out of Five
Running time: 129
Basically Top Gun, only damper, this has good performances and the odd exciting moment, but it's way too long and hampered by both a lacklustre script and a predictable storyline.
What's it all about?
Kevin Costner plays Ben Randall, a decorated Coast Guard rescue swimmer who is traumatised by a dramatic accident in which he loses his entire team. To make matters worse, his wife (Sela Ward) is leaving him because he prefers saving lives.
Although Randall just wants to get out there and save some lives, he's reassigned to the coast guard’s A School and put in charge of training some elite cadets. Soon, he's clashing with cocky cadet Jake Fischer, who has his own reasons for wanting to succeed but also keeps getting side-tracked by women (Melissa Sagemiller) and barfights with Marines.
Costner's actually pretty good in the role which could, at a pinch, be seen as a metaphor for getting too old for action-based parts and having to move over for younger, prettier models. Speaking of which, Kutcher's not bad either (he handles his big emotional scene well
enough) but the supporting cast are a highly unmemorable bunch and struggle to escape their cliche-ridden characters. That said, some of the action sequences are pretty good, particularly the opening accident scene, which is genuinely frightening.
The film is extremely predictable and riddled with abysmal dialogue that includes lines such as I guess it's time for me to try and rescue myself. It's also a good 30 minutes too long, thanks to a highly tedious final act that will have you looking at your watch.
There are also some unintentionally hilarious moments such as a spectacularly misjudged bit of direction whereby every time Randall sees a red flare he has snigger-inducing flashbacks to his big traumatic moment (or possibly to Waterworld).
Ironically, considering the film's intentions, this is an uninspiring and poorly written drama, despite the odd good moment.