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Puerile retread that director Len Wiseman uses as an excuse to...yet
again...cast his wife as a gun-toting' killer in fetish leather. To
justify her presence, the movie is larded with repetitive, often
pointless chases. And in order to make time for these, the remake
ditches every last bit of imagination, originality, satire and wit from
the 1990 original.
The result is RECALL 4 DUMMIES. No Mars. No Kuato. No alien cities. No Benny. Not the least ghostly whisper of Philip K. Dick. Colin Farrel doesn't even have an Austrian accent.
Instead, this version has...elevators. That's it. Elevators, lots of thembig, small, fast, slow, going in all directions. Mostly so people can shoot at and chase each other while on elevators or in cars that double as elevators; the clashing mix of technologies has no internal logic & the world building is hopelessly slip-shod. The central conflict is: who will control the elevators? The helpless, unarmed, starving & rain-soaked workers on one end? Or the evil psycho billionaire tyrant with all the jobs and an army of countless gazillion Robo-Gestapo on the other?
Although, really, when one wields an infinite horde of Robo-Gestapo, the entire rest of the plotwhat little there is of itis unnecessary. Then again, "unnecessary" describes the entire remake and all its elements.
The previews didn't impress me at all, so I avoided this in the theaters. On a recent cross country flight, this movie was available as a choice, so what the hell! The first thing you immediately notice is that Colin Farrell is hardly a half an Arnold. The first movie had an awesome Mars setting, interesting characters, and was a lot of fun.This movie has none of that. The first movie had actual villains to root against. This movie has you looking at your watch. Watered down is an understatement when comparing movies. Had I not seen the way more memorable 1990 movie, I may have rated this slightly higher. Maybe. This version is 100% forgettable. Watch the original, or anything else, instead of this dud.
Perhaps adding a little reference to Shakespeare adds a bit of dignity
to this exercise in special effects wrapping Philip K. Dick's little
short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". As entertainment
this film works well for those who like clever constructs of
apocalyptic destruction and robotic culture and the idea behind Dicks
story is fascinating to a point. But to make this noisy jumble of
fighting and falling and tension last over two hours is begging
The summary with the product tells it well enough: 'Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super- spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police - controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world - Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.
There is some fine dialogue that gives the film an uplift: Matthias (Bill Nighy) 'It is each man's quest to find out who he truly is but the answer to that lies in the present, not in the past. As it is for all of us.' Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) 'But the past tells us who we've become.' Matthias: The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us. It fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present, look there. You'll find your answer.' The actors cope with this concept well - Collin Farrell is more buff than ever and handles his impossible role well, and Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, and Bill Nighy (in a momentary role) all offer interesting moments.
If you love sci-fi and clever visual tricks then this is a film for you. If story is more important to you, then pass.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
They didn't even go to Mars. The beginning of the movie led you to
believe they would be going into space or to Mars, but they never did.
For those of you looking for a good Space Sci-Fi, don't watch this
There was a lot of action to the movie, some good scenes and graphics, and a lot of it seemed to coincide with the original movie, but seemed dull and lacking.
Their twist on the story may have been OK, had I not enjoyed the original so much. Where were the mutants and where was the Martian Terra-forming? Instead they just thew a bunch of robots in and said, enjoy! Well, no thanks, if I wanted to see a movie about robots, I would watch I-Robot or Terminator.
Okay, so you have this brilliant action movie from 1990 with a massive
kill count, a charismatic larger than life hero, a sexy deceitful
villainess, TWO larger than life bad guys who chew up the scenery with
gusto, mutants and eye poppingly (literally) entertaining special
How can you go wrong re-making this movie? Well, you basically throw out all the wacky colourful aspects that made the original so endearing.
