After losing his crew during a rescue mission in Alaska's unpredictable and frigid waters, Ben Randall (Costner) is reassigned to that of instructor at the United States Coast Guard training facility. There he meets high-school swimming hotshot, and legend-in-his-own-mind, Jake Fischer (Kutcher), who is determined to break all of Randall's long-standing records. It is during this 18-week program that instructor and student develop a relationship of sorts, and ultimately help each other in fighting the personal demons that keep them buoyed to the past. The Guardian is dedicated to those in the United States Coast Guard. (Jack Kelley)
Special features include the option of watching the film in the Enhanced Mode, which gives the viewer access to more advanced features not available in standard mode, including a filmmaker Q&A; and the same features as found on the DVD reviewed in Issue 117: commentary with Director Andrew Davis and Writer Ron L. Brinkerhoff; an alternate ending, which, after watching, makes you glad they kept the original; four deleted scenes with optional director and writer commentary; an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette; and an almost six-minute look at the United States Coast Guard. There are also up-front ads.
The 1.85:1 Blu-ray Disc exhibits deep black levels, but details are not as well resolved as what I expect from a new, high-definition release. Colors are subdued, and fleshtones generally look sickly. (Danny Richelieu)
The uncompressed linear PCM 5.1-channel encoding is impressive, with natural fluidity and fidelity, and impressive dynamic range. The mix is energetic, with a deep, broad front stage, and good phantom imaging everywhere around the room. This is a noticeable improvement over the Dolbyģ Digital encoding that is also included on the disc. (Danny Richelieu)