Movie Review: Total Recall (2012)

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I was a pretty big fan of the original “Total Recall” film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, so when I heard they were doing a re-make, I was pretty revved up. Although not as hulking as Arnold, Colin Farrell is a good actor with a pretty decent resume. The film also stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, some serious eye-candy for us guys.

 

They changed a lot in this film with respect to the original. To a certain extent, that’s good. I find it kind of annoying to go into a remake and watch exactly the same film, but with different actors. Why bother? On the other hand, I think this film went too far in the opposite direction. The whole plot was changed. It doesn’t even involve the planet Mars at all. Everything occurs on Earth. They tried to preserve a number of elements from the original, but even these were altered for the sake of artistic liability. But, if you saw the original, the alterations don’t strike you as particularly creative. For example, instead of reaching up his own nose with a giant metal thingy to pull out a bug that’s on him like Arnie, Colin Farrell must instead cut open his hand and pull it out of his palm. That’s kind of like how in all the new vampire flicks when the master vampire is converting a victim to vampirehood, he must slash his own wrist, or arm, or knee, or whatever, so long as it isn’t his breast like in the original, to complete the conversion. Rather than come up with something completely new, we’ll just slightly alter what’s come before (I think in my own vampire book I used both breast and wrist). There were a couple other instances like that in this new version of “Total Recall.” But ultimately, the movie was a completely different story. I think they would have been better off naming it something else and not inviting the comparison to Arnie’s previous sci-fi blast.

 

All right, a little bit about the story. It is set in a futuristic Earth where much of the planet has been devastated by chemical warfare. Only the United Federation of Britain and The Colony (Australia) remain. The main character is “Douglas Quaid,” soon to be revealed as “Carl Howser,” a super-spy with his memory erased and an entire new life implanted. He’s living a quiet life as an assembly worker, building the super-robot police force for the evil chancellor, Mr. Cohagen. Then one day, Quaid decides his life is not what he wanted and he wants some new, more interesting memories, and he visits “Rekall,” a company specializing in memory implantation. All is well and good, until he sits down for the process. His operator realizes Quaid is really a spy, just before all hell breaks loose. The police come busting down the door, there’s a gunfight, and Quaid escapes. Thus begins his journey to reclaim his memory and stop Mr. Cohagen from taking over the planet.

 

Overall, it wasn’t a bad movie. I heard bad things about it going in, but gave it a shot anyway. It’s not as good as the original, and, like I said, I think they should have just called it something else and done away with the “Total Recall” connection entirely. Anyway, I’ll give it three stars out of five.

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