When the newly adopted daughter of American couple Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) goes missing while the family is abroad, they quickly discover that all is not what it seems with the adoption agency - and find themselves in a fight for their lives when they encounter Benjamin (John Cusack) and Reigert (Jacki Weaver), the culprits behind a high-stakes human-trafficking ring. To expose the truth and save their daughter, Steven and Shannon will have to risk everything...including their lives.
Poor John Cusack. I genuinely feel awful that his career has been reduced to doing some of the worst direct-to-Blu-ray movies. I grew up on his '80s gems 'Better Off Dead' and 'One Crazy Summer.' In my teenage years, I got into his '90s greats, like 'Grosse Pointe Blank' and 'Being John Malkovich.' The early 2000s kicked off well with 'High Fidelity,' 'Serendipity' and 'Identity.' 'The Ice Harvest,' '1408' and 'Hot Tub Time Machine' were pretty good, but he hasn't been able to land a worthy title in years. Since then, he's pumped out several movies each year, but you'd only know it if you frequently browse through the new never-heard-of options featured on Netflix. From what I've seen and heard, they're all bad, and 'Reclaim' is no exception.
The premise to 'Reclaim' isn't at all bad. In fact, it carries the potential of being a creepy and tense thriller, only it never comes close to reaching that potential. Ryan Phillippe ('The Lincoln Lawyer') and Rachelle Lefevre ('Twilight') star as Steven and Shannon, a young wealthy American couple that travels abroad to meet and pick up their new daughter from an adoption agency. Although their dreams of parenthood bring them to Puerto Rico, their gorgeous young child Nina comes from Haiti. After her parents were killed in the devastating earthquake of 2010, Nina was rescued and brought to Puerto Rico for refuge. Unable to have children of their own, Steven and Shannon could not be happier to have Nina come into their lives. Nina seems to be the perfect model child content to have finally found a nice couple to take her in – but there's trouble beneath the surface in paradise.
After picking up Nina from the wonderfully accommodating and helpful agency, headed by Jackie Weaver of 'Animal Kingdom,' the new small family spends a few days at a seaside resort while waiting for Nina's passport and legal documentation to be finalized. It's at this slice of heaven-on-earth that they meet another American spending time there. Benjamin (Cusack) is a contractor working in Puerto Rico. Looking for some rest and relaxation, he's decided to spend a few days with his local pals at the resort. As friendly as he seems, there's something about his chain e-cigarette-smoking persona that's unsettling. Not only do we, as viewers, feel the unease, but Steven and Shannon do too. After sensing his creepy vibe, they head back to the wildly populated capital to bide their time waiting for Nina's documents to come in.
Once away from Benjamin, the happiness ensues until the unexpected happens. Steven wakes up early one morning to find Nina missing from their completely locked high-rise hotel room. They check the security camera footage, ask the staff and seek the help of police, but there's absolutely no sign of Nina leaving the hotel nor being kidnapped. When Steven and Shannon randomly run into Benjamin and Company shortly thereafter, they immediately become suspicious of their involvement.
At this point, we're about halfway through 'Reclaim.' The revelations are about to unfold, but I cannot mention them without taking you all the way through the end of the movie. The plot unfolds so slowly that it's a drag up until this point. Even then, once we know what's going on, there's only one direction for it to go. The pace picks up, but knowing the route that it has to take still makes it feel like it moves at a snails pace.
There's definitely room in the final act of 'Reclaim' for some thrills. With an R rating, there's no excuse for it not delivering the goods; however, it takes a nasty turn away from cinematic content and towards made-for-TV mediocrity. Featuring some of the worst special effects, it feels like a Syfy original "film," only without the supposed science fiction.
Again, the plot and dichotomy of 'Reclaim' – which I cannot explain without spoiling the entire movie – have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, due to a faulty screenplay and supremely sub-par special effects, it doesn't come anywhere close to reaching its potential. I can think of a thousand other movies and TV series worth watching over 'Reclaim,' but only a handful of titles that are actually worse than it. No matter how cheap this disc gets nor how curious you might be, do not waste you time on 'Reclaim.'
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate has placed 'Reclaim' on a Region A BD-25 disc, slapped it into a standard blue elite keepcase, slipped it into an embossed cardboard slipcover and included an Ultraviolet redemption code. After popping the disc into your player, you'll be forced to watch an FBI warning, a Lionsgate vanity reel and a commentary disclaimer prior to skippable trailers for 'The Frozen Ground,' 'A Good Man,' 'A Most Wanted Man,' 'The Prince' and a commercial for Epix.
'Reclaim' may feature a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode of digitally shot footage, but it's doesn't carry the strikingly crisp and smooth feel that we expect and deserve. Instead, all footage looks like a cross between an overly raw Michael Mann movie and a cheap reality TV series.
Think of a flaw – any flaw – and it can be found in 'Reclaim.' They are all present here. Noise arises sporadically. Bands appear in every single graded area of the screen. With many nighttime scenes and dark settings, wicked amounts of black crush arise.
The video is absolutely clear and crisp, but it's not as detailed as you'd expect. From time to time, textures of clothing and fine facial details can be seen, but it's not consistent. The color palette is fairly mild, but nature elements carry nice strong colorization. The aqua blue ocean is alluring and the jungle locations are lushly green. Aside from those, expect a rather mild and slightly brighter-than-usual feel.
'Reclaim' features a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that's worlds better than both the movie itself and the video quality. Although not perfect, the sound is easily the best aspect of this entire disc.
The main feature kicks off with a stellar loud and clear Lionsgate vanity reel that made me thinking, 'There's no way that the audio of the movie itself is this dynamic.' For the most part, I was wrong. Compared to the music during the Lionsgate reel, the movie's generic score is fairly flat. Lacking dynamics, it's the weakest link in the mix, but it's still not bad. Music plays through all channels lightly, but doesn't add much to the overall mix. That is literally the only complaint that I have with this lossless track.
After a slew of production company vanity reels, the movie kicks off with a beautiful beachside scenic shot of the ocean. The peacefulness is deceptive because an earthquake is about rock inland behind our POV. As this happens, you'll hear gently rolling waves in the front of the theater while the rumbly ground collapses and breaks into chaos from the rear speakers. Effects are mixed well throughout. With a few speeding and crashing car moments, there's plenty of seamless imaging. During tranquil outdoors scenes, you'll hear birds and breeze actively and dynamically throughout all channels. And in the final moments of the movie, as an unseen series of police and rescue vehicles near the scene, the sounds of sirens comes in so naturally from the rear channels that I literally cocked my head to see if fire engines were coming down the lane.
With all three elements of the mix – the music, the vocals and the effects – working together well, the audio is quite impressive given the rest of the content on this disc.
'Reclaim' is worth avoiding at all costs. Although filled with potential, the movie itself is so bad that there's no redeeming quality to it. The half-of-a-star rating that it earned is only there because of the plot's potential. Unfortunately, it never reaches it. Known and proven (in the past) actors John Cusack, Jacki Weaver and Ryan Phillippe don't help in the slightest. It's simply a bad movie. The video quality is lackluster; however, the audio and special features are surprisingly solid – but don't let that fool you. 'Reclaim' is entirely worth skipping.