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2003, dir. Roger Donaldson
115 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Al Pacino, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht.

Review by Bobby Jones

"Nothing is what it seems."

"Everything is a test."

Add an aging Al Pacino who is again playing himself (I hate admitting this, cause Al rocks, but…) and a young, hip Colin Farrell and you've got The Recruit, the newest generic spy-thriller from Roger Donaldson, director of other generic films such as Dante's Peak, Species, and The Getaway. This is by no means a bad film, it does not offend or disgust, but it is a very average and generic film, which is sometimes worse. At least you won't forget a really horrible film. I'm having a problem remembering The Recruit and I just saw it five days ago. The basic plot follows Al Pacino as a veteran CIA spook who recruits Colin Farrell to be his new CIA superstar. Many training sequences occur and the plot twists start piling on. Indeed everything in The Recruit IS a test and nothing is as it seems. So much so that you will often find yourself having a hard time deciding which of the three TOTALLY predictable endings the director decided to use. Don't want to ruin the "surprise" ending with more plot synopsis though.


Colin Farrell as "The Recruit" is good but very replaceable in this role. He is consistently capable in every film I see him in but lacks the star power to make him the new Pitt or Cruise or even Matt Damon that he seems to be marketed as. Al Pacino yells a lot and almost every time he speaks either "nothing is what it seems" or "everything is a test" is somehow incorporated into his lines. There is little actual action in the movie and the intrigue is kind of bland. The training sequences at "The Farm" (the CIA new recruit training facility) are well done but lack anything that you probably haven't seen before in similar films. For the die-hard fan of spy movies there is some enjoyment but to anyone else, watching The Recruit is probably only a little more exciting than reading this review. If you have even the slightest hesitation about going to see this movie, save some cash and rent the underrated Spy Game for a better spy movie or The Bourne Identity for a better spy movie with more action.


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