Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall
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Action violence, coarse language and nudity

Director: Len Wiseman
Actors: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Ethan Hawke, John Cho, Bokeem Woodbine, Will Yun Lee

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 121mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
You must remember this
by Simon Miraudo,

Paul Verhoeven movies don’t get remade. They get reduced. Len Wiseman’s Total Recall - a shiny, shallow take on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” - is a far cry from the nutso 1990 adaptation starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The action (read: falling and rolling) quotient is high, but the key mutants-in-stomachs and eyes-bulging-on-the-surface-of-Mars quotient has been drastically reduced. The number of women with three breasts remains steady, for anyone keeping track of that kind of thing. Colin Farrell steps into Arnold’s impossibly big shoes as bored factory worker Doug Quaid, who dreams of an alternate existence in which he isn’t married to Kate Beckinsale. It’s a dystopian future – aren’t they all? – and the Earth's population resides on the last two ...

Paul Verhoeven movies don’t get remade. They get reduced. Len Wiseman’s Total Recall - a shiny, shallow take on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” - is a far cry from the nutso 1990 adaptation starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The action (read: falling and rolling) quotient is high, but the key mutants-in-stomachs and eyes-bulging-on-the-surface-of-Mars quotient has been drastically reduced. The number of women with three breasts remains steady, for anyone keeping track of that kind of thing.

Colin Farrell steps into Arnold’s impossibly big shoes as bored factory worker Doug Quaid, who dreams of an alternate existence in which he isn’t married to Kate Beckinsale. It’s a dystopian future – aren’t they all? – and the Earth's population resides on the last two inhabitable continents: the United Federation of Britain and The Colony. Yes, The Colony is Australia. Congrats guys, we made it! Further congratulations must go to Heineken and dubstep; two cultural artifacts that apparently survive the Third World War and remain popular in a hundred years time. A dystopia indeed.

Life in The Colony is rough, and a rebellion led by Matthias (Bill Nighy) is continually quashed by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and his army of synthetic police officers. This is good news for a company like Rekall, however; they implant memories of decadent holidays and adventurous former lives in the brains of citizens who could only ever dream of affording such luxuries for real. Quaid signs up for their 'secret agent' program, only to discover that he really is a secret agent whose memory had been wiped! Or is he? The police are after him! Or are they? His wife is actually British and trying to kill him! Or is she? Then Jessica Biel turns up and asks him to run away with her, and suddenly all these questions don't seem so important.

My memory of Verhoeven’s feature is faint in the sense that I can’t entirely remember which plot elements have been recycled by screenwriters Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, and which ones are new inventions. My memory is not faint in the sense that I remember being wowed by that previous flick, which had more bizarre moments per minute than this one has Colin Farrell eye-twitches. That we’re still talking about that picture’s iconic tri-boobed wonder twenty-two years after the fact is a testament to its staying power. That, or the generation of guys who grew up with it were quite significantly swayed by the minor genetic miracle of an extra bosom from whence there was only two. I’d rather give Verhoeven the credit than denigrate my people.

Wiseman's Total Recall is unlikely to wow anyone. There are a couple of high-octane sequences - particularly one anti-gravity shoot-out - and Kate Beckinsale runs good with a gun. But for the most part, everything unique and interesting about Dick's tale, as well as everything weird and wonderful about Verhoeven's first go-round, has been shaved away in favour of blinding lens flare, boring robot adversaries, and implausibly engineered sets (the elevator shaft in Quaid's apartment building seems to specifically offer the least convenient route from one destination to another). “Bryan Cranston’s hair,” is the answer to many a question, now, chief among them, “What is the only good reason to see Total Recall?”

2/5

Check out Simon's other reviews here.

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Member Reviews (48)

