Monday, April 02, 2007

the sentinel : review

so after a long time i sat down and watched a 90's style president-of-the-usa-threatened-with-assassination potboiler. this ones called the sentinel, starring michael douglas, looking older than his years, eva langoria, no longer looking deperate nor house-wifeish and kim basinger, more beautiful than (n)ever. the cast is predicatable. up first, the workaholic with the nascent soft side-michael douglas, dedicated secret service agent (who has been in the service so long he wakes up to the nightmarish deja-vous of taking a bullet for president nixon) . his soft side of course responds to the first lady kim basinger herself, with whom he is having a passionate love affair ("i never saw it coming," he ruefully confesses to his colleague.)eva longoria is the standard rookie agent, learning the tricks of the trade, yet smarter than she ought to be.

now thats out of the way, a few observations. first of all, hollywood's nauseating need to conveniently marry political correctness and all -american goodness is downright nauseating. the white house and the secret service is choke-full of coloured people-there is even an 'aziz' of dubious asian origin thrown in- except for our heroes of course. whether that is the case in reality is something that troubled me for a considerable period of time ;in the age of 'borat' and 'little britain', there seems little need for such trivialities. the hip-hop track playing at the end of the movie as the hero walks away, shades and suit intact, is as out of place as it is comical.

secondly, why oh why do all married women tend towards micheal douglas when they fancy a romp on the extra-marrital bed? im not only jealous, im also tired of seeing him play the same role again and again. i gave up good guy vs bad guy movies when i was tweleve; if i decide to watch one again, i want the good guy to look like he can handle a gun (or a woman for that matter-there was about as much passion between adulteress and security guard as there is between brad pitt and urs truly)

the story, about a mole in the service, helping Al-qaeda in their attempt to assassinate the President is cheesy, but in that popcorn-munching, beer-guzzling way we all love and miss. i quite enjoyed it, the experience more than the movie-i felt almost adolescent again, my own childlike excitement at guns and machismo exciting the real me, sparking off a whole chain of 'who-am-i-really?' thought processes that almost threatened to ruin the movie for me. so much so that i had to light up ciggies to re-focus. i really need to get a hold of myself, this is nuts.

anywy, interestingly, the mole who is revelaed only at the end, has photographs of the adultering couple in a rather compromising embrace, which understandably freaks out shot secret agent, not to mention ms.devoted first lady. as a result, he fails a mandatory polygraph test and becomes the main suspect. trapped, he does what all men do-he runs, ala harrison ford in the fugitive, i think, one of those old movies made at a time when guns were still a novelty in school grounds. of course, in the process he manages to prove his innocence, save the president and his woman, hand in his resignation and walk away to the beats of black america. there are a few obvious flaws in the plot, but this is not alfred hitchcock, this is a talentless writer and a hollywood budget-what self-respecting film lover would watch such movies for the stroyline ? entertainment value though, not too low on the ten point scale.

the disturbing stuff now. all this time i thought the american president is one person would never feel inadequate in a relationship. now i see how wrong i was. i mean c'mon, ur husband who claims to be the single most powerful man in the world, needs six gun toting secret agents around him all the time just to make sure he can take a piss without being shot at? how can he protect his own wife then? who would seem more attractive to Woman-the man or the gun machine? so thats one myth busted , there really is no fool-proof occupation to prevent infidelity. because of course, the wife of the gun man will want to sleep with the guy that pays for their guns.

secondly, how the hell can hot shot secret agent be stupid enough to leave the window curtains open when he's having a rendevous with the president's wife? thats not just a matter of security, thats bedisde manners! unless, the firt lady is the kinky type, but mr. douglas certainly doesnt seem the sort. funny also, that a large number of the film's shots show the characters talking through their open windows (many of these conversations top secret stuff involving assassins and runaway agents and promiscous lovers and what not!)-a subtle hint at the inadequacy of the security system or just failiure to attend to detail?

thirdly, wow if these agents do evrything they seem to they must really consider themselves important people huh. almost as important as the president huh. hey maybe evn more than him-they do keep the guy alive and breathing dont they? hell, they could run this country better than some slow poke smiley face who cant take care of his own ass cant they? see where im going with this? basic human psychology. i think it was jimani who said that all attemtps at ammunition-backed security will one day see the protectors becoming the predators-thats what guns do to you. thats why gangs fight among themselves, and WWF tag teams dont.

the american (and non) protestors at the g8 meeting-nice touch. a reflection of how democracy is in many ways its worst enemy. quite enjoyed that one, though im confident the subtlity was lost on my burp-a-minute companion. i even laughed self conciously to show him he missed something i caught thanks to my superior intellectual capabilities, but he has sex every night, sometimes with different women, and he knows what he's worth. so that's that.

all in all, decent movie if ur a man for masala. or the sweetly languorous longoria. or even early 90's action movie nostalgia. back to reading 'i am not jackson pollock' for the now. amazing collection of stories by john haskell-review to be posted soon. oh and i plan to blog more. well more than the last eight months anyway. like mr. douglas, i dint quite see it coming and im sorry.


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