Friday, August 24, 2012

Total Recall - Movie Review

Who's in It?

Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel & Bryan Cranston

What's it About? 

Doug Quaid is a regular schmoe of the future, living an unfulfilled life in a dead end job but he's haunted by lucid dreams of a very different kind. He opts to have memories implanted by Rekall so that he can feel a little less ordinary but his visit triggers events that give him all of the action and excitement he could ever want. Suddenly he's on the run, searching for answers and being hunted down.  

Any Good? 

When news of a remake of Paul Verhoeven's, 1990, Total Recall broke there was outcry. How could a film hope to better the cult classic that earned Arnie so many fans? The truthful answer is it couldn't and it hasn't. While the basic premise for its namesake has been used and of course some notable scenes, Total Recall 2012 really isn't a remake, more an ode to the original, a total rehash. 

Howaya, Farreller...
Completely abandoning the use of Mars from the first film, this offering is set in a time where the earth has been ravaged by chemical warfare. There remains only two lands, The United Federation (of Britain) and The Colony (Australia). Lower class citizens and workers are confined to the latter and must make the daily commute to work on an awe inspiring elevator through the centre of the earth called The Fall. 

From the opening scenes the desolate dystopia pictured is beautifully rendered. CGI plays a huge part but seamlessly so. We're only given the briefest of glances at Doug's (Farrell's) character before he visits Rekall and it all kicks off but boy does it kick off. The action is almost non stop, barely giving you time to realise that the film itself isn't that magnificent. 

Man she's gorgeous but Girlfriend needs a scrunchie!
Lori (Beckinsale) plays Doug's wife, once she's revealed as the enemy her relentless hunt and serious ass kicking skills begin. I'm a big Beckinsale fan, reckon she's one of the finest action actresses we have but for the love of Christ why can't she tie up her hair? There's no woman in the history of women that ever set out to whoop some ass without first tying their grĂșaig back. It worked in Underworld with a short crop yes, but here it was just ridiculous. Her dialogue too was teetering on farcical every time she spoke from behind those hairy black curtains - 'What can I say? I give good wife'. Seriously? 

Jessica Biel plays Melina, the girl of Doug's dreams, literally, but she's never really given much to do. She certainly packs a punch but her dialogue is clipped as if added in hindsight. We're never shown any reason that Doug might be in love with her, other than she says so. It's a shame to under use her as an actress though, she was capable of so much more.

The great Bill Nighy in one of his approximately 16 seconds of screen time
Both Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy as the opposing heads are fleeting in their appearances with little or nothing to work with, it would seem that the sole concentration of the movie is on the action sequences and set pieces. Lovers of Tomorrow's World will enjoy the futuristic forays, such as a sub dermal phone and magnetised autobahns, where a distinctly Minority Report-like chase takes place but for all the shiny there really isn't the substance to back it up.

As a standalone film Total Recall works, it's a no brainer and doesn't give you much by way of poignancy but the high octane action and fight scenes are second to none. As a remake though? Coddle commendably gave it his best shot but I'm firmly Team 1990. If you're an ardent Arnie fan or have any recollection of the original, you'll leave the cinema asking yourself why this movie had to be made at all. If you're a newbie to the movie, check this out certainly but hare home to see the original.

Total Recall hits Irish cinemas on Wednesday, August 29th. 

Psst.. Prices & Sales of the original Total Recall have
rocketed before this release, some sellers asking 
for upward of £19.99 but if you wanted a
gander you could be clever & buy the Arnie 
Boxset for just £7.99. Just a thought. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a big Sharon Stone fan, so I loved the original Total Recall. Until I read your review, I thought the remake might be worth seeing. I liked Farrell in the remake of Fright Night, and thought it was actually better than the 1985 original. But it doesn't sound like this movie is an improvement over it's predecessor.

Great review!