This gripping story revolves around the duties and rescue attempts of the United States Coastguards. Based in Kodiak in Alaska, Senior Chief Petty Officer Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) is a tough seasoned hardened veteran in sea rescues with many saved lives accredited to his long service. But after an unpleasant incident where a number of his team are killed, alongside a failing marriage, he decides to quit the service. His CO Captain William Hadley (Clancy Brown) a friend of long standing offers Ben a training job in Florida, developing raw recruits into strong swimmers and worthy rescuers for the future. He reluctantly agrees to take the job and starts with the Coastguards. Having gathered a background of a respected hero, often placing himself in harms way, rescuing stranded people in sinking private craft and fishing boats, he has earned a reputation throughout the service as one of the most prolific rescuers.
As newly fledged recruits appear at the school, Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher) a high school swimming champion, with a deep rooted problem from the past, starts to develop as a promising prospect, breaking records at the training school at an alarming rate. This makes Jake an arrogant and conceited member amongst the pupils, causing Ben to knock him down a few pegs in his training and overconfident approach. Their training teaches them to deal with hypothermia, disorientation, and exhaustion, whilst dealing with panic-stricken people who are totally dependent on the rescuer for survival. Their education also highlights that sometimes you can't save everyone, so you have to make the harsh decision of who lives and who dies, despondently that decision has to be made in a split second.
Eventually, after many confrontations between Jake and Ben, they become close friends sharing a personal background of grief together for those, which they were not able to save. Jake eventually graduates from the school, and both men are stationed back on duty in Alaska, where a violent storm is gathering, which is routinely followed by numerous pleas for rescue attempts. Both the leading roles of Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher spark off good chemistry together. Ashton Kutcher has a lot more talent than individuals give him credit for. The Guardian is a film well worth watching and an excellent spotlight and exposure for the United States Coastguards Service.