Total Recall review

Len Wiseman
Colin Farrell
Kate Beckinsale
Jessica Biel
Bryan Cranston
Rated: PG-13

The only thing this “Total Recall” did was make me recall how much I enjoyed the original more.

“Total Recall” is a sci-fi remake of a 1990 film of the same name which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. The remake is much like the original, following a man named Douglas Quaid, a construction worker who is having a recurring nightmare of him and a woman being chased by armed men. The added stress eventually has him go to a place where memories can be implanted called “Rekall.”

After going there, though, he begins finding out that he actually had his memory erased and replaced and turns out to be a different person all together. It turns out that our main character is actually a special agent named Hauser and is a in the mix of a huge civil war between two major factions on Earth. Once he realizes this he has to join forces with a woman named Melina (Biel) to fight off the people who are now after him and try to figure out who he really is.

The remake of “Total Recall” is fast paced and is filled with a lot of great detail and action pieces. However, when it’s all over the whole film feels dry and empty. For the most part, it’s basically just the same movie as the last one, however this lacks the charisma and the fun that the original had. There’s nothing really here that gives the film any emotion or character and it turns the movie into just a subpar sci-fi action flick. What’s worse is the ending they give this is completely anti-climactic and rips off “I Robot.”

There hasn’t been a film yet that’s really impressed me with Colin Farrell and this is no different. He’s not necessarily bad, he delivers what he does well, yet he never adds anything extra. There’s never a moment, especially in this movie where he breathes life into the character. This is even worse here as he is trying to fill the role that Schwarzenegger made. Now say what you will about Arnold, but he did bring some charisma and even a bit of charm to his movies and made for some memorable characters, the one in the original “Total Recall” included. Farrell is unable to do this here and makes for a boring lead.

Kate Beckinsale, who played Hauser’s fake wife and eventually was one of the people hunting him, wasn’t all too bad here, bringing ferocity to the character, however I never felt like the motives behind the character itself were made clear. Jessica Biel was in the film and didn’t really add much at all, just playing the part of the love interest.

The best highlight of the movie is the setting. The world that is created here is superb, being well crafted and incredibly detailed, making it seem very real and nice to look at.

From the look of the slums to the high end sky-scrapers, everything here makes for a good looking futuristic sci-fi city. There were also a couple great action scenes, one being a cool chase scene and the other being a battle in a futuristic elevator shaft. Unfortunately, the final battle doesn’t live up to these two earlier pieces in the film.

The 2012 “Total Recall” didn’t really seem necessary and the final product backs that up.

The film doesn’t add enough things that are new and exciting and the characters and actors portraying them turn out to be more often than not boring. Without the name, this looks like just another subpar sci-fi action film. The film tried living up to something though by being a remake of the 1990 film, and it failed to do so in that, and other regards.

However, there was just enough entertainment value to put this at a high 2 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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