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Movie Review: The Recruit

I'm going to take this reviewing opportunity to take a little swipe at movie trailers.

Most of you have probably seen the trailer for this film, which has been running for several months, in which James Clayton, the Colin Farrell character, on being recruited for the CIA by Walter Burke, the Al Pacino character, asks Burke, "Would I have to kill anyone?" And Burke puts this delightful little cockeyed smile on his face and says, "Would you like to?"

Well, that's a great line, and in the later years of his career, Pacino's become surprisingly good at acting like this; his character in "Scent of a Woman" did many of these same things.

But this line gives you the wrong impression about the movie; despite the rest of the action shown in the trailer (SPOILER: much of the trailer action takes place during training sessions, not missions), it's not a comedy, it doesn't have a lot more good lines like this, and I really resent it when a movie production company like Touchstone, though they're all guilty of it, ruins one of the best lines in the film by playing it over and over and over before the film even opens.

OK, end rant.

The movie's pretty slick, Colin Farrell is the perfect actor for this -- he has a perennially confused look on his face as well as a constant three-day growth of beard (how do they do that?); Bridget Moynahan is smart, well-dressed and nice to look at, and Pacino sucks us all in with what seem to be canned speeches, but are really psychological games played to get CIA recruits to think like spies. The movie does pretty well with the first half, the training setups, but then falls flat in the climax; the conclusion is both interesting because of the twists (and there are plenty of them), and unsatisfying; I found myself saying, "This is it?"

Ah well, I guess I shouldn't be too critical. This is normally a slow time in the movie-releasing biz, after the rush of the holidays, before the Oscar nominations, and way before all the silly summer movies. "The Recruit" is a couple hours of pleasant escapism and action, with likeable actors giving decent performances.

Just stop ruining the best lines, will ya?

AYRating: ** 1/2