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Reviews & Ratings for
Total Recall More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Remake shows all the pros and cons of modern film making trends

Author: xamtaro from
8 August 2012

What makes up who we are? Are we the result of our past experiences and memories or does our identity stem from something much deeper? These are questions that the 2012 remake of the classic action film "Total Recall" could have delved into. What we have instead is a showcase of the best and worst of modern science fiction film making. It is Definitely a product of 2012 as much as the original was a product of the early 90s.

The aforementioned themes are only teased but never developed in this intense tale of on man's quest to uncover the truth of his identity and past. In a vastly overcrowded, class segregated future, everyman Douglas Quaid is haunted by dreams of being a secret agent on the run. Convinced that these are repressed fantasies brought on by his monotonous life assembling security automatons (which are like Cyber Stormtroopers) Quaid visits this place called "Rekall"; Rekall claims to implant fake but realistic fantasies into one's mind. So he gets a fantasy of being a double agent implanted. Suddenly, its discovered that he already has memories of being an agent: meaning he actually is an agent with his memory erased. A swat team busts in for some reason and he dispatches them to some beautiful camera camera pans. What follows is "Kurt Wimmer's 'Salt: dystopian future edition - minus Angelina Jolie" (surprise surprise, this movie is also written by Wimmer) with Quaid's wife turning out to be a psychopathic killer, his past a complete sham and his grip on that fine line between reality and fantasy slowly slipping. In the background lies a dastardly plot by a rich chancellor involving the poor dissidents of the overcrowded Colony and the leader of an underground resistance.

The most striking feature of Total Recall would be the stunning vision of this overcrowded future. Floating buildings to make up for scarce land, a country confused by its melting pot of cultures, cyborg police, hover cars, it is amazing. This is a future that seems very real judging from our current world: Strict class segregation taken to the extreme. The dichotomy in the design between the rich and elite United Federation of Britain and The ramshackle Colony is beautifully rendered thanks to the amazing production design headed by Patrick Tatopoulos (the guy who worked on Independence Day, Starship Troopers and Dark city).

A pity that the rest of the movie is fairly typical of modern day chase thrillers. Compared to the original Total Recall film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, this remake has Less twists, a less ambiguous ending and lacks the cynical dark humor that made the original so memorable. Instead of keeping it ambiguous as to whether the events unfolding are real or part of Quaid's implanted fantasy, this remake spoils its own mystery for the audience.

Director Len Wiseman brings in all that is good and bad in modern day film making into this movie. He shoots Total Recall with an over reliance on shaky cam and lens flare, almost like a "Paul Greengrass meets J.J Abrams". Think Bourne Supremacy with the visual style of the 2009 Star Trek film. The future is epilepsy inducing, we get it; and sometimes this really distracts from the tip top designs.

The cast is basically a reunion of mist actors that were in Len Wiseman's Underworld franchise. They do an excellent job with the acting and chemistry but the good actors like Bill Nighly felt under utilised. Only Kate Beckinsale was able to truly shine playing Quaid's wife-turned-assassin. Quaid himself is played by Colin Ferrel and is perhaps the only improvement this remake boasts over the original. Schwarzenegger's Quaid was the quintessential action hero but Ferrel's portrayal of the character had a greater sense of peril: he looks nothing like an action hero and this makes his transformation from everyman to savior of the downtrodden all the more powerful.

