Guardian, The (2006)

Rated: PG-13 Grade: BC+BB=B

Directed by: Andrew Davis, who previously made Holes, Collateral Damage, A Perfect Murder, Chain Reaction, Steal Big Steal Little, The Fugitive, and a bunch of action flicks such as Under Siege, Above the Law, and Code of Silence.

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward, Melissa Sagemiller, John Heard, and Neal McDonough.

Summary: Ben Randall is an aging original tough guy, a rescue diver for the Coast Guard who has set every record there is, but had a horrible event place him out of commission for awhile. His superiors transfer him to become a trainer at the academy, where he runs into the overconfident Ashton Kutcher. There’s banter, romance, and some interesting dialogue.

Entertainment Value: B It’s good. But here’s the problem I had with it. I’ve seen An Officer and a Gentleman 3-4 times, and I’ve probably seen Top Gun in excess of 10 times. In other words, I’ve already seen this movie about a dozen times over a decade ago. It’s fine, but I kept feeling like it was so derivative of these two that I had trouble really enjoying it. The one thing this movie has going for it in the uniqueness category, however, is its emphasis on the teachers rather than only on the students as characters to study.

Superficial Content: C+ Drugs/Alcohol C, Sexuality B, Violence C, Language B, Illegality B. Bar celebrations which involve fights between the Coast Guard and the Navy including people getting knocked out violently. A couple of sexual scenes, although very little is actually shown. Some mild profanity. There are some scary scenes including dead bodies at the beginning and the end…just like the other two movies I mentioned. PG-13 is correct, although before there was PG-13, this would have just been PG.

Significant Content: B Don’t be selfish, be a servant. Real superstars aren’t the ones who have the abilities, but the ones who help others and subvert their individual desires to the needs of a group. Um…that’s it, I think. Oh yeah, and be careful that your exciting day job doesn’t ruin your marriage.

Artistic/Thought Value: B Davis knows how to direct action, and Costner knows how to act. The scenes in water are pretty clearly CGI, but it’s good CGI, so who cares?

Discussion Questions:
  • What do you think of Randall’s methods for training his cadets? Should this program be trying to make anyone who is not a superstar drop or only those who are not very good?
    What is your perception of the service rendered by someone in the Coast Guard compared to the Marines, Army, Navy, or Air Force?
  • How would you compare this movie to other military training movies such as Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman, Full Metal Jacket, GI Jane, or Heartbreak Ridge?
  • “It ain’t boastin’ if you done did it.” What do you think of this statement? Should we brag about gifts God has given us? Should we deny that He gave them? How should we handle success and praise?
  • Have you ever been motivated by guilt to do something to compensate for what you think you did wrong?
Overall Grade: B A movie about Coast Guard rescue divers? Cool. How many other movies have been made to glorify the Coast Guard compared with other branches of the Armed Forces?

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