MOVIE REVIEW – “Total Recall” is based off of the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholsale” by Phillip K. Dick. Dick is also known for creating the short story “The Minority Report” which was eventually adapted by Steven Spielberg, and met critical and financial success.
For movie fans and older readers, you may remember a little Paul Verhoeven film from 1990 starring Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger also called Total Recall, yes this is the same film. Or is it?
Len Wisemen (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) directs this new adaptation of the short story. Starring Colin Farrell in the lead role, Bryan Cranston, and Wiseman’s real life wife, Kate Beckinsale.
In this film we follow Doug Quaid (Farrell) as he tries to take a break from his peasantry routine and visits “Rekall,” a company that plants memories of your choosing into your mind. After participating in this, “Rekall” discovers that the memories that they’re trying to implant in Doug’s mind may already exist – or something like that. Action, chase scenes, and robots soon follow.
Did my synopsis of the movie seem vague? That’s because I’m not sure what to tell you about the movie. Maybe the suspense is supposed to play off of this blanket that hides the majority of the plot, but, to me, the story plays out in a muddled and confusing fashion. The action picks up very quickly and moves right along, a mechanism used to diverge your mind from the fact that the story is actually moving quite slowly. In a way, Len Wisemen uses superficial, drawn-out chase scenes and a planet full of special effects to create his own “Rekall.” Which makes the viewer think they don’t have time to use the restroom.
This is a filmmaking tactic made famous by Michael Bay (Transformers). If the story is moving slowly, they’ll show you pretty images and explosions to keep your eyeballs entertained while they attempt to resuscitate the story. In the new Total Recall, the action hardly hides a weak pulse.
As for the characters: We’ve had recent floods here in the desert that are deeper than the cast. Colin Farrell carries a single emotion throughout the film. Kate Beckinsale does a decent job with the dramatic transition of her character in the first act, but slowly limps through the rest of the movie.
Now, I’m not usually the guy to call out a sci-fi movie on something like physics, but Total Recall’s action sequences require a great deal of ignorance. Maybe they should have adopted the short story’s original setting, Mars. That way they’d have some room to play with laws of physics with which we are unfamiliar. All I’m saying is, if the action sequences don’t give you a seizure, you’ll be rolling your eyes a lot.
The De La Cruz Designation: 2 pops out of 5
Movie Note: I suggest renting the original ‘Total Recall.’ It’s cheesier and campier but more confident and far more entertaining. Plus, how can you turn down an Arnie movie?
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