Whether one finds this a good movie or not depends on whether one can accept the modern trends of science fiction film making. It is the same plot as the original with all the "1990s" elements taken out and replaced with "2012" elements. Art Aficionados will be impressed by the overall look, style and camera-work showcased here. Those looking for a deep meaningful dive into the nature of human identity or even those looking for clever twists or smart dialogue will be let down. Take away the visuals and it's a rather generic, straight forward modern chase thriller.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Lacks psychological thrills and emotions and is nothing really intelligent but still a entertaining popcorn flick

Author: KineticSeoul from United States
17 August 2012

This is basically a cooler version of the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. Now some audiences and critics might bash on this movie cause just about every twist and turns you will see it coming if you seen the original. Well for me it's been quite a long time ago since I seen the original so I was fresh walking into this movie. Now this lacks anything psychologically thrilling and anything really emotionally driven. And also lacks the feeling that something major is at stake. Something major is at stake but it just doesn't feel like it. But it does have some cool and stylized action and chase sequences that Len Wiseman is known for doing. This movie is basically a mash between "The Fugitive" cause it's about a guy on the rune while trying to outsmart the authority. "Blade Runner" because of the environment and "Equilibrium" because of the action and fighting against a corporation that tries to enforce false realities. And maybe a little of "Fifth Element". But like I said it just lacked the psychological thrills or anything emotionally driven like some of these movies. Colin Farrell is alright in this and Jessica Biel is good and believable as a rebel. She is just attractive and believable while playing the tough chick that fights for what she believes in. But the main show stealer is Kate Beckinsale, she is just badass. She may not be a very developed character but her presence on screen is just charismatic and likable, yeah she is one of the villain in this but she is likable. Because she plays the badass villain in a charismatic and cool fashion. It was nice to see Bryan Cranston in this as well. What it comes down to is a unintelligent popcorn flick that mashes a lot of sci-fi stuff together but it's entertaining to watch.


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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Boring PG13 action

Author: krycek19 from Denmark
20 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Once again I must say I really hate the PG13 rating!! Replacing most of the people killed in the movie with robots, because that way blood can be avoided really p*ssed me off. Especially when they copied the scene where Richters arms are cut off and he fails to his death and replaced him with a damn robot.

The story is boring and besides from the always gorgeous and always incredibly sexy Kate Beckinsale who is a convincing villain (who is always welcome to kick my ass :))the other villains are pathetic. Especially Cohaagen which made me miss Ronny Coxes Cohaagen.

I miss Mars, I miss the mutants (aside from the three-breasted hooker) but most of all I miss the humor, the one-liners and the graphic violence.

For god sake, when people get shot, they bleed. If a bullet-hole doesn't even appear in their clothes I don't buy that they have actually been shot. I am sick of greedy producers wanting kids to see movies, that aren't suppose to be for kids just so the greedy producers can make more money.

There ought to be a law against PG13 and Steven Spielberg should be forced to publicly apologizing for ever inventing that rating in the first place.

This movie takes itself way way way too seriously. Especially with all the new-age philosophical bull-sh*t about how we all want to know who we truly are. Bla blah blah, shut up!! Even with the bad looking special effects today 22 years later, the original Total Recall is a 100 times better movie than this soul-less turd of a remake.

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15 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Don't compare it to the 1990 movie of the same name.

Author: haikallp from Singapore
8 August 2012

I managed to watch total recall a couple of days back, and have watched it a second time. The reviews I've read so far reveals how many are comparing this to the 1990 movie staring Arnie.

Well, there are many differences in these two movies and if you want to truly enjoy this remake, you have gotta forget bout the original one. Try not to compare Arnie with Farrel and Beckinsale with Sharon Stone.

Graphically, Total Recall is beautifully crafted with good CGI work. It makes you wonder how believable the place is. It paints a future of the world where only two 'countries' exist while the majority of the Earth have become inhabitable. The difference in these two countries is vast and both of them looks amazing.

Collin Farell acting here is good but not worthy of any awards though Kate Beckinsale was amazing. She was definitely the best actor in this movie, hands down. The guy who played Cohagen was average a best. The other actors seemed blend and no one really stood out.

I have watched the original Total Recall and i have to say that these remake is slighty better. It feels more epic, saving a country seems more intense than saving a bunch of people living on Mars. The notion 'What is real' works well in this movie, especially in one of the scene in the hotel lobby i believe. What this movie lacks as compared to the original was a lack of witty lines. Arnie had some witty one-sentence line whereas Collin was pretty much serious throughout.

