The Recruit (2003) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Buena Vista || PG13 - 115 minutes - $34.99 || June 3, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-06-09

Buy this DVD from!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writer(s): Roger Towne and Kurt Wimmer and Mitch Glazer (written by)
Cast: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht

Theatrical Release Date: January 31, 2003

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Spy School

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (PCM 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: NA

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!

.::THE FILM::.

Amid a sea of Colin Farrell releases in 2003 comes... this.

The Recruit stars Colin Farrell as James Clayton, a very bright computer whiz who becomes recruited to join the CIA by Walter Burke (Al Pacino). Once recruited, Clayton is put in a program called "The Farm", which is CIA training facility. While there, Clayton and thirty to forty other possible candidates are put through a series of tests to see if they have what it takes to join the CIA. Well, unfortunately for Clayton, he quickly falls for a young potential candidate Lyla Moore (Bridget Moynahan) and as soon as Burke takes notice of this, he uses it to his advantage.

Through a series of various events, Clayton is put in harm time and time again and the motto "Everything is a test. Nothing is what it seems" is ingrained in his mind. Anytime Clayton is in trouble, he insists on reminding himself of this (as does his co-stars). Not only does he do this to himself, he feels the need to speak it out so we get to hear it over and over again.

The Recruit is not a bad movie, but I can see why it quickly faded from theaters in early 2003. You would think a movie like this would have you at the edge of your seat the entire time, right? Wrong. While the film has tons of twists and turns, they are all very predictable and you see those coming minutes before the apparent payoff moment. While I won't ruin the ending to the film here, I was able to figure out the ending within a few minutes of the "special assignment". The whole film is very predictable and they keep force feeding us certain things so we could try to put the pieced together.

Whereas the last half of the film was boring and predictable, I found most of what happen in "The Farm" to be very entertaining. Had the entire film revolved around "The Farm" and had various cast members doing some CIA Special Ops missions and slowly they were fired until we are left with a few it would have made a pretty good movie. Instead the story takes an unusual turn where we, as an audience, wonít know who to trust.

Acting in the movie is alright given the source material. Colin Farrell does what he did best in the dozen or so movies that seemed to come out every month or so in theaters back in 2002-2003, and Al Pacino is here just collecting a check.


All special features are presented in SD.

Feature Commentary (with Director Roger Donaldson and Actor Colin Farrell) - If you enjoy Commentaries I would avoid this one. Roger Donaldson spends most of the time talking about technical details while Farrell talks more about the film. The problem here is both seem really bored and not very interesting in the film itself. I don't blame them...

Deleted Scenes (~ 6 Minutes) - Here we are presented with 4 different deleted scenes that were rightfully cut. Buena Vista, in a possible attempt to make the special features on the back of the Blu-ray case look loaded, even listed each individual scene out. "James Serves Drunk", "Grab Your B*@#$", "Cocktail Party - Elliot is Cut", and "James Brings Beer to Zack". With deleted scenes that sound so awesome how can you go wrong!

Spy School (~ 16 Minutes) - This is actually a very great little featurette that goes a little bit behind the scenes of the film, but also gives us some insight on real CIA training. Apparently, what we saw in the movie is fairly accurate to real CIA training.


Buena Vista presents The Recruit in Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (VC-1) on a 50GB disc. While the 2003 DVD was presented in 1.85:1, this Blu-ray release is how the film was presented in theaters. Buena Vista falls a little short here because black levels are a bit inconsistent, and it appears there was just a little bit of edge enhancement used. The film itself is very dark and I can't even remember a single scene that had much color in it. Itís a definite improvement from the DVD, but unless you love the film, I wouldn't recommend upgrading because of the picture quality.

Sticking to its Blu-ray roots, the film is presented with an English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM Track as well as an English 5.1 DD track and a Spanish 2.0 DD track (plus a bonus Portuguese 5.1 DD track not listed on the back of the case but included here). The Uncompressed track is very impressive and miles better then the DVD release before it. There is a scene towards the beginning of the film where there is some instrumental music being played and it sounds very nice and rich. Since the film is very dialog heavy, don't expect to hear much from your rear speakers until the action-packed ending.


The Recruit is a film not everyone will enjoy. I was under the impression when I first saw this in 2003 that it would be a bit more action oriented. Instead we get a great first half, and then as soon as twist #5 or 6 happens, the film falls apart and becomes very predictable. It would make a decent rental, but I wouldn't recommend a purchase. Not only because the film lacks any re playability, but because it packs the same boring special features from the original DVD (in SD), and the PQ/AQ is nothing wonderful. Disney certainly picked an odd film to release so early in Blu-rays life cycle.