Movie Review: Total Recall
Aug 4, 2012 / 5:00 pm
While I'm not overly fond of remakes per se, they can sometimes offer fresh and creative new ways to present old material and be quite entertaining. Unfortunately this is not the case with the new version of Total Recall as it is neither fresh nor original in its approach. In fact, it's quite empty and hollow and just made me want to go back and watch the 1990 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger on which this film is based on.
Well, technically, it's based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" but since the filmmakers pretty much ripped off most of what was in the original (including the three boobed hooker) we can see what inspired them. And one thing that this film is not is inspired. In fact it's just a mind numbingly loud action film with lots of gunfire and explosions and not much of a point to it.
For those of you that haven't seen the original, I'll break down the plot for you. It's near the end of the 21st century and the Earth has been reduced to a mostly uninhabitable wasteland, with groups of humans living in the United Kingdom and Australia (now known simply as the Colony). The Colony is mostly comprised of factory workers, who have to travel through the Earth's core to the UK to go to work building an army's worth of robot police. Bored and frustrated with his mundane existence, factory worker Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) decides to check out Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories and he chooses to have the memories of a real life secret agent implanted in him. When the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man and he finds himself on the run from the police as well as his duplicitous wife (Kate Beckinsale), who are all working for Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world, who might just have a nefarious agenda. Quaid ends up teaming with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen from executing his evil plan.
Directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld), Total Recall is a slickly produced, big budget science fiction action film that may look good on the surface but is ultimately lifeless. Sure it has some cool effects and visuals, including an aesthetic reminiscent of Blade Runner, but I just never felt invested in the fate of the characters. The script consists of mostly poor dialogue such as Kate Beckinsale saying "I give good wife" or Colin Farrell always lamenting "If I'm not me, then who am I?" Quite frankly I didn't really care all that much.
Whereas the original film was fun, this new version has a decidedly less jovial tone and therefore is a lot less fun to sit through. Look, the bottom line is that Total Recall isn't a horrible movie, but it isn't particularly good either. I know that some people will be completely satisfied with this noisy blend of special effects and action and that's fine, but personally I demand a little more than mediocrity from my film going experience.
For a movie built around memories, sadly, it's quite forgettable.
I give Total Recall a 5 out of 10.
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