Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: Total Recall (2012)

“If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?”

Director: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback

Get your ass to mars! See you at the party Ricter! Get ready for a surprise! Line upon line of cheese and yet the original Total Recall manages to stand up to the test of time. Well maybe the SFX might be a tad dated but still the movie is solid over the top fun. Now I never thought I would ever say this about an Arnold Schwarzenegger but in the wake of watching the new remake, the original is a actually subtler and more thought provoking. So how does the remake fumble the ball? Read on.

Douglas Quaid is a factory worker who isn’t happy with his life. He then hears about Rekall, a company that can implant false memories in a persons mind and have them live out fantasy’s they never could otherwise. The procedure sets off a hidden personality and everything he thought he knew comes crashing down around him. Cut to action scenes and evil baddies being evil.

The biggest problem with Total Recall is when it tries to ape the original it really does suck. References don’t work, scenes seem out of place, and it really made me yearn for the original. However when it does its own thing, and introduces new ideas it really starts to gel and it had me paying complete attention. There is a genuinely good movie here hampered by being a remake. This remake also tries to play things rather seriously, and yet at the same time tries to be a fun action movie. These ideas don’t work, the reason why the original was fun, was it embraced it’s cheesiness.

Colin Farrell does not help this movie at all. I like the man, when he does weird characters he really does shine and have a lot of talent. But in the lead roles he always comes off one note. Honestly he would have worked better as the villain. Speaking of villains this is where the movie shines. Kate Beckinsale plays Lori, the agent sent to keep an eye on Quaid and then chase him down. She is an evil menace and comes across as a competent villain that could easily kick your ass. Her roles in Underworld really do her no favours as she has to play Selene very cold. Kate really needs to do more roles like this as it shows she is very capable. Bryan Cranston is great, but never given much to do. DAMN IT HOLLYWOOD, give this man a bigger role already, I’m sick of him rocking up in movies shining for two minutes then disappearing. While a fan of Jessica Biel, she isn’t really given much to do. Oh well I guess I’ll have to see her do a good job in The Tall Man movie.

Plot wise the movie is actually a lot simpler than the original. Any question of what is real is given some lip service right at the end, but quickly moves ahead before the audience starts thinking too much. The movie is more concerned with action and looking pretty. And while the action seemed a little long and not very impactful, everything looked awesome. Future worlds always interest me, and this was pretty impressive, a nice blend of ideas.

If you are a fan of the original be prepared to be disappointed, but there is actually some good things about this movie and it’s hard to dismiss it out right. Got a few hours spare, and want to watch a good looking science fiction movie with some awesome villains then this movie could be for you.

1 comment:

  1. Neither of the movies are great but I’d say the original is better. The remake takes itself too seriously while Arnie’s version was just dumb over the top fun and didn’t try to be anything else.