The Recruit (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Disney/Touchstone - 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 115 Minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 uncompressed PCM, English/Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Dolby 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Colin Farrell, Al Pacino, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Music by: Klaus Badelt
Written by: Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer, Mitch Glazer
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 3, 2008

"In the CIA nothing is what it seems"

Film Synopsis:

Walter Burke (Pacino) thinks brilliant MIT grad James Clayton (Farrell) is exactly the sort of person the Central Intelligence Agency needs. But just when rising star James starts to question his role, his feelings for fellow recruit Layla, (Bridget Moynahan) and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor, Burke taps him to root out a mole. As the suspense builds in a maze of gripping twists and turns there are only two things James can count on: he can't trust anyone and nothing is as it seems.

My Take:

I am an Al Pacino fan but I am not a devout fan of all of his films. The Recruit is an above average thriller that shows good potential during its first two acts but just loses steam during act three. There are just two many holes that never seem to get filled in and the ending is a disappointment to say the least. Both of the leads do a credible job and I thought that Bridget Moynahan was believable in her role as the love interest/agent/potential target. I had seen this when it was first released on DVD but never added it to my collection. I did enjoy this re-visit but my initial feeling have not changed.

Parental Guide:

The PG-13 rating is spot on. There is sexuality, violence and language in this one that would not be appropriate for younger viewers.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84

  • Dynamics: %3E%3Cli%3ELow%20frequency%20extension:%20%3Cimg%20src=

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Video: 82

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

The Recruit comes to high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video with an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless uncompressed 5.1 PCM audio with a constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps.

The audio presentation was quite good overall as it delivered the sonic elements present in the mix. Clear and concise dialogue was evident throughout the course of the film. Defining moments in the film were elevated by sharp dynamics and room filling surround sound. Later in the film there are two chase scenes. The first is on foot and takes place in a train station while the second is a brief car chase. The mix made great use of the musical score to drive the system to heighten the tense onscreen action. The sounds of ricocheting bullets, roaring subway trains, crashing fences and speeding vehicles all came to life through a delicate balance of discrete panning and spatial ambient effects. This was not just the case with the aggressive elements contained within the soundtrack. Subtle and soft moments were clearly audible thanks to excellent detail and crystal clarity.

The video presentation was good but not among the best I have seen. First off this film was intentionally shot using rainy days as a backdrop. This immediately lends itself to less than vibrant and bright looking images. Resolution didn't appear to be at the level that creates the rich detail and deep texture associated with the better high definition Blu-ray has to offer. Colors were well saturated and natural while skin tones appeared well delineated and lifelike. Blacks were not very dynamic but looked deep enough so as not to appear dark gray. Shadow detail was very good at times and lacking in dimensional depth at others. My overall impression was that there was a decent balance between Whites, blacks and visible detail in low light and dark areas. I didn't see any signs of block or mosquito type video noise. Those who own the DVD and are considering an upgrade will probably find that this is a definite improvement. How much of an improvement I can't say for sure.

Bonus Features:

The Bonus features are sparse and include a feature commentary, 4 deleted scenes and a CIA training documentary. I found these to be less than entertaining and quite honestly one big yawn.

  • Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program

  • Feature Commentary with Director Roger Donaldson nad Colin Farrell

  • 4 Deleted Scenes

  • Movie Showcase - 3 scenes selected by filmmakers to highlight the best HD audio/video

Final Thoughts:

The Recruit is an entertaining film that starts out much stronger than it finishes. I am not sure what kind of fan base it has but for those looking to upgrade to high definition I suspect that this will offer tangible results. Casual interest would benefit from a rental first.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 12:45 PM
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Great review Ralph, as always!

Even better, is the confirmation that Disney rectified the AR of the movie compared to the import versions (which I hear are 1.85:1)
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 01:12 PM
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I recall seeing this on DVD at 1.85:1, and on the back of the box, they touted that the director had chosen to change it to this ratio for whatever reason. Still, I'm glad that we are able to see it how it was originally shown in theaters.

As always, excellent review Ralph!


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post #4 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 05:25 PM
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The 2.35 Aspect Ratio is the only special feature I needed.

Thanks Ralph.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 06:19 PM
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The UK Import BD is also 2.35:1.

Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (updated through July 13, 2017)
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 07:07 PM
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Another Cover Art misprint by BVHE.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Shane Martin View Post

The 2.35 Aspect Ratio is the only special feature I needed.

Thanks Ralph.

+1 (DVD holdout)
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