REVIEW: Total Recall

In this stylized remake of the original Arnold Schwarzenegger movie we have Colin Farrell taking the role of Douglas Quaid. Douglas is a factory worker that is troubled by reoccurring nightmares and one night he decides to try a place called Rekall – a company that provides fake memories. His life is turned upside down when things don’t go as planned. Total Recall is a huge action/adventure that takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth where only two countries remain. In order to get to each country the government created a massive underground elevator called “The Fall”. Total Recall is full of promise, but it never lives up to its predecessor. It ultimately feels like an unnecessary remake of a much better film.

Len Wiseman, the director of the Underworld movies brings his ability to take great ideas and make them into mediocre messes on screen. The subtle changes they make to the story are not made to enrich the story; they are made to set themselves apart from the original. The new Total Recall still manages to have its nods to Arnie’s version including the famous three breasted woman. However, this version of the story isn’t set on Mars, so there aren’t any aliens. Total Recall (2012) is set on a post-World War 3 Earth where a three breasted woman might want to get that looked at because she may have some radiation issues. The cast does what it can with the story. Colin Farrell is serviceable as Doug. Kate Beckensale (Lori) manages to be very attractive, and is perfect for the action role, but all her character does is chase Doug around the entire movie. Jessica Beil (Melina) spends the whole movie looking at Doug longingly in hopes that he will begin to remember her. All the characters are very one dimensional. My complaints aren’t with the cast, it’s with the re-imaging and lack of execution that makes me feel that this movie should have never been made. Personally I am OK with remakes if they retell a story and add to it, making it something fresh and new. Total Recall never feels new, and it doesn’t have its own soul. In one scene you have a fist fight on an elevator between Kate Beckensale and Jessica Biel. This is something you would expect every man in the audience to pay attention to, but somehow it’s largely unsatisfying. I never understood how you can make a fight scene boring, but after watching a lot of Len Wiseman’s previous work I feel like he’s cornered the market in audience yawns. Visually this movie is very appealing, and there are some scenes that are worth a matinee, even if it’s only to get you out of the summer heat for a couple hours.

RATING: 2 out of 4

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