April 21, 2006, - 12:37 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
If you’re a “24” fan who’s expecting more of the same in this weekend’s Kiefer Sutherland movie, “The Sentinel,” you are on target.
Except that Kiefer Sutherland is not in it much–he’s a mere co-star who plays a geeky tight-ass. The Jack Bauer in this movie is played by well-preserved raisin, Michael Douglas. He is aging Agent Pete Garrison formerly of the PPD (the President’s personal protective detail).
If you like “24,” because it finally shows the terrorists as what they are: ISLAMIC, then you’ll be disappointed. Nope, this is hardly a spoiler. It’s a minor detail. But puh-leeze!: How many movies can they do about a KGB plot to kill the President, when–hello?!–the KGB is gone? Come on. Not too plausible. One of the agents on the President’s or First Lady’s protective detail is part of the plot. And here’s a hint: It ain’t Special Agent Aziz Hassad.
If you’re a U.S. Secret Service agent, you’ll probably laugh . . . or be disappointed at the “humanizing” warts-and-all portrayal. When I was in college and doing a research project at the U.S. Secret Service, I interviewed the Service’s Director of Public Relations. He told me how upset the agency was at the portrayal of Secret Service agents as vicious, corrupt, sadistic, etc. in movies like, “To Live & Die in L.A.” Former Secret Service Agent Gerald Petievich wrote that movie. And guess what? He’s ba-a-a-ack. “The Sentinel” is his baby, too.
At least in “To Live and Die in L.A.,” the terrorist was a Muslim Arab who blows himself up to Paradise with shouts of, “I’m ready to die! Death to Israel and all the enemies of Islam!” This movie is less realistic on that front.
But “The Sentinel” is escapist fun, but it’s hardly the most unpredictable plot. Yes, it’s heart-pounding exciting. But it also shows Secret Service agents as guys who sleep with their protectees (well, one of them did marry President Ford’s daughter) and endanger them. Or are even moles in on a plot to kill the Prez.
The Secret Service, like the former U.S. Customs, was one of the best law enforcement agencies there were. Yes, the agency has had its share of scandals. But it did excellent work with Customs in Operation Greenquest, when it was under the Treasury Department, in uncovering and thwarting terrorist money laundering, counterfeiting, and ID fraud. That’s the kind of work most Secret Service agents do, not the sexy protective detail stuff.
When Homeland Security was created, Ralph Basham, the Secret Service’s patriotic Arab-American leader, valiantly fought Tom Ridge and John Aschroft in trying to keep those terrorism investigations under the Secret Service bailiwick. Unfortunately, he (and Customs/ICE) lost all terrorism cases to the FBI. That his agency is now a movie soap opera backdrop, can’t be comforting (though he is soon to head up Customs and Border Protection and is awaiting Senate confirmation).
As for Eva Longoria, it’s laughable to see her in running/chase scenes in stiletto heels. How many female Secret Service agents wear those on the job, much less look like her? And her presence in the movie is useless. However, given the Reuters story uncovered by Michelle Malkin, regarding Longoria’s absurd views in support of illegal aliens, we wish Longoria would act in real life like she does in this movie: looking good, but mostly staying silent.
“Desperate Housewives” fans, take note: 50-something Kim Basinger looks far better. And we don’t know her views on illegal immigration. Thankfully.
Tags: Agent Pete Garrison, ain't Special Agent, Aziz Hassad, Debbie Schlussel, Department of the Treasury, director, Director of Public Relations, Eva Longoria, Federal Bureau of Investigation, First Lady, Ford, Gerald Petievich, Israel, John Aschroft, KGB, Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Basinger, L.A., law enforcement agencies, Michael Douglas, Michelle Malkin, President, Ralph Basham, Reuters, Secret Service, Senate, Sentinel, The Sentinel, To Live & Die in L, To Live and Die in L.A., Tom Ridge, W. Ralph Basham