Review – Total Recall

                 Rating = ★★★     Tagline = Low Matinee

                                                                                                       A lot of movies have been remade recently; it’s become mandatory for at least a couple of remakes to come out every year. I don’t hate when this is done like some. Of course most of them aren’t as good as the originals, and in some cases they come off as uninspiring. This is not the case with this one, however. The original Total Recall came out in 1990. That was a good movie that I had a fun time with. Mostly negative buzz had been surrounding the remake and when it came out it wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. After seeing it; that puzzled me. People can set there mind on “knowing” something will not work out and be blinded by that. Unfortunately, Total Recall fell victim to that. This is just as good as – in different ways – the original. It did lack that charm the first one had, but all in all, it is solid and entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                        Douglas Quaid (Colin Ferrell) works on an assembly line. He builds police sentry robots for a major corporation. Lately, he has been having a recurring dream. In the dream, he is trying to escape somewhere with an unknown girl (Jessica Biel). One day on an impulse, he decides to go to Rekall; a company that implants memories. It can make you go on a vacation or an adventure. It feels completely real. After he has been hooked up to the Rekall system sentries attack. Quaid realizes he might not be who he thought he was. Is all that real, or is it simply a dream?

Len Wiseman hasn’t directed many movies. He directed Live Free or Die Hard; that is the definition of a fun time. You could describe his direction as being B-movie style. This isn’t entirely true though. Many aspects of that come to play, but he also injects something that rises above that in a small way. The action scenes are directed well; some of them are really cool. What Wiseman also does is he gets a good balance of fun while still having a story to connect with. The story did eventually become run of the mill, and it seemed to stop being ambitions somewhere in the middle. Another thing done well is when the movie references the original. When this is done it usually feels like it’s forced, or it bangs you over the head with it. A few nice throwbacks to the first were done right.

A good deal of car chases are boring. Here though, they are handled very well.

I’m glad an actually script was written. Some remakes – or movies of this nature – just feel like no thought what so ever went into the screenplay. Now, I’m not saying this is a truly great script. It does have some ides and executes them alright for the most part. Some of the ides do get dropped without explanation, but others are followed through with nicely. Aside from the main character (who was developed more than I expected) none of the other characters had depth. I tended not to care for anyone else aside from Douglas Quaid. The drama was used alright, but any attempt at humor fell flat. Yes, the script basically goes through the motions. This being the case, I still felt like some effort went into this. Mark Bomback and Kurt Wimmer did an above-average job. Overall, the screenplay is a mixed bag; but not a bad one.

The acting is good from everyone all the way through. As expected, Colin Farrell has a different take on the character than Arnold Schwarzenegger did. Schwarzenegger brought so much charm to the role; Farrell brings a more gritty aspects to the character. He sold me on everything his character was going through. The main thing Farrell accomplished is making me actually care for him. I was afraid Jessica Biel was going to be bland. After some time though, she erased that thought from my mind. She does a fine job and her and Ferrell have decent chemistry together. Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Kate Beckinsale (who seemed to have a lot of fun with the role) and Bokeem Woodbine give nice supporting performances.

One other thing Total Recall has going for it is the great special effects. Some good things were done in that department. I did have one minor problem. I didn’t really like the music; I just didn’t think it quite fit with what was going on most of the time. That is not a problem with the action scenes; right when people are in a room talking. Coming into this the big question is if this was necessary? I would have to answer no on that. Still, it managed to do enough to where I didn’t mind it. This isn’t the best remake, but then again, it is far from the worst of them.

11 thoughts on “Review – Total Recall

  1. I can’t always post as much as I would like too; I get very busy. These next couple of days however, I find myself with some spare time. So, I may get out two or so reviews in the next days.

  2. Good review Alec. This one may have been fairly predictable in spots but at least it kept me glued to the screen with it’s fun, sci-fi look and action. Also, Beckinsale seemed like she was having a ball with this role and it’s probably the best I have seen from her so far.

  3. Inspired by the remake, I re-watched the original with Arnold recently, which I enjoyed again. Colin Farrell’s remake has a bad reputation. It’s not high on my list to see anymore, but your well written review gives me hope at least that this version is not without its charms.

    • I actually watched the orginal before seeing this as well. Also, like you, this wasn’t high on my list either. But the chance came sooner than exepcted. I’m glad I did.


  4. Good review. I was surprised by how much you DID enjoy this one, after such scathing reaction I’ve read. I should probably check out Schwarzenigger’s version and if I like that one, I’ll see this.

  5. I never saw this becuase of all the hate it is and still gets. But your review sheds some light on the subject. Great and as always informitive review!


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