Bob
says
I think, if you remove all fight scenes, it easily will fit in 20 min. Pretty boring.
Posted Sunday, 24 November 2013 See my other reviews
Spigoni
says
Nowhere near as good as the original. Boring in fact,
Posted Wednesday, 30 October 2013 See my other reviews
I really liked this, I loved the nods to the original but that it was it's own unique story
Posted Thursday, 19 September 2013 See my other reviews
christinej
says
Movie was OK, enjoyed special effects
Posted Thursday, 1 August 2013 See my other reviews
Liz
says
Oh my good God this is the worst movie I have ever seen...ever! Totally ditching the original's storyline and opting for a lot of boring chases. Kate Beckinsale - pull your hair back with a scrunchy and please stop acting in your husband's movies.....you are appallilng! I'd give it zero stars if I could.
Posted Saturday, 27 July 2013 See my other reviews
Very entertaining.
Posted Sunday, 16 June 2013 See my other reviews
Otto
says
I'm sceptical of remakes. Often they don't live up to the original, but this is very well done. A slight variation on the original story; substitute Australia (the Colony) for Mars.
Posted Friday, 14 June 2013 See my other reviews
darthdorian
says
...the first total recall with arnie, wasn't that good. it had a good start, ok middle and bad ending. this is worth the watch...it is better than the original.
Posted Monday, 10 June 2013 See my other reviews
Andrew
says
The remake of Arnie's foray into sci-fi seems to lose its way quite a bit and is a bit clever for its own good. Nice work from Mr Eyebrows Colin Farrell.
Posted Sunday, 2 June 2013 See my other reviews
JeffK
says
??‘Total Recall’ is a very good remake of the original movie; entertaining to the end. The special effects are excellent, quite remarkable in fact. Colin Farrell has the ability to be a ‘tough guy’ but is also vulnerable, standing him apart from the run of the mill Hollywood super-studs, giving him a unique quality that is a welcome change in a film such as this.
Posted Thursday, 30 May 2013 See my other reviews
Phil
says
This could have been an amazing movie but in the end it was just average with continuous action and not much of a story. The VFX were excellent though and I still preferred that new version than the old one which was cheesy. The writer smartly uses the original movie and gave it his best in terms of originalities. A pity, the action is overwhelming and the movie seems too long and boring when reaching the end.
Posted Sunday, 26 May 2013 See my other reviews
Craig in Beaufort
says
The original was so much better. Very disappointing.
Posted Saturday, 25 May 2013 See my other reviews
Kristina
says
I found this movie very dark and not at all enjoyable. Unfortunately I couldn't help comparing it to Arnie's one and it didn't even rate as far as I'm concerned. Don't bother.
Posted Saturday, 18 May 2013 See my other reviews
sue
says
Great film, different from original but good.
Posted Wednesday, 15 May 2013 See my other reviews
I think this was much better than the original movie. The acting was better and storyline much more understandable than the first movie. I give this 4 stars
Posted Saturday, 27 April 2013 See my other reviews
Lee
says
Not as good as the original.
Posted Friday, 26 April 2013 See my other reviews
Stuart
says
Quite different to the previous version with the occasional nod (look out for them) to the original. Different story and just as enjoyable
Posted Saturday, 13 April 2013 See my other reviews
joffa
says
arnie 'swollenknacker' made the original what it was........ & he alone, hense, without him this title is just...............ummmmmmmmm 'boring formula' title. i am now totally 'over' this genre, they cannot (& shouldn't try) to improve on original just to 'bleed the stone' for whatever blood is left. This title is a total 'letdown' not 'recall'
Posted Tuesday, 9 April 2013 See my other reviews
Actually disappointed with this remake. Didn't stand up to the original!
Posted Saturday, 6 April 2013 See my other reviews
Pam McNabb
says
I was surprised it is very different to the firt one I liked very much
Posted Saturday, 30 March 2013 See my other reviews
Cairo49
says
God, I just found this so tedious and pointless I fast forwarded through most of it. I really like all the main actors but this just didn't do it for me. It just seemed to go on, and on, and on, and on - perhaps too much reliance on special effects.
Posted Monday, 25 March 2013 See my other reviews
June
says
A bit predictable if you have seen the original movie. Otherwise, a better version of the same story
Posted Wednesday, 20 March 2013 See my other reviews
ibg
says
Watched the original again almost straight after, really enjoyed both versions. The original still rates because of Arnie, just love the depth of his acting skills (hee, heee) but found it hard to imagine anyone else in this role. New version rocks, great lead actors, reasonable respect to the original version but pretty much re-imagined and enhanced with todays movie making technologies. Really enjoyed the new version but don't throw the old out, both still have merit.
Posted Monday, 11 March 2013 See my other reviews
really c**p
Posted Monday, 11 March 2013 See my other reviews
Neen123
says
C**p.....give me Arnie's version any time.
Posted Saturday, 9 March 2013 See my other reviews
