The Guardian (2006)

The Guardian is a 2006 action-adventure drama film starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, and Melissa Sagemiller. The film was released on September 29, 2006, and was directed by Andrew Davis, director of The Fugitive. The setting for the film is the United States Coast Guard and their Aviation Survival Technician (AST) program.

Plot: Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) is the top rescue swimmer at the United States Coast Guard's Aviation Survival Technician (AST) program, who continues to work against regulation past the age of 40. Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher) is a hot-shot candidate for AST who was ranked as a top competitive swimmer in high school with scholarships to every Ivy league college, but opted to enlist in the Coast Guard. The film's title is introduced by a mythic tale: people lost at sea often claim they feel a presence lifting them to the surface, breathing life into their bodies while they are waiting for help to arrive. They call this presence "The Guardian."

Ben is confronted by his wife, asking for a separation due to his frequent time at work. He receives a page for an immediate rescue. Out at sea, he loses his rescue team in an HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter crash and while waiting in a survival raft, his best friend, Chief Petty Officer Carl Billings (Omari Hardwick), dies. Shaken, he is forced to either retire or teach at a Coast Guard training school; he reluctantly chooses the latter. Here, Jake arrives as a hopeful AST candidate at "A" school, where Ben is considered a legend with a countless number of saves.

During the training, Jake meets a local schoolteacher, Emily Thomas, and they begin a "casual" relationship, as they both know their time together is limited. Once the initial weeks of training are over and most of the students dropped out, detailed instruction begins at the academy. After sleeping at Emily’s house, Jake arrives late to class and is confronted by Ben. Although Jake is not dropped, he is punished for his tardiness. Ben tries to force Jake into quitting, but he later sees his persistence and dedication. Meeting Emily in a bar, Jake tells her about him beating all of his instructor Ben Randall's records. However, Maggie the barkeep (Bonnie Bramlett), an old friend of Ben's, tells Jake of an unbreakable record, in which a rescue at a ship fire, Ben worked tirelessly to save all the victims. With one man left and a broken winch, Randall held the man by his fingertips for the entire flight to land, resulting in extensive injuries to his hand and shoulder.


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