Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Anything that borrows from Starship Troopers is in trouble from the get go

In another life I used to write about films for the university newspaper so I’ve kind of tried to avoid retreading the same territory here on ReSplint (It’s an edgy new handle I’m trying out, comments on a back of a postcard) but I see this as more of a public service announcement than a review.

On the plane back from New Zealand I had the misfortune to see The Guardian. It’s a terrible flick that has Kevin Costner training Ashton Kutcher to be an Aviation Survival Technician for the United States Coast Guard. I don’t doubt that becoming a coastguard is hard and I know that these guys put their life on the line when they go out and do their job but the film spends half it’s time reminding us that swimming is tough. So much so that you just get the feeling that its over compensating for a lack of genuine plot.

Aside from Kutcher’s ill-informed belief that the way to display an emotion is by raising one’s voice a couple of octaves, the biggest problem is that The Guardian isn’t a single, unique film. Instead, it’s a montage of scenes and themes borrowed from other movies. You’ve got a hot recruit at an elite training school (Top Gun and by extension Wings of the Apache) who encounters a damaged older mentor (Point Break and by extension The Fast and the Furious). The recruit goes through a series of gruelling, seemingly pointless training exercises (Full Metal Jacket, Jarhead, Men of Honour and a whole slew of other military films) and falls for a local girl he meets at a bar (An Officer and a Gentleman). After finally graduating, he is assigned on a dangerous mission with the mentor (Starship Troopers) where the mentor dies to save his life (Starship Troopers again). The rookie returns to the girl (Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman, Bridget Jones's Diary) while the mentor becomes The Spirit of the Ocean (Finding Nemo? The Little Mermaid?).

Like a collision between a bus load of naked cheerleaders and a highlight reel of Gianfranco Zola’s goals for Chelsea I couldn’t look away. So bad was this film that it actually made the flight seem longer. My one hope is that by posting this, I save others from having to experience the horror that is, The Guardian.

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