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February 03, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-03

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 3, 2003


Twists, excitement
prevail in Recruit'

Death lingers too
long in 'Destination'

By Matthew Wright Hollerbach
Daily Arts Writer
Obvious comparisons can be made
between "The Recruit" and "Spy

tive associate, the film still manages to
succeed in its own right.
James Clayton (Colin Farrell,
"Minority Report") is a young soft-
ware engineer with a promising

By Zach Mabee
For the Daily

Game." Both feature an
acclaimed veteran actor
paired with a young up-
and-comer. Both show
an experienced senior
CIA agent mentoring a
younger, detached,
rugged and stunningly
handsome recruit. And
both attempt to portray a
very realistic and believ-

At Showcase, Quality
16 and Madstone

career ahead of him.
Moonlighting as a bar-
tender one evening,
Clayton happens upon a
customer who seems to
know a little too much
about him. After some
chat, he is revealed as
Walter Burke (Al Paci-
no), a CIA recruiter who
is interested in Clayton's

Courtesy o ouchstone

I know it was you Farrell, I know it was you. You broke my heart!

able CIA. In the end, however, "The
Recruit" takes its own path. While not
exceeding the success of its compara-

physical and computer prowess. Clay-
ton is initially not interested and
rejects Burke, but Burke finds Clay-

ton's vulnerability: his father. Clayton
had always known his father as an oil
company rep who died tragically in a
plane accident, but when Burke hints
that his death may be CIA-related,

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Clayton grabs the opportunity to find
out more.
After getting to "the farm," the
CIA's training facility, Clayton begins
to form a bond with another trainee,
Layla (Bridget Moynahan, "The Sum
of All Fears"). After intense training
and rigorous testing, Clayton learns
that his first mission is to use his
relationship with Layla, who Burke
claims is a double agent, to find her
handlers. As Clayton gets closer to
his target, he starts to feel increasing-
ly uneasy about his assignment and
uncovers strange facts that cause him
to question the validity of his mis-
sion. This conflict twists and turns
towards a surprise ending that is
mostly unpredictable.
"The Recruit" is an example of
modern Hollywood entertainment that
does not cheapen itself with the con-
ventions of popular 21st century film-
making. Roger Donaldson's directind
is solid and he continues his upward
climb after the critical success of
"Thirteen Days."
Farrell's acting is superb as a con-
fused kid whose inventiveness and
emotion exudes through his expres-
sions, and Pacino remains unparalleled
in a rougher performance than audi-
ences are accustomed to. Moynahan is
also excellent as she skillfully manipu-
lates Farrell through her unimbellished
sexiness. Fast-paced action and con-
stant twists add spunk to the technical-
ly sound film. There are no slow spots
to speak of, and the romantic subplot
skillfully avoids cliche, serving only to
strengthen the film.
While more in the vein of the tradi-
tional action thriller, "The Recruit" is
a compelling journey filled with
intriguing twists and its fair share of

In the first installment of the
"Final Destination" saga, Clear
Rivers (Ali Larter, "Jay and Silent
Bob Strike Back") and several oth-
ers fortuitously escaped death. Fol-
lowing this prescient escape,
however, Clear's friends began dying
mysteriously and of apparently ran-
dom causes. Clear
recognized this phe- 11
nomenon as death's
vindication and subse-
quently committed
herself to an asylumFI
in hopes of escaping DESTIN
the reaper's grasp. At Shov
"Final Destination Qua
2" opens at the home
of Kimberley Corman Nev
(A.J. Cook), as she
and several high school friends
embark upon a journey to Daytona
Beach. As she leaves her home, pay-
ing-keen attention to insignificant
goings on, Kim-
berley has a pre-
monition of
disaster in the
form of a mas-
sive and grue-
some traffic
attempts to pre-
vent the accident
by barricading
the on-ramp with
her SUV, but fate
takes precedent,
and many die,
including the
friends she wasE
vacationing with.
Because of
K im b e rliey's -
efforts, though,
a small group
of would-be Don't move, I'll go g
victims sur-
vives the accident. Not long there-
after, members of this group begin
to mysteriously perish. Kimberley
seeks out Clear's assistance, as she
knows of no means by which to
solve their deadly conundrum.
Finally agreeing to fight with
Kimberley, Clear joins the other
survivors in a brutal struggle to
re-establish death's harmony and
save their own lives, before their
time is up.
While its undertones about
death's retaliatory nature are


somewhat chilling, "Final Desti-
nation 2" utterly fails as a film.
From the outset, one must realize
that "Destination," like the lot of
teenage horror, is intended solely
to titillate audience members
through scenes of grotesque vio-
lence and the occasional dose of
crass humor.
The story is centered upon the
random but systematic deaths of
the survivors of the
wreck, and the focus
is noticeably on their
tragic final moments.
For example, a moth-
AL er is decapitated by
TION 2 getting her head
case and lodged between ele-
y 16 vator doors after a
man with a bucketful
Line of prosthetic arms
accidentally snags
her hair with one of his hooked
limbs. Rather inventive, eh?
Such scenes of the macabre are
fairly well crafted and vivid, but the
rest of the film
is essentially
filler. The flac-
cid script gives
the characters
little personal
appeal. As the
plot progresses,
the characters'
deaths become
almost farcical
and are capable
of evoking
more laughter
than pathos.
The film's
atrocious score
only exacer-
bates such
problems. The
frenetic sound
behind "Desti-
Courtesy of New Line nation" is an
youatowel. absolute
and like the script, it counteracts
the film's suspenseful aims.
"Final Destination 2" lacks the
requisite substance of its subject
matter, and it fails terribly at
thrilling audiences. Its only merit
is fairly well-crafted scenes of
death and dying, and those
become rather predictable and
unappealing progresses.
One can only hope that the mak-
ers of the "Final Destination"
series are aware that their number
has been drawn.



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