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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went into this with fairly low expectations, and certainly not
looking to compare every second of the film to the original. However,
it's inevitable that certain comparisons are going to be made, and this
movie does fall short when those comparisons are made. Colin Farrell
may be a better actor than Arnold, but he's definitely not a better
action star. That's the movie's biggest shortcoming. The lead character
is just not that good. He's a modern mopey action hero, with a boring
life, and even more boring personal problems. In an escapist action
movie, I don't want to see me as the lead character. I want to see
someone who I want to be.
Now with that out of the way, I can move on to the more positive aspects of the film. In an action movie, you need good action, and that is where this movie excels. Sure, it's not the blood soaked original, but it has it's own charm. You pretty much get a dose of everything in this, from hand-to-hand fights, on foot chases, gun fights, and one of the better car chases I've seen in recent memory. All handled really well, and taking place within imaginative set-pieces, that are a feast for the eyes. The film's look was clearly inspired by Blade Runner, and as un-imaginative as that might seem, it works well.
The absolute best part of this movie is the two female leads. Seriously, they should've just scrapped Ferrell, tweaked the script, and let Biel take the reigns. Beckinsale and Biel absolutely own this movie, and whenever they are on screen together, the movie is always better for it. Unfortunately, they're basically feuding over Mr. Everyman in every scene, and you can't help but wonder how much better the movie would be without that distraction.
Another problem I had near the end of the film, was Beckinsale's character being pushed to the background, for everyone's favorite meth dealer, Walter White. Look, I like Cranston, but he's not Daniel Day Lewis. He's not fit for every role out there, and this is a shining example of that. He plays the most bland villain, in a movie that didn't need another big baddie. He's basically in the movie because he's Bryan Cranston and he's riding the wave of Breaking Bad. He has no screen presence in this, no charisma, and is just shoehorned in as the supervillain/end boss, so they could put his name on the ads.
As for the story, well it's essentially the original with a few tweaks. Nothing worth going in-depth about. The ending isn't nearly as effective as it was in the original, but that's the only real negative thing I can think of. All in all, it mostly works.
Overall, I think the movie has been a little harshly criticized for not being the original. It has it's flaws for sure, but you could do a lot worse in the genre. Check it out.
"Total Recall" (2012) was a fun, slick update of the 1990 classic; I'd
give it an 8 out of 10. It can't match the magic of the original
(especially with the abandonment of one particular twist near the end),
but it was still fun enough. Plus, any fast-paced, CGI-heavy, sci-fi
action movie with both Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsdale really is just
pure nerd fun.
Beckinsdale grows on me. She's a great actress, especially in roles that require her to be powerful or angry, and she does physical stunt-work superbly. She deserves to carry her own franchise, and I mean something better and more mainstream than the "Underworld" films.
Anyway I'm pretty sure I have a good answer to this movie's central mystery (as well as that of its predecessor). This is the question of whether or not everything Quaid witnesses is real. (Is he a secret agent, or is this all a fantasy generated by "Rekall?")
It is real, and here's why. In both movies, the viewer witnesses events that are outside of Quaid's experience. For example, we see the police plotting to capture him and interviewing witnesses. Quaid is nowhere near these events when they occur, and does not see or hear them; therefore they cannot be part of his virtual reality fantasy. Yet you and I see them up on the screen. So they are real, within the story, and not imagined by Quaid. To me, it all seems pretty straightforward.
All in all, this was a fun ride. I recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
1. I'd read reviews saying this movie was a let down. It wasn't for me.
I enjoyed it.
2. Lots of eye candy for boys and girls.
3. Kate Beckinsale plays the baddie with real enthusiasm and as hot as ever. Colin Farrell is a competent actor for action movies. It'll be interesting to see the roles he takes as he gets older.
4. Blade Runner / 5th Element style cities but without the rain.
5. Dialogue is weak. Quite a few pointless conversations about the meaning of life and the past.
6. The magnetic car chase was a pleasant additive.
7. In hindsight the idea of a brain implant isn't necessary. The protagonist could have just been a double agent from the start.
8. Bill Nighy has terrible lines and struggles with an American accent. Wrong casting choice for me.
9. The CGI was good work by the animators.
10. Overall, I enjoyed this version more than the original.
11. Rather baffled as to why this did so badly at the box office. Bad timing? Fans of the original complained too much?
12. I'd be happy to see a sequel.
Imagine a world where 1990 didn't happen. Then, some 22 years later, a
sci-fi action film comes out where Colin Farrell plays a lowly
construction worker who wakes up one morning to find out that he might
be a spy and everyone is trying to kill him. Everyone would love it and
hail it as a great film.