Total Recall started out great but by the time it hits the 60-80mins mark it starts to become a mindess action movie and it was pretty much predictable after that.

All in all, Total Recall is a great movie for someone who has never watched the original. I would give a rating of probably 7-8 out of 10.

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17 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

This remake of Total Recall is a fine thriller in its own right

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
7 August 2012

Okay, a few years ago I rewatched the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Paul Verhoeven version of Total Recall and gave it 10 stars. So I just now watched the Colin Farrell-Kate Beckinsale-Jessica Biel version and while I still prefer the previous version, this one wasn't so bad either. I mean, there are hardly any one-liners that Arnold did like that "divorce" line he gave to Sharon Stone then but there is still that dangerous edge that the original had that made this a worthy remake to watch. And the ending also provided a different twist than that of the original so that was also a good thing for me. So to make comparisons, I still prefer the Arnold version but this Total Recall gets a recommendation from me as well.

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19 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

An Action Movie Smoothie

Author: Michael Kline from United States
8 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm shocked by the wave of negative feedback Total Recall has received. I had an objective experience when viewing the film; I refused to see the original. Taken at face value, this is an action filled blend of the best aspects of many great action films of the past 15 years. I highly recommend watching it, even paying to see it on the big screen before it comes out on DVD.

The best films and TV shows begin with a disoriented main character with no idea what's transpiring around him (LOST, Bourne Identity, Walking Dead, etc.). It puts the character and the viewer on the same basic level, so that as the viewer tries to figure out what's going on, so is the character. In Total Recall, disorientation of Farrell and the viewer is a constant. Many reviews I've read complain about this, claiming it creates a poor plot, leaves too many questions, and opens too many doors for interpretation. I think that is exactly what makes the film so great. Just like with the spinning top at the end of Inception and the arguments it spurred: Which parts of the film are 'real' and which are rekall?

Total Recall takes the identity crisis of Jason Bourne, the enemy-robot-filled-future of iRobot, the unintentional betrayal of Terminator Salvation, the 'There is no spoon' concept of the Matrix, the Shutter Island question of 'Is the main character lying to himself?', the reality/dream dilemma of Inception, the masks of Mission Impossible 2, and the 'who can you trust?' of any James Bond film and rolls them into one movie. The result is an extremely entertaining film with incredible graphics, fast-paced plot, and the ability to keep you guessing throughout.

Many critics complain about the film being just like the original while others whine that it didn't have enough of the Arnold version. It's a remake. Some things will be better, some will be the same, some will be worse. Independent of the original, I give Totall Recall 8/10 stars and can't wait to see it again.

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19 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

The prime example of a lazy action movie

Author: Matthew Walker
5 August 2012

I cannot comprehend on where to start about Total Recall. Oh, I know. IT SUCKED! It reached the point that it made me feel insulted. This movie is a prime example of a lazy action movie. How the makers of this garbage can still manage to get jobs is a mystery to me. This is the type of movie that makes me lose more of what little faith I have left in Hollywood.

The premise was interesting with Doug Quaid struggling to discern what is real and what is a figment of his mind. Problem: They didn't explore it! Though touched on at the start, it was dropped and replaced by a cliché and predictable story. There was such room for potential; however it fell into just a series of "plot twists" that I guess were supposed to make me say, "Ooh, you're so clever!", but ended with me saying, "Well, at least they're recycling." Too bad in doing so, the plot went into the trash. There were also several obvious plot holes and continuity errors that caused me to question if the director really even cared anymore.

So instead of a thought provoking thriller we were rewarded with another CGI fest. Don't get me wrong, the action sequences were cool; nevertheless they were uninspired and became boring by the end.

