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“Total Recall” [2012] – Review (SO-SO)

August 3, 2012

The original 1990 cult sci-fi classic, “Total Recall”, is still beloved even to this day. Sure it has the cheesy Arnold-liners, but director Paul Verhoeven epically violent vision of the future and space was something for the ages, plus we get a woman with three tits…awesome. Fast forward 22 years later and Hollywood decides to spit out yet ANOTHER 80’s remake. The 2012 “Total Recall” is a ‘total’ average film at the very most.

2012 “Total Recall” is similar to 1990 “Total Recall”, they both follow Douglas Quaid  (Colin Farrell), a blue collar worker living in the future, all he does is complain about his same old boring routine. However, the 2012 film decides to stay Earth-bound rather than take the story to Mars. This film is set in a future where most of Earth has been destroyed by nuclear war, and vacant space is our only means for survival. The planet is broken into two sectors, the United Federation of Britain (England) and The Colony (Australia), everywhere else is dead. Quaid has his mind wide open when he visits Rekall, a company that implants memories for pleasure. Soon enough, he learns that he’s caught in the middle of a war between the vicious Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and the freedom-fighting leader known as Matthias (Bill Nighy). The question remains, whose side is Quaid really fighting for?

It would be cool if a remake like “Total Recall” could do the original Philip K. Dick story any justice at all. Instead it basically follows the exact same formula of the original 1990 film. Some classic lines from the original find their way into this film, and at first it’s all good and fun, but later on it becomes too on the nose, and lazy. However, it was great to see the three-titted lady again, but I digress. The plots overall structure is relatively the same, with the side fact that the movies story elements have changed, but all in all it’s the same goddamn plot.

The cast isn’t the worst thing of this film, far from it, they all give it there all, some seem to have more fun than others; Bill Nighy was the only one in the cast that felt like a complete waste. Colin Farrell is no Arnie, but he stands on his own quite well, and still has a lot of spirit in him. Colin can dish out a few witty one-liners, maybe not Schwarzenegger level, but close enough. It was fun seeing Bryan Cranston as a real scumbag bad guy, lately we’ve come to know him for “Breaking Bad”, where he does play a bad guy, but he’s not necessarily a BAD GUY, here he’s just pure bad. Cranston even shows off a few fighting moves near the end, I didn’t think he had in him.

Still, the movie isn’t all that great; it’s filled with a lot of dumb things. One thing I know for sure that’s gonna get everyone’s panties in a bunch is the scene with the stack bills Quaid has stashed away in a brief case, lets just say it’s gonna be hard to get that image out of your head, and trying not laugh will be extremely hard. Also, the hand-phones, an actual phone implanted into ones hand. I shit you not this is for real, and it’s pretty goddamn silly to watch in action. All the stunts these characters pull off, I found myself rolling my eyes constantly wondering how this person hasn’t broken a leg or back or whatever. All the elaborate chase scenes in the film, while cool looking as they might be, all of them felt like a level in a PS3 video game. It’s just down right silly. While the production design is fascinating on the eyes, here’s my problem, I feel like most of the city designs were rehashed blueprints of the futuristic cities from “Minority Report” & “Blade Runner”, both Philip K. Dick adaptations by the way.

“Total Recall” is certainly not the best sci-fi flick of the year, far from it actually, but for some people, especially those who don’t feel like re-watching “The Dark Knight Rises” for a third, fourth, or fifth time (well I do), then this will probably suit you well for a quick two hour matinee. However, I’d recommend just seeing “TDKR” again.

GRADE: C

Special Thanks to Jennay Hickman’s input while attending the screening with me.

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