The characters are bland. All the good guys are so annoyingly wholesome. If the censors had been let loose on Arnie's original then you'd probably have ended up with the 2012 version. They even have robots for henchmen so those of a sensitive deposition wouldn't feel so bad when they get shot! I loath this safe, respectable remake. Who knows what Len Wiseman was thinking... Nowhere near as entertaining as the Underworld movies. I think he's taken the money and run folks.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Clearly Len Wiseman wanted to remake another P.K. Dick story turned
film, Blade Runner. Instead he remade Total Recall. Maybe he got the
stories confused? Maybe he couldn't get the rights to remake Blade
Runner. Maybe he thought better than to risk remaking a better
directors film? Who knows, but he remade Total Recall and now we must
all suffer. The odd thing of course is that 1990's Total Recall isn't
as good a movie as film fans memories or nostalgia for late 80's kitsch
movies staring the ex-governor of California, Big Arni make it out to
be. Like many of P.K.Dick's weird and wonderful stories, it has yet to
filmed adequately. So Wiseman's job, and with a budget of $125,000,000,
should have been made easy. But no. Even after hiding it in enough lens
flair to make J. J. Abrams blush, he still manages to make a flat,
unintelligent and simply boring mess. Oh, well.
Guess what? At the end of a 21st century a global war devastates the earth, leaving much of it uninhabitable. Honest! But, not to worry, for some strange reason both the UK and Australia are OK. Maybe the orchestrator's of the final world war just liked "Neighbours" and "Coronation Street" and felt that destroying the homes of either soap operas would leave them with only re-runs to watch? Or maybe they had holiday homes in both countries? Your guess is as good as mine but there you have it.
Most of the jobs and economic wealth are in the UK. Sorry, I mean "The United Federation of Britain - UFB). This means those poor sods from Australia - sorry I mean The Colony - must travel to the UK each day to mindless and dangerous jobs working in factories making robot policemen that the UK then uses to suppress Australians further. Why? Again who knows. Maybe Coronation Street is more popular than Neighbours?
One of those working stiffs is Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell). He has to travel from Australia to the UK every day on a device known as the the Fall", a "gravity elevator", which travels through the Earth's core between Australia and the UK - very quickly. Sadly, "The Fall" (not to be confused with a rather interesting British indie band) seems to have little purpose but to set things up for a rather standard action sequence in the third act. Handy that.
Not surprisingly, Quaid is rather bored of this commutator run everyday, his equally boring job and one assumes his economic suppression by those evil Brits (who oddly are all American and speak with American accents - as do all of the Australians). So he visits an outfit called Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories. Its owner tells him that he can implant any memory he wants and whatever memory is implanted Quaid will believe he has had and experienced. Now he will have some happy memories while taking that commutator ride every day and screwing robots together that are at the same time part of the cause of his economic repression. Who wouldn't? You? Well, you clearly don't star in a film scripted by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback who have taken an intriguing short story and idea, originally carefully crafted by Philip K Dick and turned it into the drivel you have been reading about so far. Anyway, back to the plot.
Quaid wants to remember being a spy. Not any old spy mind, but a double agent super spy - as you do. Easy, says Rekall and they make it so - or do they? As he is being injected for his memory implants he discovers he is a super-spy, his memories having been erased, that his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is also a spy but an evil one set to keep an eye on him by UFB Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston - who camps it up wonderfully and is clearly the only person aware of the nonsense he is in). And so, as they no doubt say in the publicity material somewhere, a journey for one man to discover the truth and fight for justice begins.
So how do I know that Wiseman really wanted to remake Blade Runner? Because "the Colony" is a big budget, faithful and rather convincing re- imaging of Scotts future LA from that movie. Its rather good actually. And makes the first act rather interesting. It thus makes it so much worse when, in the second act we travel to the UK which looks like the UK now - but with the odd hover car. Its boring, flat and so is the script, acting, art direction and directing in this, long, oh so long, section. Not only does it look like a different movie but it looks like Wiseman lost interest in directing it and left it all-up to a poor second unit director to manage. Maybe he did - the lens flare, certainly becomes conspicuous by its absence in this act. And alas the script follows the same pattern. The final act - and return to "the Colony - improves things a little but things never return to the opening acts far better realized conception.
If you must watch this movie then walk out after the first act, go for a bit to eat and at the very most return for the final act. You'll be less disappointed. Alternatively don't go back, but watch the first act, go to Rekall and ask them to implant the memories of a decent second and third act instead. Clearly I couldn't afford that last option - or did I???
This review of mine is more like my voice of disagreement with people
who didn't like the 2012 version of Total Recall. But first I'll point
out what I liked about both the versions.
