Ben (Kevin Costner) is a veteran Coast Guard rescue swimmer teaching the incoming class, and Jake (Ashton Kutcher) is the brash newcomer who thinks he's the new stud in town. Meanwhile, Ben's marriage is falling apart and Jake starts up a relationship with a local girl.
Big question: Can director Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive") deliver an adventure that's more original than it sounds?
Skip it: "The Guardian" might not be half bad if it didn't sink under a massive storm of cliche. The smart casting of Costner and Kutcher, however, works to even things out.
Catch it: The action scenes are thrilling, and Coast Guard training is far more compelling than the usual getting-ready-for-the-big-time montage.
Bottom line: The story's as fresh as last week's sushi, and at two-plus hours, "The Guardian" certainly wears out its welcome. The movie's success lies mostly in its approach to the Coast Guard, making us respect their heroism without feeling like we're being recruited.
Bonus: In a week that brings us two Ashton Kutcher movies--the other being "Open Season"--we should be thankful for having one that isn't terrible!
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
Directed by Andrew Davis; screenplay by Ron L. Brinkerhoff; photographed by Stephen St. John; edited by Thomas J. Nordberg and Dennis Virkler; music by Trevor Rabin; production design by Maher Ahmad; produced by Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson. A Touchstone Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 2:16. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action/peril, brief strong language and some sensuality).
Ben Randall - Kevin Costner
Jake Fischer - Ashton Kutcher
Helen Randall - Sela Ward
Emily Thomas - Melissa SagemillerCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times