The actor made his big screen debut with the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before adolescent trilogy. Since then, at least on streaming services, his career has taken off, with three additional Netflix films featuring him receiving rapid approval. Netflix pays attention when the algorithm and Instagram follower count talk. To be fair, perhaps Netflix wasn’t the only company vying for Centineo’s undeniable appeal.
He was also cast by Warner Bros. as Atom Smasher in the Dwayne Johnson film Black Adam, which was eventually released in theatres. However, with DC now being managed by new executives, it is unclear what will become of his future in the franchise. But movies can only provide Netflix with a two-hour hit at once. Therefore, Centineo receiving his TV series was inevitable just think of all those engagement hours!
The result is The Recruit, an eight-part action-adventure espionage thriller that promised fun, antics, and pranks but eventually devolves into a muddled mess where you can’t keep track of anyone’s intentions or devotion – or maybe you simply don’t care to. The plot centers on Owen (Centineo), a recent law school graduate and adrenaline enthusiast who joins the CIA in the counsel’s office. He should be primarily at his workstation, rearranging papers. He is then tasked with cleansing some old files of threats made against the CIA by crazy people who claim to have confidential material that they would release if their demands are not satisfied. Alternatively, they may be intended to be unfounded until one file appears to have a foundation.
Laura Haddock’s character, Max Meladze, is detained in Arizona while awaiting a murder trial. She is the one who has the dark secrets, which prove to be quite genuine indeed. When Owen, a rookie legal eagle, is appointed to handle the case for a suspension of disbelief reason, he becomes involved in a variety of murky activities including dubious field agents, traditional corruption, global betrayal, and some Russians. It’s perplexing to watch as The Recruit follows a logical storyline down a rabbit hole and never emerges.
The Recruit had a promising beginning, but it lost its way and added additional components along the way, such as Owen’s coworkers, a possible love set-up, his housemates, and pals, so much so that there is now too much swirling about for you to grasp. And it gets increasingly tougher to persuade you to pay attention once you lose interest in any of the characters.
Doug Liman, best known for directing The Bourne Identity and other exuberantly entertaining films like Go, Edge of Tomorrow, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, served as the series’ setup director, who creates the spirit and aesthetic of the show. Although Liman does a wonderful job in the first few episodes, the show’s eight episodes couldn’t have been sustained by the narrative and writing alone. The scripts struggle with an arc-led tale because creator and showrunner Alexi Hawley’s expertise is mostly in broadcast procedurals like Castle and The Rookie.
The Recruit is ultimately too light and confusing to be anything more than a hollow star vehicle, even though Centineo is undeniably endearing and the rest of the ensemble ranges from forgettable to decent.