Director: Andrew Davis
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher,
Neal McDonough, Clancy Brown, Melissa Sagemiller, Brian Geraghty
and Sela Ward
RunTime: 2 hrs 16 mins
Released By: BVI
Day: 26 October 2006
After losing his crew in
a fatal crash, legendary Rescue Swimmer, Ben Randall (KEVIN
COSTNER), is sent to teach at “A” School, an elite
training program for Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. Wrestling
with the loss of his crew members, he throws himself into
teaching, turning the program upside down with his unorthodox
While there, he encounters a young, cocky
swim champ, Jake Fischer (ASHTON KUTCHER), who is driven to
be the best. During training, Randall helps mold Jake’s
character, combining his raw talent with the heart and dedication
required of a Rescue Swimmer.
graduation, Jake follows Randall to Kodiak, Alaska, where
they face the inherent dangers of the Bering Sea. In his initial
solo rescue, Jake learns firsthand from Randall, the true
meaning of heroism and sacrifice, echoing the Swimmer’s
motto...”So Others May Live!”
this movie was shown in the cinemas 10 years ago, it’d
probably “The Movie” everyone wanted to see, and
become an instant box office hit. It has all the ingredients
of a sure-win popcorn flick.
leading man is Kevin Costner, who spelt s-u-c-c-e-s-s in whatever
flicks he starred in. After all, before he sunk in Waterworld
(1995), he was the man who Dances With Wolves (1990), robbed
the rich to save the poor as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
(1991) and protected a diva as The Bodyguard (1992).
there is the extravaganza of special effects in this movie.
Angry ocean waves, overturning ships, people in peril and
impressive helicopter stunts are all vividly brought onto
the big screen. This is really a big deal - 10 years ago,
inspiring story of bringing out the best in human spirit is
also a potential heartstring-puller that will pull in brave
male audiences and their hopeful girlfriends. Costner plays
a legendary Coast Guard who cannot get over the death of a
teammate in an accident. He is then transferred to a training
school where he meets Ashton Kutcher, who plays a high-flying
student who seems to be hiding a dark secret.
proud men. Two big egos. One very formulaic plot.
straightforward narrative of the movie is so predictable;
you’d want to give yourself a pat on the back every
time you guess what is going to happen next correctly. Not
that this is a bad thing though, because the 136-minute does
move at a sturdy pace.
an impressive setup, the movie conveniently shifts itself
into the usual scenes where rookie students are trained, met
with embarrassing moments and triumphing over hardship at
the end of the day. Then comes the conflict between the two
male leads, followed by expected events that will draw the
movie to a conclusion.
then, two odd hours have passed and you know very well that
the overlong flick could have made do with at least half an
hour of runtime.
Thankfully, the fine performances of the leading men will
have audiences watching on, and on, and on. Costner gives
his character a good balance of security and vulnerability.
Women will feel for him, and men would want to be him. Kutcher
plays his role with certain cheekiness and smug that personifies,
well, maybe his own character in real life.
about the female leads? Well, what do you know; they are not
that important – again.
Andrew Davis, who has helmed other action flicks like The
Fugitive (1993) and Collateral Damage (2002), still does a
decent job with his latest work. It is just that, every aspect
of it is formulaic and standard, like those successful disaster
movies in the 1990s.
when you realize that the end title song “Never Let
Go” is sung by Bryan Adams (yes, the man who gave you
1991’s Everything I Do, I Do It For You and 1993’s
All For Love), you know for sure that the filmmakers are really
all out to make this flick feel like a 1990s big-budget popcorn
(A lengthy hero movie that is decent but formulaic, this Kevin
Costner flick may just sink with today’s audience)
by John Li