This movie committed one of the cardinal sins of film making by injecting characters that nobody cared about. The characters were so flat and poorly developed that I honestly wanted them to die. Maybe it would break the monotony and insert one bit of originality to this. Adding upon the horridness of the characters was the cast, which had as much grace and talent as a drunk attempting to jump over a table. Many moments I wanted to ask the actor, "why did you just make that face?" The female actors made me want to cry, or laugh, maybe both. The director probably told them to bare their teeth, yell obscenities, and hold the gun and wave it around like a toilet plunger, yet they managed to fail at that too, looking constipated or something. Oh, and not to mention the dialogue, which sounded like it was written by a high school dropout, bumbling along with such a surprising amount of obscenities that it made me feel like I was back in high school again.

The music was decent, not bad, but nothing special. It basically felt like something that all the other action movies have. The cinematography for the most part was okay, except for the excessive use of fake lens flares that popped up all over the screen constantly in scenes that didn't need it. I suppose it was just for the heck of it - just like the rest of the movie.

There were very few redeeming qualities in this movie. The special effects were good, and did a good job of creating a believable and occasionally "woah" moment. I suppose we can all be thankful that it wasn't 3D. WIth that, they were able to put together some pretty awesome fight scenes, that although they felt familiar, managed to shove some fun into this mostly joyless chore of an experience.

This movie was a slap in the face to me as a movie goer. They took my $10 and said, "Here's some CGI, now let's throw it in your face. Now go home and say what you want cause we don't care about our product and we got your money." Total Recall was the easiest and laziest way to make as much money as they could. This was evident through the total disregard to the story and characters. Their casting made their lack of imagination evident by choosing a couple of women who looked as if they were ripped out of a celebrity magazine and thrown into a world that they didn't belong in. Are these women supposed to be attractive or are they just trolling the audience? Probably the latter. But the most heinous crime was actually the rating. PG-13?! This was a blatant R rated movie. Profanity was thrown willy nilly and dropped for no reason. I say that if you're going to swear in a movie, they'd better earn it. But no, this was swearing for the sake of swearing. On top of this was a couple moments that just made me (almost) cry, "Ah man, seriously?" There was content that simply wasn't needed and made me feel ashamed to be in that theater. Shame on you Hollywood.

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20 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Not worth it

Author: Zulu42 from United States
6 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I do enjoy a good scifi movie and I was willing to give this remake of the very enjoyable Schwarsengegger-helmed 1990 version a whirl because of that. Well, it turned out to be one clunkers of the year (to me at least).

Instead of going to Mars, where a stranglehold on a precious mined mineral makes Cohaagen (the big cheese) create a tyrannical rule over the inhabitants of that planet by rationing air, the deal here never leaves Earth. How boring. We are supposed to believe that some chemical war wiped out pretty much every country on the planet except for Britain and the continent of Australia (though neighboring places like New Zealand or France got whacked and far more distant land masses like Hawaii in the center of the Pacific are's so absurd it's asinine). The Cohaagen in this movie (played by Bryan Cranston) wants to take over what's left of the livable space by doing some major housecleaning of the existing population of "the colony" (Australia) because things have gotten packed pretty tight in Britain. There's a whole lot of gunfire throughout this flick and things getting blown to hell and those bits seem to serve the purpose of covering up the severe lack of interesting plot. Colin Farrell is the Quaid/Hauser character, and while he's a great actor, he just didn't do justice to this role. A tougher dude would've been more believable in the role of a sleeper agent like Hauser. The awesome Bill Nighy is in this movie but his character is sadly underused.

What IS good is the casting of Cranston as Cohaagen (he plays him as such a scumbag that it's hard to connect Bryan with his other roles like the comedic Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, where he was hilarious). A truly talented man. Also good were Kate Beckinsale as cunning viper Lori, and Jessica Biel, who as good gal Melina, is really making a nice niche for herself as a kick ass heroine type.

