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The Guardian  

Review: written June 2007

Routine but effective male bonding tale

This movie is undeniably formulaic and routine - and yet it is such a proficiently created variation on the genre of `grizzled-veteran-turns-brash-rookie-into-professional' that you can't help liking it for what it is.

Costner is for once well cast as the seasoned coast guard swimmer who has to turn to training recruits after a nasty and well shot incident where he loses his crew. Amongst the recruits he meets Ashton Kuchter, playing the young cocky upstart who learns valuable life and work lessons from the veteran. All routine stuff..? Absolutely, and you can be forgiven at times for thinking you are watching a watery remake of Top Gun... but it has a sense of real conviction - and in picking coastguards for a subject we have all the clichés of military-like-training, without the negative connotations - only thoroughly decent heroes out to save lives. After a lengthy training period, the movie ultimately reaches its finale with Kuchter's working in Kodiak, Alaska with Costner's character. Kuchter has definitely developed some acting chops and fits well, with Costner being the glue that holds the movie together. It ends up being a tad too long, but all the ingredients are seasoned enough that it's worth the wait to get through to the end.

Emotions are successfully wrung by director, music composer and production designer, and Costner and Kuchter are on top form. Don't be as sceptical as I was – in my view it's not as bad as some critics have maintained.

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