Total Recall(1990)- Of course Arnold. I felt a certain rawness in his act which I liked. He actually looked unaware of things going around, as his character required. For Sharon Stone,she was simply stunning! Enough said. The story was far ahead of it times and stands the same even today thats why it deserved a remake. This is the 2nd movie of Paul Verhoeven's direction that I have seen.(I have seen Hollowman), and his amazing work in Total Recall and Sharon Stone are the 2 reasons, I want to see Basic Instinct now. Also I liked the fact that this was one of the last movies which used miniatures,like for showing Mars planet. Bravo to the team, amazing work. Overall, an entertaining concept, performance and movie.
Total Recall(2012)- I liked the major change in the original screenplay and not using idea of Mars and still keeping the same concept of the original Total Recall. Requires a lot of creativity to bring out and create something new from something which is already a blockbuster. Thats the most exciting part of this version. Of course there are scenes which are more of a tribute to the original and shot with new technology and effects. Colin Farrell is an amazing actor. I liked him in the flick 'The Recruit'(2003) and for me he was equally good in this one. Also in this movie, Colin Farrel doing a smooch scene with the director's wife(Kate Beckinsale) in front of him, requires a lot of confidence and professionalism. But Kate comes nowhere close to the charisma of Sharon Stone. Jessica Biel here stole the show. She did a good act. Len Wiseman as a director did take a risk of choosing this remake and I appreciate he came up with something like this. I liked his work in 'Die Hard 4'. This movie is not as huge hit as its predecessor, but its neither a complete washout. But personally I liked the remake and it was entertaining for me.
Comparisions- I don't care why critics panned the 2012 version. Both versions were quite different in terms of execution of the same concept. Also I equally liked the sets and the ambiance created in both the movies. In the end, either ways I enjoyed the experience of Total Recall(just like Inception). But still if I had to pickup one thing better from another, then I would say, Total Recall(2012) missed out a point because it didn't have Sharon Stone! Must watch both of them!
I was a little skeptical walking into this movie but I was pleasantly
surprised. Now for starters I loved the original, and pretty much every
other 80s/90s "futuristic world is now a $h!t hole and one guy is about
to f*** people up". Im glad to see movies going back to this format
(Total recall, Dredd, In Time, etc.) because its on of my favorite
As for the movie its heavy on the chase scenes and loaded with 1 vs. infinity situations that make for a fun night of action and not thinking too hard. It was a CGI heavy film, which isn't a bad thing but I feel they leaned a little too hard on it (something about the cars rubbed me the wrong way). The acting was good, Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel worked well together but I felt a forced aspect to Kate Beckinsales role.
Don't go into this movie expecting to laugh, cry, or think. Go into ready for action and nostalgia (yes nostalgia, watching it feels like the 80s/90s with better acting and better visuals). I really did like the movie and I think it didn't get enough credit for being what it is.
The problem with this movie is that it tries to stick to the typical
action formula - you know, every scene ending with someone jumping out
of the way just in time before some huge metal thing squashes them or
something explodes etc etc. We've seen this literally a million times
in other movies, and now it's here again just with lower quality
Good films are surprising, they re-invent, they show us new ways, they take risks. Total Recall does none of that, but merely delivers a stock-standard sci-fi CGI thing with big actors delivering dreary lines in front of green screens.
It's funny how with all the millions of dollars backing this movie, good actors and a proved story, they still end up with mediocre results! I think that says something about the director - who is meant to pull it all together and make it work before any filming begins. This didn't happen. Production went ahead with a really boring script on the table, and a hope that the movie will generate dollars just on the Total Recall and actors names.
If you miss this movie, you're not missing much.
The director seems to have forgotten what made the original an original -- a smarmy blend of sci-fi, character development, humor and an interesting plot. This new Total Recall has a wooden (at best) Colin Farrell with the wasted talents of Ms. Beals and Beckinsale. The movie had great special effects, but contextually were uninteresting. And yes, this movie totally tried to rip-off Blade Runner's visuals, but without any of the intensity and true creepiness. I was bored most of the time. The plot was 1000% predictable and knowing the 1990 original just made each moment worse. Why do directors fall in love with special effect antics? This same disease doomed Star Wars I and II ... is CGI that much cheaper than good acting? Avoid.
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