SRP $29.99 1.85:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL/DTS 5.1 BUENA VISTA

BUENA VISTA has released a special edition of “THE RECRUIT,” a severely flawed, yet entertaining thriller from Roger Donaldson.  Donaldson has created intelligent thrillers that were accessible to the masses in the past.  “NO WAY OUT,” and “THIRTEEN DAYS,” provided great entertainment, but were also provocative and intelligent.  This makes it all the more frustrating to find “THE RECRUIT” to have such a disappointing ending.  While one could argue about the “credibility” of “NO WAY OUT,” at least its characters stayed true to their own psychological make-up(In a sense) through the end.  But, in the “climax” of “THE RECRUIT,” the revelation behind one of the major character’s motivations is entirely from left field, and conflicting with everything we’d known about this person earlier. It all but ruins the film!

Colin Farrell and Al Pacino star. Farrell is “The Recruit,” for “The Farm,” another name for the C.I.A., as well as the original name of the film.  Pacino is the “Recruiter,” responsible for researching, finding, and mentoring his new base of “Special agents-to-be” and of course, weeding out those who can’t cut it.  The training and “weeding out” segments, making up the first half of the film, are its best aspect, and the film could’ve used more of it.  When the training is ended, Farrell is believed to have been washed out, but in reality this is just part of a “deep cover” identity, while Pacino puts him on a high-risk mission.  There are plenty of twists and turns, but none of them pan out with the same great element of surprise the film’s momentum is leading us towards throughout the film.
Entertaining? Yes! But, it’s still a bit disappointing.

BUENA VISTA has surprisingly altered the film’s aspect ratio for this release.  The theatrical aspect ratio was 2.35:1, and the dvd aspect ratio is 1.85:1, and enhanced for 16:9 viewing.  While the cover states the director’s preferred version offers “more”(not less) information, this seems improbable, based on what’s viewable on screen.  Still, no scene appears cropped, and it’s a terrific looking image. It appears glossy and well-polished in every instance.  Colors are rich when intended, and there’s incredible detail in numerous dark scenes. Fleshtones appear natural throughout.

BUENA VISTA has provided a Dolby Digital “and” DTS mix. We can’t praise BUENA VISTA enough for still,(Occasionally) offering DTS.  Universal does too, but this encoding is offered far too little currently!  Both sound great here, but the DTS is noticeably better.  While surrounds are used with great impact during some key moments, they’re generally reserved. This doesn’t diminish from the entertainment factor of the mix, however! It’s sensational. The front soundstage is filled with high-tech effects, and subtle ambient effects are heard throughout most of the film.  There are some great bass effects as well, ensuring a great workout for the subwoofer.