general" storyline is somewhat familiar, this film was excellent. Both Costner and Kutcher delivered powerful performances playing extremely well off each other. The human frailties and strengths of their respective characters were incredibly played by both; the scene when Costner confronts Kutcher with the personal reasons why Kutcher joined the Coast Guard rescue elite was the film's most unforgettable emotional moment. The "specific" storyline was an education in itself depicting the personal sacrifice and demanding physical training the elite Coast Guard rescuers must go through in preparation of their only job & responsibility...to save lives at sea. The special effects of the rescue scenes were extremely realistic and "wowing"...I haven't seen such angry seas since "The Perfect Storm". Co-star Clancy Brown (HBO's "Carnivale" - great to see him again) played the captain of the Coast Guard's Kodiak, Alaska base in a strong, convincing role as a leader with the prerequisite and necessary ice water in his veins. The film wonderfully, and finally, gives long overdue exposure and respect to the Coast Guard; it had the audience applauding at the end.
Decent flick10/10
As others that have commented around the web... I'm a 130 pilot in the Coast Guard. Having said that, and being the skeptic I am, I went expecting the over-the-top cheese factors. There was some cheese, but all in all, not much.. and the film was pretty accurate.

I watched the trailer again today. After seeing the film yesterday, I've realized the trailer gives the impression the movie is nothing but rescue after rescue action scenes. This isn't the case.

The movie is truly more character/story driven than action. The inner struggles both Costner and Kutcher are dealing with.. Kutcher's is revealed further into than movie than Costner's is.

Of course, there is a minor love story.. no surprise there. But for the most part, the movie tells the tale of two lives that come together, and after some time, help each other heal old wounds.

As girlie as it sounds, Costner and, as much as I try not to like him, Kutcher do actually work quite well together and compliment each other very well in the movie.

As critics have stated, you've seen it all before.. Top Gun, Officer and a Gentlemen, etc. But what movie hasn't been remade a million times.

I can recall only one F word being spoken.. and can't really recall any other language.

The movie is 2+ hours, and for some, may tend to get a little long towards the end.

You'll laugh, you may cry, but I can honestly say, it was worth the $4 I paid.

I hope you enjoy the movie.
Much More Than I Expected9/10
I work at a movie theater and every Thursday night we have an employee screening of one movie that comes out the next day...Today it was The Guardian. I saw the trailers and the ads and never expected much from it, and in no way really did i anticipate seeing this movie. Well turns out this movie was a lot more than I would have thought. It was a great story first of all. Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner did amazing acting work in this film. Being a big fan of That 70's Show I always found it hard thinking of Kutcher as anyone but Kelso despite the great acting he did in The Butterfly Effect, but after seeing this movie I think I might be able to finally look at him as a serious actor.

It was also a great tribute to the unsung heroes of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Costner's Comeback8/10
I went to an advance screening of this movie thinking I was about to embark on 120 minutes of cheezy lines, mindless plot, and the kind of nauseous acting that made "The Postman" one of the most malignant displays of cinematic blundering of our time. But I was shocked. Shocked to find a film starring Costner that appealed to the soul of the audience. Shocked that Ashton Kutcher could act in such a serious role. Shocked that a film starring both actually engaged and captured my own emotions. Not since 'Robin Hood' have I seen this Costner: full of depth and complex emotion. Kutcher seems to have tweaked the serious acting he played with in "Butterfly Effect". These two actors came into this film with a serious, focused attitude that shone through in what I thought was one of the best films I've seen this year. No, its not an Oscar worthy movie. It's not an epic, or a profound social commentary film. Rather, its a story about a simple topic, illuminated in a way that brings that audience to a higher level of empathy than thought possible. That's what I think good film-making is and I for one am throughly impressed by this work. Bravo!