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The Recruit

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I remember having the impression that this one was a little hard to figure out from the previews, but that it looked like it might be fun.  I had misremembered it as a Denzel Washington vehicle.  Instead, it's Al Pacino and Colin Ferrel.  A Netflix that I watched by myself.

Colin is a mildly irresponsible, probably rebelious super-hacker who starts out oversleeping for a meeting with a Dell bigwig.  His demo consists of showing off his magic program that can instantly and automagically and wirelessly (huh?) crack into every other computer at the trade show and stream video to it.  *sigh*

Pacino spots him at the trade show and later meets him at the bar he works at.  He says he's a recruiter for the CIA and spends about 90 seconds recruiting him.  A couple of minutes showing a room full of potential recruits taking a test, where the love interest is introduced.

A coupla minutes later, they're at the super-secret training center, The Farm.

From there, it's kind of a simpleton overview of what an American version of a James Bond training center might be like.  We see a little weapons training, and of course Colin is the master marksman.  They have a training house where they supposedly teach them how to break in to get a prize without getting caught.  All the other students are shown screwing up, and Colin actually does, too.  But he manages to bust through a window and "escape" anyway.

Oddly, most of the training facilities seem to feed into the same classroom.  The two or three times they did it I was jarred, thinking, "How the hell did we get here?"

There are about 15 or 20 students, including the love interest, of course.  They pit Colin and the love interest against each other a coupla times and they end up betraying and embarrassing each other mildly, and the love affair stalls.

I think they show one person washing out, but if they explained what he did wrong, I missed it.  And that also bugged me during this entire section of the movie.   There was very little overview of what they were supposed to be learning and how far along they were.  It felt like they were there anywhere from a few days to possibly a few weeks.  But you never get the impression that this is an all-encompassing, completely immersive training regimen.  Pacino does have a coupla short monologues that set up the next test.  But that's about it.  They're just there for a little while, given a few disparate situational tests, and then it's over.

Colin thinks he washed out, but Pacino says he's the NOC for the class.  The Shit Hot super-undercover agent.  And he's given the task of trying to find a mole in the CIA.  His cover is that he's doing data entry in the same facility.

I don't think I've given too much away.  The story just blazes along so fast that there really aren't any real subtleties to the plot.  You know he's going to make it, because he's the star.

Besides Colin's magic cracker program, they talk about an even more magic cracker program that works through the power lines.  *heavy sigh*  I'm getting pretty tired of those, even as just a simple plot device.

The only kinda coolish gadget I remember is a super-micro bug that's just a small adhesive disk.  Only kinda cool, because it's obviously ridiculously too small to have enough power nor enough antenna to actually transmit very far for more than a few mins.

Overall, the story and gimmicks were all pretty awful, but the actors they got were pretty good.  So it was watchable.  But not really as fun as I'd hoped.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View.  Modern American super-secret James Bondish training center.  Pretty close to as contrived as it sounds, but not horrible.

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Last modified: May 30, 2005
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