Review: Total Recall (2012)
- Starring: Colin Farrell (Alexander), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld), Jessica Biel (The A-Team), and more.
- Directed by: Len Wiseman
- Synopsis: “Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.”
- Rated: Rated PG-13 scifi action and violence, language, and brief nudity
Total Recall…remade, only this time without Arnold Schwarzenegger, now promises more updated visual effects, action, and mind-boggling twists and adventure. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld) directs his wife Kate Beckinsale, along with Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), and Bokeem Woodbine in this visually impressive remake attempt of the 1990 science fiction thriller of the same name.
The cast in this film performs admirably, though not at the level of unforgettable. Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid, a factory worker in a futuristic world. Not quite satisfied with his routine life, the idea of implanting super-spy memories into his mind sounds appealing. Things get crazy when the procedure goes wrong and the line between fact and fiction gets confusingly blurry. The rest of the cast add to the adventure in their respective roles. Their performances, however, give way to the impressive (albeit overused) visuals that define the majority of the appeal of this film.
A great visual presentation and cast does not automatically equate to a fantastic movie though (remember Sucker Punch?). With credit to more than six different writers, this edition of the reality-questioning story ends up losing its direction and never quite stands out as its own individual film. There were times when I found myself questioning again just exactly why the villains in the film were indeed considered evil and why I should care about Jessica Biel’s character other than to see her and Kate Beckinsale throw down. It introduces some new characters while also re-using some of the original’s characters as well (enter a new “iconic” 3-boobed prostitute).
While trying to create its own identity (separate from the original), it loses itself as several elements of the original movie are paired with themes and plots that will remind viewers of other films (such as The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Fifth Element, Star Wars: Ep. II, and I, Robot). A hodge podge of plots and ideas mixed up with the original story causes distraction, confusion, and less relation to the characters as a whole.
Total Recall impresses with its computerized visuals but not by much more. Loaded with many different cliché action sequences, in more ways than one I guarantee “You’ve seen it all before.” While it is not a bad movie, I do recall (pardon the pun) watching far better science fiction movies…including, as Fogs’ Movie Reviews states, the original Total Recall.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars for Total Recall
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer