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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.61%
Worth A Look: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 34.85%
Total Crap: 7.58%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Recruit, The
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by Erik Childress

"Just Stay At Home And Watch 24!"
2 stars

Years ago when that wondrous thing called television was invented, the motion picture industry got scared. How do we keep them coming into the theaters when they can just watch stuff at home? Widescreen was the answer! Bigger is better! We can mount epics and kill more people in a single frame than was ever thought of before. Has anyone noticed the trend starting to come around full circle again? Narc was great but so are dozens of cop shows on TV. The latest Star Trek film couldnít compare to one of the original episodes of The Next Generation. Unbelievably exciting shows like 24 and Alias have taken excitement on television to new levels. Maybe thatís why The Recruit plays like a stale, overdone concept.

The CIA has secrets! Donít believe what you see, hear, read or ingest. Probably the most mysterious of all three-lettered world agencies making it the perfect foil for fictional action and intrigue. Whether youíre on the inside or the big boys are chasing YOU, this is one organization you donít want to mess with. But would you want to be a part of it? James Clayton (Colin Farrell) does, if for no other conceivable reason than heís curious what happened to his father (who may or may not have been a spook.)

James is already on the path of success, inventing his own Master Control Program that can supercede any piece of software on the market. Thatís when Walter Burke (Al Pacino) shows up with his pitch. A self-imposed ďscary judge of talentĒ he can sense that Chuck Barris-like profile in James and in 20 minutes, James is on the bus to spy camp. The next 40 minutes are the obligatory training exercises and lectures about tests and nothingís as it seems and donít get caught. OK, we get it. Basically donít trust this movie.

James develops a little relationship with fellow trainee, Layla (Bridget Moynahan). I say little because its caught somewhere in the limbo between obligatory love interest and the heart of what could have made The Recruit a far more involving ride. Anyone who is conscious will pick up on a big clue laid out for us during their lie detector session while the movie keeps on going as if we were supposed to instantly forget that little nugget. As it stands, itís an inconsequential love affair thatís supposed to have a bigger impact on the proceedings than it actually does since the third act derails from mediocrity to the purely laughable.

The Recruit is slickly put together but the overriding thought youíll have while watching it is that nothing is happening. Thereís a secondary plot that kicks in after all the obstacle courses and throw-to-the-mat classes, but thereís no action. Beyond chases or shootouts, the suspense factor doesnít even grant us some kind of computer duel or plot-twisty intrigue. And when the final scene comes around, not only is it impossible not to question how such a tight, secretive agency like the CIA could let something like this transpire right under their noses, but would have the culprits gotten away with it if it wasnít for those pesky gotta-have monologues?

Roger Donaldson has been an underrated helmer for many a year. Cocktail not withstanding, Donaldson has contributed No Way Out, Species and Thirteen Days to his resume. This guy has the chops to direct a tight thriller, but the material just isnít here this time out. Even when we think we know where the finale is headed and keeping a more daring final twist in the back of our minds, The Recruit opts for a more obvious, safer route thatís been done-to-death umpteenth plus one times. Why ask an audience not to believe what theyíre seeing when theyíve already seen it. Give me 24ís CTU any hour of the week.

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originally posted: 01/31/03 16:28:47
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User Comments

8/07/06 Tangelo Soosepot Collin is a cute monkey who acts his way from A to B 3 stars
8/07/06 R.W.Welch If you can't trust your friendly local CIA agent, who can you trust? C+ spy thriller. 3 stars
2/23/06 Frank Rountree the acting was believable, not bad 3 stars
12/10/04 Kristina Williams dull 1 stars
11/08/04 Steve Newman Surprised this had bad reviews - i really enjoyed it 4 stars
5/13/04 Dean Rapp It was ok, i like the bugs 4 stars
4/25/04 Carla i liked it a lot, the plot twists were awesome! 5 stars
3/17/04 luke good movie 5 stars
10/23/03 jessica brilliant!! 5 stars
9/02/03 Jinnvisible Has it started yet , Oh its finished already , oh I though it was a long trailer. 2 stars
8/06/03 keith langman to many plot twist to follow 3 stars
7/14/03 Bob Wee Great!!!! 5 stars
6/12/03 Jerra This is a very bad movie... The story lacks any intelligence what so ever.... 2 stars
5/31/03 bigbro its amazing how little they think we know about the CIA 2 stars
5/27/03 Jack Sommersby Smoothly directed but nonsensical plotting sinks it. 2 stars
5/23/03 .. great 5 stars
5/14/03 Natalie Stonecipher SLOW start, but 2nd half has some excitement. Pacino recovering from insomnia somewhat. 4 stars
3/20/03 Cameron Slick polished thriller is engaging until it takes one twist too many into the predictable. 4 stars
3/20/03 Boris Loved it. Typical spy stuff but good nonetheless. 5 stars
3/12/03 Greg Edmiston It was interesting, and enough to keep me attentive. No more, no less. 4 stars
3/10/03 George Jung How come FUCKING and ALL ASS aren't in the ratings? I'll say it: This movie SUCKS ALL ASS!! 1 stars
2/15/03 Chris I was hoping for more but I really enjoyed myself. 4 stars
2/06/03 Todd I wonder if Sid and I saw the same movie. typical spy crap 1 stars
2/04/03 ownerofdajoint pacino and moynihan are worth the time..... 3 stars
2/02/03 Bill Kilpatrick A manual on how to write a bad movie. 1 stars
2/02/03 will were it not for the ending, I would've said it was pretty decent 3 stars
2/02/03 Rob Decent concept, but in the end just kisses the ass of Geroge Bush 2 stars
2/01/03 dave not overly convincing of its plot-twist. a yawn and good to watch before going to bed tho' 3 stars
1/29/03 Sid Whiting Vintage Pacino, great story, brilliant directing. 5 stars
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  31-Jan-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Jan-2005



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