It was an inadvertently inspired substitution, though, because like '24' The Recruit may not be good, it may not be plausible, but I kind of feel it was designed for the enjoyment of people like me. And that makes me feel affectionate to it.
In other words, this was a shallow fantasy film, but it was my kind of fantasy for a change - great! The characters may be wafer thin but at least they were supposed to be dangerous and violent and sexy. And the acting was delicious for the most part. Way OTT particularly on the part of Al Pacino, but what do you expect?
An enjoyable relationship between the two leads:
"Pacino seems engaged by Farrell (if not by the script) and eggs him on like a trainer who wants to see what his show pony can do. They put on quite a display. "
"As a thriller, The Recruit is merely an entertaining ride. But remember: Nothing is what it seems. It's the subtext -- two actors from different generations faking each other out with skill and affection -- that counts. "
I could have done without the 'father complex' stuff that was grafted on to Farrell's character development. Not sure if it was put there to (a) appease the Hollowood system (every film has to explore the father/son relationship or else) or (b) provide spurious justification for the obvious emotional tension between the younger and older male characters. It's unnecessary and cringe-inducing. I recommend the 'la la I'm not listening' approach.
Apart from that - disengage critical faculties, and enjoy. I think you know where I'm coming from ladies.