Kevin Costner’s Forgotten Action Movie With Ashton Kutcher Is Streaming For Free

The Guardian, a Coast Guard action movie starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, is on Tubi.

By Jennifer Asencio | Updated

All the glory in action films is reserved for the four best-known branches of the United States military – the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The Guardian reminds viewers that the Coast Guard is the fifth branch of our national defense, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher as participants of the Coast Guard’s Aviation Survival Technician (AST) program, responsible for rescues at sea using air support such as helicopters. Although not memorable roles for either actor, the 2006 movie is airing free on Tubi.

The movie follows Kevin Costner as Ben Randall, renowned for being one of the best swimmers in the AST program, who suffers survivor’s guilt when he is the only member of his team to escape a tragic accident during a rescue. Broken and in the midst of a failing marriage, Kevin Costner’s Ben transfers to the training facility for the AST program and becomes the instructor of Ashton Kutcher’s character, Jake Fischer. Jake is something of a hotshot, and at first Ben underestimates him as lazy and unmotivated, but the reality is that the two have more in common than meets the eye.

As training progresses into the field, Kevin Costner’s character and Ashton Kutcher’s bond over shared experience, as Ben works toward honing the talented younger man into a skilled rescue swimmer. Can Ben combat his demons while working through his failed marriage? Will Jake become the AST airman that Ben knows he can be?

The Guardian was named for a phenomenon in which drowning swimmers feel themselves pushed to the surface by an unseen force. This legend is told during the movie, and it is easy to see why the film was bestowed with that title, given the nature of the work that Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher’s characters do for the Coast Guard. The film also stars Neal McDonough, Clancy Brown, Sela Ward, Melissa Sagemiller, and Omari Hardwick.

While it is remarkable that the Coast Guard finally got an action film about what they do in defense of the United States and its people, The Guardian was met with middling reviews that claimed the movie to be cliched and formulaic. It has a 37 percent “rotten” rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic rating of 53. Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher are both great actors, but even their performances couldn’t save The Guardian from drowning.

Kevin Costner is a very big name in entertainment and has been for quite some time, and Ashton Kutcher went from playing the goofy Michael Kelso on That 70s Show to more serious roles like The Butterfly Effect, Jobs, and The Guardian. Both currently enjoy fame from shows about ranching – Yellowstone is a Paramount Network hit and The Ranch saw three seasons on Netflix. While The Guardian was never a hit, both actors seem to be doing well today.

The Guardian may not have gotten good reviews, but it is notable that much of the cast supporting Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher were part of the AST program in real life. This air of authenticity illuminates the responsibilities of the fifth branch of our military. Hopefully, the Tubi release of the film can help people appreciate what the Coast Guard does for us.