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4 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Total Recall (2012)
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by Greg Ursic

"What you want to recall is up to you..."
3 stars

With the number of remakes, re-imaginings and adaptations on the rise, one wonders whether there’s any room for originality in Hollywood. The latest retread to hit the big screen this summer is Total Recall.

Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale it features an earth laid to waste by germ warfare, and the only remaining inhabitable places are the United Federation of Britain and The Colony, aka Australia, which supplies the grunts to keep the UFB’s economy rolling along. Of course the second class citizens aren’t permitted to live among the One Percenters, so they make the daily commute via The Fall, a transit tower that passes through the earth’s core.
Tired of the daily grind, assembly line minion Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrel) avails himself of the services of ReKall, a sketchy company that delivers virtual fantasies by implanting memories. Before his procedure can take hold, government agents storm the lab, and in the process jump start Quaid’s dormant memories which include kick ass fighting skills. He quickly learns that his loving wife (Kate Beckinsale) isn’t and that he holds the secrets to a vast government conspiracy. Or does he?
Director Len Wiseman goes to great lengths to distance himself from the 1990 Paul Verhoeven / Arnold Schwarzenegger flick of the same name; gone are the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour (with the exception of a couple references to the original), sets that pop with colour, almost cartoonish hyperviolence and moody Martian landscapes. Wiseman and writer Kurt Wimmer, opt for a “serious” plot line that includes contemporary revolutionaries-as-terrorist motifs, political machinations, class clashes and dark, dystopian sets that hearken back to Blade Runner (and they look damned impressive). And then there’s the action.
From the opening sequence it’s obvious that Wiseman is intent on maintaining the adrenaline quotient and he succeeds: the hover car chase is astonishingly well rendered, an intricate elevator jumping sequence is breathtaking and the depiction of travel on “The Fall” is just plain crazy. Add to that a series of intricately choreographed fight sequences - including the Biel/Beckinsale battle royale - and, well at least you can’t accuse Wiseman of being boring. Storytelling is another matter.
The combination of a weak back story and the “oh-so-serious” dialogue, fall flat, and the characters as rendered are largely soulless, set pieces that don’t inspire any buy in from the audience. Add in any number of continuity errors i.e., cuts that appear, disappear then magically reappear - and plot conventions that are seemingly forgotten (notably the gas warfare subplot), and you’re left with an essentially empty shell.

If you’re looking for a mindless action flick, then Total Recall’s bullets, babes and bluster may well fulfill your needs. But if you want anything resembling a story, you’d do well to check out the original.

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originally posted: 08/06/12 16:00:15
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User Comments

8/04/14 reptilesni Exhausting. 10 minutes of plot and the rest is all chase scenes and bland fight scenes. 1 stars
12/07/13 KingNeutron Better than expected, but I wish they had named it something else-Arnie's is classic 4 stars
1/13/13 mr.mike Unneccesary remake lacks the human factor and is fair at best. 3 stars
8/30/12 matthew wood very poorly made there are so many other movies that could be remade like Them! 1 stars
8/22/12 Martha Rios no heat in center of the planet but pretty creative 3 stars
8/06/12 Janine Travel through center of planet somehow stretches credibility more than colonizing Mars. 3 stars
8/05/12 Alex "White noise" indeed. Fizzles despite all the star- and firepower. 2 stars
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  03-Aug-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Dec-2012


  DVD: 18-Dec-2012

Directed by
  Len Wiseman

Written by
  Kurt Wimmer
  Mark Bomback

  Colin Farrell
  Kate Beckinsale
  Jessica Biel
  Bryan Cranston
  John Cho
  Bill Nighy

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