Total Recall remake (2012)
Director: Len Wiseman
In the future; the world's gone to shit (what else is new) and we can only live on two hemispheres; the rich live on one, the poor on the other. Lowly factory worker Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is bored (even though he has a hot wife he should be nailing 24/7) and he craves more out of life, so he goes to ReKall, a place where they implant memories into your grey matter to make it seem like you experienced something grand. But once there, the “be careful what you wish for” saying rings true and everybody and their uncle’s bitch is suddenly trying to kill Quaid. He has to find out WHY!
I love the original 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoven two punch TOTAL RECALL. A fun, gory and mind bending ride! It is one of my favorite films of all time; one I keep going back to and yup, I didn’t need a remake. It still holds up like a juiced up champ today. With that, I dig Colin Farrell’s work, Len Wiseman is hit (Underworld) and miss (Die Hard 4) in my bubble of a world and the trailer for this re-do did look pretty money, so I gunned into my screening ready, willing and able to have a blast with it. Here’s how it went down!
First for the people that have seen the original don’t expect any surprises, although some of the WHY is different; at the core this redux had the same plot and twists than the original. With that spat, I dug the set up, the many variations as to the original and for the first half hour or so, I was engaged (in a Captain Picard voice). Colin Farrell, although not as colorful or layered as Arnie was, made for a capable lead and handled himself like a Lundgren with the action stuff. The supporting cast was tight as well, Jessica Biel was credible, kicked mucho ass and looked yum, Bryan Cranston worked when he was onscreen (we didn’t get enough of him) and Bill Nighy had even less screen time; but always good to see the lad. The star of the show in my book was Kate Beckinsale as Lori. Her role was a mix of two characters from the original (Lori and Richter) and she sank her teeth into it and obviously had lots of fun being the bad girl. Moreover, the camera simply loved every inch of her (so did I), she aced the fist to cuffs bits and looked so hot firing that piece, that I almost fired mine (an easy one I know, had to take it). Brit accent, US accent… girl was fine, fine, fine! Definitely THE highlight of the movie for me.
Visually, Wiseman’s on the move camera/slow-mo whoring moments made for some nifty eye candy, the BLADE RUNNER-esque future landscape looked fly and the cinematography was sharp. What about the action you may ask? Hey we got lots of well choreographed/executed hand to hand get-downs (dug that cat fight), a very cool flying car chase bit and countless shootouts that went from gnarly to boring. More on that last comment later. Finally, I appreciated the novel Sci-Fi gadgets (the palm phones or that train tube that traveled between the two hemispheres) and the cute nods to the original (even though the three titted girl made no sense within this story; no mutants in here, but all good). Which brings me to my beefs with this sucka! As the clock ticked forward, I became less and less interested in it. Sure we had plenty of action, but it came with little impact. There was no edge here, no suspense and not enough WOW moments. The set pieces quickly became redundant and kinda pointless. I get it, he's running and killing robots, lets move on! When action sequences have me say: “okay, that’s nice, who cares”; you know something is rotten in Denmark. I'm an easy audience man, entertain me clown! Entertain me!
Ditto for the story, it’s almost like they forgot that they were telling one, hence I forgot to give a shit about it. It's hard to stay in the game when there are next to zero stakes tagged to it. After a while I was clocking this one in a half in, half out manner; more concerned with my impending grocery list than what was onscreen. I just didn't give a f*ck. Am sure that the overabundance of (sometimes dodgy) CGI didn’t help matters. I was pissing and shitting CG after my screening. When the environment doesn’t look tangible and the threats come off as rejects out of a video game, a film can lose its grip on an audience; and that’s what happened to me here. Tag to that lack of true violence (which sadly hurt this one, hard to stir me when you're playing it so damn safe) and the film FAILING at toying with me via the” is it ReKall or is it real” device and you get a let down. If the original TOTAL RECALL was a bowl of hot and spicy chilli filled to the brim with bite; this redux would be a 3 day old McDonald cheeseburger, with no cheese in it. See it on DVD or not at all, you’re not missing much!
Some LIGHT blood, that’s it.
T & A
We get a three titted topless chick and I can stare at Becksinsale’s ass, in tight clothes, all day. The ladies and gay dudes get Farrell looking cut shirtless.
TOTAL RECALL had a badass cast (with Beckinsale stealing the show) some good ideas and a handful of standout action bits but alas, it lacked in edge and tension and after a while I forgot that there was a story unraveling; just a f*ck load of CGI and peeps tumbling around it. I got detached pretty fast and looking back there was nothing memorable here. No joke, two hours after, I forgot I saw a movie. That's not what you want from Total f*cking Recall. It is an ideal action flick to bring the kiddies to though, they’ll love it! It’s safe and dryer than Betty White on a cold day. Me? It made me esteem the original even more. Enough pussy for one day. Bring on The Expendables 2!
Total Recall was based on "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick.
Colin Farrell was in Minority Report (also based on a Philip K. Dick short story) which was at first conceived to be a sequel to the original Total Recall.