A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie includes several high-octane action sequences, with multiple murders by shooting, knifing, and explosion. The violence can be aggressive and several bodies appear bloodied (including a man with his throat cut). Two characters engage in an adulterous affair, revealed when a third party takes high-tech surveillance photos. Some mild sexual references and language.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE SENTINEL, Secret Service agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) still has nightmares about taking a bullet for President Reagan. Assigned to protect the First Lady, Sarah (Kim Basinger) (with whom he is having an affair), Pete is stunned when a longtime friend (played by director Clark Johnson) is murdered on his front step. And he gets worried when a plot to assassinate the president emerges and he becomes the prime suspect. David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), who heads the Protective Intelligence Division of the Secret Service, is assigned to investigate the agent's murder, helped by newbie agent Jill Marin (Eva Longoria).
Is it any good?
This movie is quite pleased with its focus on boys' business, rendering it in terms that are at once clever, silly, and slick. The investigation leads to some predictable places, a set of would-be assassins with thick and also shifting Russian accents (they claim to be ex-KGB and threaten their mole's family with horrific violence), as well as several confrontations between David and Pete (including a chase scene on a ship and a verbal argument in Pete's apartment. Clark Johnson's direction is sharp, maintaining a quick-enough pace and smart camerawork, almost making you forget the preposterousness of the plot and easy-to-tell "real traitor." Shootouts and car chases make good use of DC locations and a G8 gathering in Toronto, though Pete's drive from Camp David into downtown Washington appears to take mere minutes -- impossible unless he's been zapped by a Star Trekian transporter.
The MacGyverish Pete out-gizmos his fellow agents with a few precise purchases from Radio Shack, and takes out a series of accented thugs to boot. More distractingly, his contest with Breckinridge never quite gels, as they so obviously admire one another, even with girls (the First Lady and the ex-wife) providing requisite hetero cover.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 21, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: August 29, 2006
- Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Basinger, Michael Douglas
- Director: Clark Johnson
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.