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The Guardian Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The ocean-rescue scenes are exciting … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today

    Don't be surprised if, in the middle of The Guardian, you get an overpowering sense of déjà vu. Assuming you've seen "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Top Gun" or any of the myriad basic-training films Hollywood churns out, you've seen The Guardian.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The kind of inspirational movie that Hollywood made about the Army, Navy and Marines during World War II. Now, with inspiration in short supply, it's the Coast Guard's turn.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The movie represents an earnest effort to compensate for all the love the media has shown to firefighters and other land-based first responders in recent years with little thought to the Coast Guard; the drama also crashes on wave upon wave of clichés.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter James Greenberg

    That the film doesn't rise above the formulaic is a particular disappointment as these stunningly brave Rescue Swimmers deserve a film as daring as they are.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    Sometimes you want to buy an extra-large popcorn and settle in for a big budget Hollywood blockbuster replete with entertaining explosions, undemanding dialogue and completely unrealistic action sequences. If all that sounds like gloriously uncomplicated fun, The Guardian is your movie.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Waterlogged rescue flick is too intense for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this action drama includes several harrowing scenes of storms and sinking boats at sea. Rescue swimmers valiantly try to save victims, but some deaths occur on screen (not bloody, but sad and -- in one case -- quite disturbing). Kids with fears about water should probably see something else. Sailors and swimmers argue and draw blood in fistfights. A couple falls in love and is shown kissing and in bed (no explicit sex, but tumbling under blankets and some underwear shots). Protagonists drink, take painkillers, and use occasional profanity.

  • Families can talk about ways to deal with trauma. How does the movie make the case that focusing on the future (in the form of students to be taught and lives to be saved) helps Ben overcome his guilt, anger, and frustration? What are other ways -- both successful and unsuccessful -- that people deal with traumatic events? How do Ben and Jake's similarities (ambition, competitiveness, tragic pasts) make them ideal partners? What other movies have used a similar structure (tough veteran mentors young hot shot)? Families can also discuss the work of the Coast Guard, including the unit's heroic rescues on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: An arrogant young swimmer learns to support his team and make hard choices in rescue situations; a lonely veteran swimmer trains youngsters to take up his heroic legacy.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Several violent storms at sea; flashbacks show the dangers of Coast Guard rescue-swimming; a rescuer has to punch a hysterical victim; a couple of rescuers die; a helicopter crashes and explodes; a trainer is punched in the nose and bleeds; a couple of barfights with Navy sailors leave Jake (and then Ben) bloodied and bruised; training is hard (in freezing water, holding breath, swimming to the point of exhaustion).

  • sex false3

    Sex: A fairly young couple engages in sexual activity, including passionate kisses and some playful rolling in bed, wearing underwear and mostly under the covers.

  • language false3

    Language: One "f--k" several other profanities ("damn," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Wild Turkey liquor bottle is visible.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink in bars to get drunk; some vomiting; Ben chews Vicodins to kill physical and emotional pain; some cigarette smoking.