A Second Opinion: Total Recall Review

This is the second review of Total Recall by Terrence. You can read Micah's review here

When one thinks of Total Recall, you're first thought is the 1990 Schwarzenegger cult classic. What we have here is another remake that didn't seem necessary. What was a campy action movie with charm turns into a banal run of the mill action laden snore fest.

We are introduced to a world at the end of the 21st century that has been ravaged by chemical warfare. The inhabited world is now divided into two land masses. The opulent United federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony located on Australia which for some reason looks like China. These two land masses are connected by a transporter called The Fall. A giant elevator that goes through the core of the earth. The Science in this completely escapes me. It's here that we meet Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell). An assembly line worker who is none to pleased with his life. He keeps having a recurring dream that strengthens this feeling and he isn't sure why. This drives him to visit Rekall. A place that implants memories into your brain and allows you to live out whatever fantasy you desire. While setting up his trip, things go crazy and he finds out that things are not what they seem to be. When he leaves Rekall he finds his wife Lori (Kate Bekinsale) is trying to kill him and after a fairly decent yet all too familiar chase scene we meet up with freedom fighter Melina (Jessica Beil) who is tasked in helping him remember who he is. From here on out we get what I have dubbed Quaid Runner.

The movies plot quickly takes a back seat to chase scene after chase scene with enemies that were taught at the Cobra Commander school of weapons training. They couldn't hit the broad side of a barn let alone a moving target. None of it is particularly spectacular or memorable. It's all just extremely dull. The action drives its way to the inevitable conclusion with the true danger Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) which was also very anticlimactic. Throughout the movie, they throw in some nods for those that have seen the original movie. One in particular is so out of place they should have scrapped it all together. The biggest problem I had was that it was hard to care about anything going on as the movie never really shows the struggle or plight of the Colony. So what is the fight for. Hell, Quaid's apartment looks pretty stylish to me.

The one thing that is done right is the design of the locales. The Colony is clearly inspired by Blade Runner and The UFB is pretty much a throwback to Minority report. It's clear this movie had a budget and the CG shows it. However that's not saying much as the best part of Batman and Robin was also the set design and we all know that was god awful.

In the end, Farrell was serviceable, Beckinsale reprized her roll as the death dealer from Underworld as she was a bad ass Beil was meh and Cranston is always awesome. The plot was paper thin the action was abundant yet boring and the film as a whole was just dumb. It's sad when your exhausted after watching an action movie and its for the wrong reason.

Rating = Dumb out of 5

We will talk Total Recall in depth on this week's episode of The Nerdpocalypse podcast

Review: Total Recall

Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale and the 1990 film of the same name, Total Recall is set on a dystopian futuristic Earth where chemical warfare has ravaged all but two areas, the United Federation of Britain (where apparently only one person has an British accent) and the Colony (a mix of Australia and Asia, or as I like to call it, Austrasia). Colin Ferrall plays factory worker Douglas Quaid.  Unhappy with his mundane existence, Quaid decides to visit Rekall, a company that specializes in implanting memories of a more exciting life.  While at Rekall, Quaid finds out that his memory has been altered before and that the life he's leading may not be real.  Quaid discovers that he was a double agent sent in to infiltrate and sabotage a resistance movement but eventually went rouge.  Quaid must find out whether his life as a factory worker, with wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale), is real or if his life as a member of the resistance, with lover Melina (Jessica Biel) is genuine.

This movie is very middle-of-the-road.  It does nothing of note to distinguish itself from the 1990 Paul Verhoeven film.  Say what you will about the 1990 Total Recall but it's over-the-top acting, corny dialog and ridiculous amount of unnecessary violence at least make that movie memorable.  This new Total Recall feels very bland and somewhat forgettable.  Colin Farrell does a decent job of carrying this movie.  He's very different from Arnold Schwarzenegger's corny, one-liner spewing, meat head.  Farrell's version of Quaid is an actual human being and not a walking stereotype.  However, its a double edge sword.  Farrell is played straight but ultimately not unique while Schwarzenegger's cornball dialog and terrible delivery is completely memorable (even if it is for the wrong reasons).  The rest of the cast is hit or miss.  Kate Beckinsale seems to enjoy being relevant again, Jessica Biel just seems lost, and Bryan Cranston seems to enjoy mixing it up with Farrell as one of the films villains.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend a movie that I almost fell asleep through.  If you truly want to check this out, wait for it to hit cable.  For everyone else, get your ass to Mars as its probably the furthest place you can be from this rather boring movie.

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