Total Recall (2012) 12a
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine and Bryan Cranston
Running time: 188mins
When Doug McQuaid decides to get memories of a more exciting life implanted, his world falls apart and pretty soon it’s impossible to separate reality from dreams…
Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), despite having a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen.
My first thought on this film is; I’ve seen it before and frankly better. Inception comes to mind and perhaps Blade Runner or the 5th Element. If you’re going to base a movie on the layers of reality or perceived reality you’ve simply got to bring something fresh and original to the table and deliver it all in a different way. Unfortunately the storyline here gets a major back seat to the fight scenes with almost a video-game feel.
Sharon Stone played the original bad girl in the 1990 film and as a fan of Kate Beckinsale who inhabits the same role here, I was really excited to see what she’d bring to the table. Again, and this is with deep regret I have to say, it felt like she was tapping into her Underworld character, Selene, with all the running and jumping, plus she does a little of her signature landing moves! That’s Underworld stuff, girl! It’s not to be shared or duplicated! Yes, I’m still a fan of hers and yes she can act her skinny booty off but in this role it was wash, rinse, repeat.
Farrell, in my opinion, had the heaviest role to fill as Douglas Quaid, originally played by my ex-Gover-nator Arnold. Colin starts things out on a very promising foot but as we pick up steam and hit the halfway mark it all starts to fall apart. He spends so much time running and jumping that you have to wonder if he’s doing a runathon for a local school or something (PS so glad I didn’t back him because I would be broke!). All in all, the guy is still super sexy on screen, looks great with his shirt off, and can hold a scene with his muscles alone so I love him but was he as good as Arnold? No, not really.
The film as a whole is very flashy but what it lacked was a solid script with smooth transitions from scene to scene. It’s very choppy in the areas that frankly needed a little more segway as we start into the next chapters. For me, the best parts happened early and happened too quickly. After the midway point interest dwindles and it just got worse from there.
A bunch of plot holes become painfully apparent as we reach the climatic ending and all the so called “revelations” are brought to light. Now, I talk often about a slow build in films, and about how they reach a climatic ending as our story takes the viewer on a journey, well this would be a really great case in point for anyone who wonders what I mean when a movie lacks in the fundamental departments.
The best scene in the movie takes place in a hotel lobby with Colin facing off in a gunfight with his best friend, in this scene what’s real and what’s dream plays a role in how far will one go to manipulate, and while it’s great stuff, there’s just not enough throughout to hold the film together. And, while a couple of classic gems from the original pop up in this remake, let it be known this is by far a very different film and should be judged as such.
2.5 Nerds out of 5
Find Katie every day over at I Smell Sheep