Total Recall (2012)

There are many reasons for remakes. A bit of nostalgia for the original audience, and a potentially new concept for a different generation of movie-goers, to name a few. Personally, I never saw the original Total Recall out of a complete lack of interest, and I only saw the remake because I watched my friend working on the design for the cars (what up TEA) and Kate Beckinsale is incredibly gorgeous (not to ignore Jessica Biel). In the end, those were the only interesting parts.


Randy…I mean, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is drawn to a company called Rekall where memories are implanted into the minds of customers to give them a better life than the mundane one they are currently living. It’s like a dream that stays with you and is more vivid. When he tries getting the procedure done, it sets off a series of unraveling events that open a web of lies, deceit and politically motivated espionage that shows Quaid is not who he thinks he is, nor is his wife, Lori (Beckinsale). Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy round out the cast.

When discussing this version—although I’ve heard it’s similar to the original—it is difficult to not think, “Ok, this is the Damon Bourne series mixed with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and a hint of I, Robot.” However, both of the former films have much more complex plots with growing intrigue as the film progresses. Total Recall, on the other hand, gives you the premise and moves into an hour-long chase scene with no new, relevant information presented.

An action film that provides so much action to the point of boredom is not a good sign. After Farrell’s faux mind is unearthed, the rest of the movie is literally a chase scene. It barely slows down and never, at any moment, provides a twist. That could be considered a spoiler, but bearing in mind the entire plot is given in the trailer, I feel the need to save you some time.

The visuals of the film are underserved. The futuristic technology is amazing as the different tools and devices have the most interesting functions, but we are not given a chance to really comprehend what is being shown as the scenes move from one to the next almost immediately. Even the scenery is given little chance to shine. The sets clearly required intricate details that sadly go unnoticed due to the aforementioned movements.

Some people have complained about the choice of Farrell for the role and mentioned names like Sam Worthington. Maybe he would have fit better in the context of the role and film, but any detraction from the character of Douglas Quaid was not a result of Farrell’s acting. Meanwhile, Beckinsale switches from an American to an English accent and back throughout the film, so after a while I stopped listening to what she was saying. This isn’t a misogynistic comment; she had very little to say once Lori was chasing Doug since she was spending the time crotch-tackling and not dying—seriously, the woman just won’t die despite repeated organ-bruising hits and bone-breaking falls. Anything she said during this span was just to give the slower audience members an idea of what was happening—“He is beginning to figure out what’s going on!”

So, where does the Total Recall of 2012 fall in the “Should I Watch” spectrum? Somewhere between “Random Saturday FX Feature” and “No.” A movie that skips on the plot, goes for action and still takes itself seriously is not a good recipe for success. At least The Expendables 2 is supposedly funny.

    • lushlili
    • August 21st, 2012

    Hmmm… I still want to watch this 😀 I like to watch movies even if people think they are bad.

    It is a highly anticipated film and I do recommend you watch the original!

    • I am the same way. I still want to see Paranorman even though most reviews so far have been negative.

      I’ll probably check out the original eventually. It’s just not on my immediate watch list haha

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