Movie Review: Total Recall (2012)

Before you see the movie, Check out our review of “Total Recall”, starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale.

Total Recall is a 2012 American science fiction action film, based on the 1990 film of the same name and by extension the 1966 short storyWe Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Unlike the original film, the plot for the 2012 film lacks a trip to Mars and contains strongpolitical overtones. In addition, the film takes place in both Western and Eastern settings, due to the fact that the two nation states, United Federation of Britain and the The Colony, are battling for political power.

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall – a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led – goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.

The futuristic science fiction story starts off well, but ends up flattening out by its conclusion. The film runs to about 2 hours; however it isn’t the story that gets it there; it is the action. The plot is what it is, but lacks the mind puzzles and plot of the original.

With that said, the futuristic setting and backdrops are fantastic, creating an atmosphere fit for the story. The action is highly stylized and backed by some excellent cinematography.

Len Wiseman’s remake of the same name replaces Arnold with Colin Farrell, in his first lead action role in years, while eliminating Mars as the backdrop of the action and replacing it with an overpopulated Earth where transportation from one corner to another occurs, literally, straight through the center of the earth. The rugged subterranean mazes of the red planet are replaced with dizzying skyscrapers and lots of sleek, flying cars, not unlike Philip K. Dick’s own “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report”.

Farrell can act and is definitely a strong action lead and it shows here, as per the beautiful ladies Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel who both show off brawn over beauty here. Alas, everything is taken way too seriously in this version. I have fonder memories of the Verhoeven/Arnold version where one-liners come post-Arnie-kill. Gone. Certain characters are trimmed or even cut completely from the original. Bryan Cranston’s Cohaagen makes me miss Ronny Cox even more, and Bill Nighy’s resistance leader doesn’t stand out compared to the 1990 film. The best thing the screenwriters did is to combine Sharon Stone’s and Michael Ironside’s characters from the 1990 film into one, and as portrayed by Kate Beckinsale, she kicks serious ass here.

The script is a near complete rehash of the original, save for the setting and the final act of the film. The scene where Bokeem Woodbine’s character tries to convince Quaid (Farrell) that he’s still in a dream is certainly a standout scene which was very well done. Alas, the majority of the movie is laced with action sequences and sensational special effects (seriously, this is CGI porn) that may get this film a nomination for Best Visual Effects this year. No kidding. While the editing is fast-paced and the cinematography sleek (with a little too much lens flare ala J. J. Abrams), the music score by Harry Gregson- Williams was kind of bland in my opinion. It was just there, does its job, and I didn’t care. Where’s Marco Beltrami; or even for that matter his legendary mentor, the late, great Jerry Goldsmith when you need them?

Director Wiseman has a knack for action sequences (“Underworld”, “Die Hard 4”) and it shows aplenty here. Sadly the script could’ve been a whole lot better, but then again, if they had set it on Mars it would’ve been a shot-for-shot remake with better characters, but still I would’ve loved to see action on the Red planet once again. The PG-13 rating is justified, and there are indeed little homages to the original, but overall this remake is nothing more than a fast-paced, popcorn munching good waste of time, with some really nice CGI to chew on.

3 templar crosses out of 5

Total Recall falls short of story, but exceeds with action. If it were the other way around, this picture would have been better. Nevertheless, it is a good sit through.


Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, a construction worker suffering from strange violent dreams.
Kate Beckinsale as Lori Quaid, Quaid’s “wife” who’s really a agent
Jessica Biel as Melina, a member of the Resistance and Quiad’s love interest
Bryan Cranston as Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupt and ruthless president of the UFB.
Bokeem Woodbine as Harry, Quaid’s “best” friend
Bill Nighy as Matthias Lair, the rebel leader
John Cho as Bob McClane, a rep for Rekall who offers Quaid the chance to experience an imagined adventure
Steve Byers as Henry Reed, only appears on a faked passport of Quaid
Kaitlyn Leeb as The Seductive Woman (aka Three-Breasted Woman

Directed by Len Wiseman
Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe
Screenplay by Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Story by Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Jon PovillKurt Wimmer
Based on “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick

-Brian Lansangan
Follow me on Twitter @MrSnugglenutz84

About Eric Chacon 261 Articles
A level headed rebel with a cause. I'm an amateur filmmaker, graphic novelist, editor, animator and artist. I love life, art, family and my friends. Doing my best to enlighten and entertain at the same time! "Stop consuming and start producing. Be who you were meant to be."

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