Selfless Devotion to Duty
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher,
Neal McDonough, Melissa
Sagemiller, Clancy Brown.
Brian Geraghty, Sela Ward,
Omari Hardwick, Michael Rady,
Peter Gail, Shelby Fenner, and
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 136 minutes
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Buena
Director: Andrew Davis
Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Charlie
Lyons, Zanne Devine, and Peter
Producer: Tripp Vinson, Beau Flynn
Writer: Ron L. Brinkerhoff
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO
Buena Vista Distribution Co.
(Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures)
Dick Cook, Chairman
The Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
The movie opens by establishing that Randall is terrific at saving lives but is unable to save his marriage. His wife (played by Sela Ward) leaves him because he has no time for her. Even as he pleads for another chance, he is called back for another rescue. This time things go horribly wrong, and he is left the sole survivor of his rescue crew, complete with emotional and physical injuries. He is taken off active rescue duty and assigned to become an instructor at the Coast Guard’s elite “A” school for rescue swimmers.
There, Randall is challenged by a cocky young recruit Jake Cummings (played by Ashton Kutcher) who is determined to break his records. Randall uses unorthodox methods to weed out and prepare his recruits for the real world of rescue work. Randall proceeds to mold Jake into a man who can focus more on saving lives than on setting records.
Sadly, the central story is embellished with Randall’s dysfunctional marriage leading him to drink (apparently a requirement for getting Costner into a movie) and with his prime student’s foray into alcohol, fornication and fighting. Apparently, one cannot be a good husband and a rescue swimmer.
The movie is well made. The acting is good. The action is occasionally riveting. The language is mild for a modern movie dealing with a branch of the armed services. The filmmakers are to be commended for a patriotic presentation of Coast Guard swimmers whose motto is “So Others May Live.” But, it’s like a loaf of bread that doesn’t rise. Without God’s love as the motivating yeast, the unselfishness portrayed looks one dimensional, flat as a cracker. The main characters are supposedly motivated by emotional experiences in their past and only motivated as swimmers. The same men devoted to saving lives can bash in the face of members of another branch of the armed services.
The intensity of the rescue footage makes this movie is unsuitable for young children. Teenagers and adults may enjoy the patriotic aspects of the movie but the media-wise family will take time to discuss how, by relying on God’s unselfish love, members of the Coast Guard could save lives, have sound marriages and live without relying on alcohol.
The movie is well made. The acting is good. The action is occasionally riveting. The foul language is mild for a modern movie dealing with a branch of the armed services. The filmmakers are to be commended for a patriotic presentation of Coast Guard swimmers whose motto is “So Others May Live.” But, it’s like a loaf of bread that doesn’t rise. Without God’s love as the motivating yeast, the movie’s selfless devotion to duty looks one dimensional and flat. Also, the intensity of the rescue footage makes this movie suitable only for teenagers and adults.