Film Review: ‘Total Recall’ Remake Should Be Wiped From Your Memory

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CHICAGO – Paul Verhoeven’s “Total Recall” has been run through a machine and turned into a personality-less, numbing exercise in CGI action with a complete lack of any characters worth giving a damn about and a totally wasted opportunity at social commentary. Sure, seeing Jessica Biel fight Kate Beckinsale while Colin Farrell punches a robot in a speeding space elevator has something inherent that appeals to the 12-year-old boy in me but that doesn’t make it filmmaking. No, filmmaking and Len Wiseman are two things that don’t really go together.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

The ‘auteur’ behind the “Underworld” movies has given a similar sheen to his completely unnecessary “Total Recall,” a sci-fi adventure that first seems rather harmless and mediocre until one realizes that it completely fails one of the most important tests of a remake – it never justifies its existence. There’s no reason for 2012’s “Total Recall” to exist. And so there’s no reason to pay for it. Wiseman and the producers behind “Total Recall” would argue that the 2012 special effects and the fact that the original is now over two decades old are justification enough. They would be wrong.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Total Recall” in our reviews section.

The core of the film based on Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” is actually closer to its source material than Verhoeven’s film and makes a half-hearted attempt at social commentary in the process but does so with nary a sign of wit or character even with so many real-world elements on which to comment (the political battle between the haves and the have-nots in the headlines today along with the Occupy Movement could have really strengthened the foundation of “Total Recall” but those opportunities are wasted). It is 2084. The world has been destroyed to the point that all survivors live in two places, The Colony and the UFB. Workers live in the crowded, blue-collar Colony and travel through the core of the Earth to the UFB. They are essentially slaves. And they are uprising.

Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is one of those workers, living as ordinary a life as someone married to Kate Beckinsale can live while also having dreams of being a sci-fi super-spy. In his dreams, he’s running from robot assassins with the assistance of a beautiful fellow spy (Jessica Biel). Quaid finds himself drawn to the business of Rekall, a company that promises more exciting memories than what you already have. Just as he’s about to have a more exciting life downloaded, alarms go off and armed soldiers storm Rekall. It turns out that Quaid already is a spy (or is he?) and will play a major role in the battle between the nefarious Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and rebellious Matthias (Bill Nighy).

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Total Recall” review.

“Total Recall” stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, and Bill Nighy. It was directed by Len Wiseman. It will be released on August 3, 2012 and is rated PG-13.

Total Recall
Total Recall
Photo credit: Sony Pictures

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