Terry
says
This got mixed to bad reviews when first released. Not so bad at all, very different to the first one with a more modern setting. Worth it if you like action or sci-fi.
Posted Wednesday, 27 February 2013 See my other reviews
M4tty24
says
This sucked, i turned it off after 15 minutes the original is so much better
Posted Monday, 18 February 2013 See my other reviews
Noel
says
Plenty of action and CGI. I do agree with GaryH that this is "One for action- adventure, shoot-'em up, sci-fi fans". I do confess that I am not real sure what is "real" and what is "Rekall".
Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 See my other reviews
The original with Arny is much better story as the new one has got the better sound and affects still like the original
Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 See my other reviews
GaryH
says
This version of the story has bits of everything and the kitchen sink thrown in. It starts as a mash up of "Blade runner" and "The Bourne identity", but visits everything from "Fifth element" to "I, robot" along its merry way. With some sly winks to the original, it takes the story to a whole new place, and although one of the central plot devices, "The Fall", is utterly ridiculous, you hardly notice for all the non stop running, shooting and exploding going on. One for action- adventure, shoot-'em up, sci-fi fans only.
Posted Saturday, 9 February 2013 See my other reviews
Moi
says
It was great to start off with, but then got absolutely ridiculous towards the end.
Posted Saturday, 2 February 2013 See my other reviews
Paul
says
Excellent new version of the story with lots of nice little nods to the original. It had been so long since I had seen the Arnie version but as I watched this the plot came back to me. Kate Beckinsale is awesome in this. Buying it.
Posted Friday, 25 January 2013 See my other reviews
Sean
says
Great remake of the original, with visual effects it will keep you entertained. With its modern day take on it this movie will please those who have not seen the original. Plenty of Action and Drama anyone can sit through this movie with out complaint. Well done to the Aussie actors in taking their rolls seriously and have done it well. Worth the watch!!
Posted Thursday, 17 January 2013 See my other reviews
Louise
says
enjoyed this movie. its full of action & shooting. loved the CGI effects. don't compare it with the original. recommend watching.
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2013 See my other reviews
Tracy
says
I watched this the other day was quiet good, its hard to make a fair comment when you like the other version (original) which i prefer but the kids loved it, they havent see the original.
Posted Monday, 7 January 2013 See my other reviews
Mike
says
What a shame. Lots of money spent but a pathetic script. If non-ending CGI and juvenile action floats your boat, this is for you. The three breasted woman I first saw in Mad Max and fellas, it is not original in 2010 - just comically pathetic. Now four breasts would be an innovation!
Posted Friday, 4 January 2013 See my other reviews
Grant
says
A great t movie.
Posted Sunday, 30 December 2012 See my other reviews
Margit
says
plenty of action great movie
Posted Friday, 28 December 2012 See my other reviews
I've always wondered how Australia got away from England??
Posted Friday, 28 December 2012 See my other reviews
Johnson
says
A great ride. We've seen most of the set-pieces before (there's a LOT of Minority Report in this) but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. Give it a shot.
Posted Tuesday, 25 December 2012 See my other reviews
John
says
Yeah I enjoyed this quite a bit. I dont know why it got such bad reviews - the visuals are pretty coherent. Kate Beckinsale is a better good badASS (underworld) than a bad badASS (Total Recall). And holy cow Jessica Biel is a handsome woman. Justin Timberlake dont mess that up.
Posted Monday, 24 December 2012 See my other reviews
Kim
says
Great action and really good remake, great job to keep the story of the original movie but redone with modern day film making effects. Really enjoyed the odd reference to the original, one in particular is where Arnie is camoflagued as the larger woman to get through the detections at the transfer station.
Posted Monday, 24 December 2012 See my other reviews
Great movie - agree with some of these comments, it's not a remake and probably closer to what occurs in the book? (unsure as have not read the book). Great performances and action scenes, not sure why so many critics panned it.
Posted Saturday, 22 December 2012 See my other reviews
Shane.
says
Posted Saturday, 22 December 2012 See my other reviews
Prefer the original.
Posted Friday, 21 December 2012 See my other reviews
Makes you proud to be an aussie even if the aussies had yank accents
Posted Thursday, 20 December 2012 See my other reviews
Kazza
says
Agreed with Vic, great action, totally different to first so not a remake true...Kate and Colin actually all four main actors great role playing, I really enjoyed it.
Posted Monday, 8 October 2012 See my other reviews
Vic
says
Just saw it at the movies. Great movie! This is not a remake, this is a stand alone movie and the action is pretty good. Enjoyed it.
Posted Friday, 24 August 2012 See my other reviews