Rated PG-13; Directed by Andrew Davis; Starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Melissa Sagemiller, Sela Ward
A “B” movie can be a wondrous thing. If it hits all the clichéd plot points with good humor and style, a “B” movie can offer a fun popcorn-munching experience. “The Guardian” is one of those “B” movies.
The plot is one we’ve seen so many times: an old pro teaches the young hotshot some life lessons and they come to share a bond. This time the plot uses the U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimming training as the setting. The old pro is Ben Randall (Kevin Costner), a legendary rescue swimmer whose latest mission has left him scarred emotionally. The young hotshot is Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher), an expert swimmer who has his own emotional scars.
The clichés are rampant, but the training sequences give us humor, drama, and something we haven’t seen before – how those rescue swimmers learn to do what they do. Does the hotshot learn how to be part of a team? Does he find romance with a local girl (Melissa Sagemiller in a nice performance)? Does the old pro come to respect the young hotshot? Hey, we’ve seen it all before.
Costner and Kutcher are nicely cast here. The two actors know how to use humor effectively and director Andrew Davis keeps things moving in the training section of the movie. It does slow down near the end and the movie loses some points (thus the B-) for going after our emotional heartstrings – some of it unnecessarily.
Though “The Guardian” will not end up as a movie classic, the film does make for an enjoyable couple of hours in a darkened theater. So, bring on the popcorn!