The movie industry is no stranger to films based on branches of the military. From “Top Gun” to “An Officer and a Gentleman” to “Jarhead,” they have all been done before. However, not many focus on the Coast Guard. “The Guardian” gives an accurate portrayal of the service these people give by risking their lives, “So others may live,” as the Coast Guard’s motto says.Ben Randall, played by Kevin Costner, is a dedicated and talented member of the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmers team. He is the best of best. After a horrific accident leaves Randall to be the only survivor out of his entire crew, he is forced to temporarily retire his profession to teach at the prestigious, boot-camp style Coast Guard “A” school.
In comes Ashton Kutcher as Jake Fischer, a confident, egotistical trainee. Fischer continues to boast about his accomplishments, causing tension between himself and Randall, who doubts Fisher’s commitment to the program. They strike up an almost father-son bond and realize during an emotionally- charged scene that they have more in common than they both realize.
“The Guardian” is a quality movie, but is confused about what type of movie it wants to be. It is supposed to be a drama, but a large amount of comic relief is used throughout. It seems almost inappropriate to laugh during a movie that is supposed to be serious.
Also included in the movie is, of course, a love interest for both Randall and Fischer, causing “The Guardian” to try to be a romance story as well. It only partially works. Randall is grappling with a failed marriage, which is believable to think that a job of this caliber would inflict some tension. He’s always on call; she wants him to be home more. However, in Fischer’s case, falling in love with a girl who he asks out on a bet and from then on has only a “casual” relationship with her, which isn’t quite as realistic.
Not only is “The Guardian” uncertain of its appearance, it is also unsure of its target audience. With Kutcher as lead actor, one would assume that the film is trying to reach teenagers and younger adults.
The opening weekend box office numbers proved this. “The Guardian” earned a respectable $17 million, coming in second to Kutcher’s other film “Open Season.