So, while there are several remakes which are pretty decent (The Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven, for instance), there are crappy ones too, like Escape From Witch Mountain or this silly movie. Wait for it to come to cable if you're curious cause it's just not what it could've been.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

My Favourite Film

Author: james1080-37-381948 from United Kingdom
25 June 2014

2 years on and still, Total Recall is my favourite movie; it's the ultimate sci-fi action adventure. This remake is a blast of fast paced action with a breathtaking world at the centre of the story. Colin Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid, a factory worker who visits Rekall, a revolutionary company who can implant fake memories of a life their client's wish they had. Quaid's dreams of becoming a super spy soon become real as he is forced to go on the run and the line between what's real and what's not blurs.

What follows is a heart-pounding chase movie that spans across the stunningly created world of the "UFB" and "The Colony", with landscape visual effects that are the best I have ever seen, you will be fully immersed into the world of Recall. Taking the lead role is Colin Farrell who plays Quaid this time round. I prefer Farrell over Schwarzenegger's original Quaid, Farrell seems more realistic and vulnerable whereas Arnold will always be Terminator to me, an unbreakable machine.

The supporting cast are excellent, they don't fall behind the main characters shadow and they are very well fitted to the film, for me the film really gets going when Kate Beckinsale turns to that sexy British accent of hers and reveals herself to Quaid, "I'm UFB police Intel, assigned to play your wife, six weeks ago I didn't even know you" right after they fight it out. Lori literally snaps, switches to bad girl mode and every single camera shot of her is hot, and Beckinsale's evil facial expressions are awesomely sexy, gritting her teeth as she fires weapons, she propels this movie, a one woman killing machine filled with motivation to kill her target and a knack for defying her leader's orders.

Jessica Biel plays Melina, a lieutenant of the Resistance. Biel plays the innocent part, a sort of love interest for Quaid, and the moment she appears in the hover car my jaw dropped, she has authority and when she's in the action scenes she kicks ass. Her best line is "Oh I'm ending this bitch", right after she fires at Lori in a firefight. Jessica Biel carries the emotional bulk for the movie which is a big job and she does it well.

The best new is that the characters don't fall back behind the action; they are focused on closely during the action as they are knocked about brutally. I can't get over how exhilarating the sequences are, they are some of the best I have ever seen, each of them are expertly crafted, very well shot and wild from start to finish. The Hover Car sequence is the best part of this epic adventure, it moves so fast you feel part of the chase thanks to seamless visuals, the world of the UFB in the background and a riveting motion, plus the camera focuses on the characters getting knocked about as they dodge and ram into traffic at ridiculous speeds. The elevator scene is suspenseful as Quaid and Melina jump from unbelievable heights to escape capture, there's a great cat-fight in a lift between Lori and Melina whilst Quaid fights against a synthetic cop. I loved the rooftop escape from Quaid's home, and the finale on "The Fall" is explosive and brutal as knives slash and fists punch with ferocity, plus the zero-gravity moment is jaw dropping. Harry Gregson Williams' soundtrack is perfectly fitted to all this excitement, in fact he enhances it even further.

Len Wiseman's superb direction and lens flare effects give this movie a stunning visual flair, the excellent cast blend together very nicely along with a haunting and futuristic soundtrack that fits so well with the on-screen action, especially during the Hover-Car chase and Elevator sequence. The cast are spectacular, with Kate Beckinsale stealing the show. The special effects are outstanding; Total Recall is action perfection and strong storytelling from top to bottom.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

'Recall' is forgettable

Author: Fluke_Skywalker from United States
15 January 2014

Though it boasts impressive special effects and decent--if increasingly repetitive--action sequences, the re-make of 'Total Recall' is ultimately undermined by a weak script and dull performances.

Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston are all solid actors, but their performances here lack energy and charisma. Even though the film was attempting to strike a more serious tone than the original, it's no excuse for the nearly comatose acting on display here. It doesn't help that the script fails to supply them with even a semblance of humor or wit. Most egregious of all, it fails to do anything fresh or original with the premise.

Ironically, 'Total Recall' ends up being utterly forgettable.

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