However, 1990 DID happen and, during that year, Arnold Schwarzenegger released Total Recall - a much loved sci-fi romp where he does all that and more.
Therefore, many people (including me) said, 'Why are they bothering to remake it?' To be fair, Colin Farrell's version isn't bad: it has great sets, great special effects, awesome chases and some nice ideas (more based on the original source material - short story by Phillip K Dick than Arnie's version was). However, its major drawback is a sense that we've seen it all before. Every now and again, you'll find a scene which is nearly word for word identical to the 1990 version and it keeps reminding you that you've actually seen this story before. I found this quite jarring.
It gets the action and tension right and plays the whole things straight - quite a major change from Arnie's 'one-liners' and pulpy comic book feel to the original.
If you haven't seen the original and you like sci-fi, then you're definitely missing out. I think for those who might not have seen it yet, they'll appreciate Colin Farrell's version more. But this is a project that was always semi-doomed from the start. Schwarzenegger's version was always going to be too popular to completely match. Fair play for them for doing their best to go in a different direction, but I think this is one film that would actually benefit from NOT being called Total Recall.
It's a good film and it certainly doesn't deserve the typical scorn that most remakes automatically receive. However, I still think it comes back to the question, 'Why did they bother?'
Total Recall is the story of a man who wants more from his mundane life
and decides to visit Rekall - a company that enables their clients to
live out their fantasy lifestyles by implanting fake memories into
their minds. However, things start to take a strange turn as Douglas
Quaid (Colin Farrell) starts to find out that everything he knows about
his life may not be what it appears to be.
Now, I have seen the original (who hasn't?), and thoroughly enjoyable, Schwarzenegger version of Total Recall and I went into this remake with little hope of it being any good & maybe expecting the worst, but at the same time I tried to keep an open mind about it. I'm happy to say that I'm glad I did go into it with an open mind because I was very pleasantly surprised with how well this remake was done.
The story travels at quite a fast pace (especially during the abundant action scenes) and you may lose your way sometimes, but there are moments in the movie where it allows you to catch your breath without it coming to a boring crawl or even standstill.
The visuals and special effects are absolutely outstanding even if there was slightly too much happening at one time in a lot of the scenes. To be honest, though, you just get drawn into the amazing environment as you continue to watch the movie unravel.
When I first knew that Colin Farrell would be playing the part of Douglas Quaid I immediately thought "No way - they've definitely got the wrong guy", but I'm not ashamed to admit that I was wrong because he was excellent throughout the whole movie. Kate Beckinsale was fantastic as well, and played the perfect part of being a total b**ch.
While this is a remake it does attempt (and succeeds) to be it's own movie, and there are a few good homages to the original. A couple being a certain "alien" female with an extra appendage and the scene where Quaid arrives at his destination in disguise (but with a nice wee twist).
All in all this movie is a great film to watch and I definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about wanting to see it.
TOTAL RECALL, a modern-day adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story WE
WILL REMEMBER IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, is the second filmed version of the
material following on from the 1990 Schwarzenegger movie.
Unfortunately, it pales in comparison to that movie in every respect.
In essence, this film can be summed up as follows:
action/CGI/CGI/CGI/action/action/CGI/CGI, repeated ad infinitum.
It turns out to be a soulless and hollow viewing experience, one which lacks depth and the kind of drive to make it an exciting production. Instead it plays out superficially, never deeper than the level of a comic strip, refusing characterisation at all times. Unforgivably, it also excises all of the good stuff from the Arnie movie: the humour, the satire, the background, the sci-fi elements, the violence, and the effects.
What we're left with is one long chase movie, augmented by endless CGI effects which lose their impressiveness about five minutes in. TOTAL RECALL is a movie which makes the classic Hollywood mistake of imagining that bigger effects = better action (think of TRANSFORMERS, 2012), whereas those filmmakers who realise that greater intensity = better action (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE RAID) do far better. Colin Farrell is humourless in an uninteresting lead role, while Kate Beckinsale gives an embarrassingly wooden performance. Other actors, like Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy, are given so little screen time that they barely register. In fact, the only parts of this I really enjoyed were the in-jokes referencing the earlier classic movie.
It's hard to judge if this is really a remake of the 1990 original or
that it's just a 2nd adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, "We Can
Remember it for You Wholesale". Either way, Total Recall 2012 is
This film tries to update a lot from the 1990 version. Up to date special effects, new actors and a change in setting. Sounds good right? Nope. As cheesy as the original was, it was far more entertaining than this version. Not only that, the original tells the plot better than the remake. Everything was coherent in the old movie than this. The remake told the story in confusingly. I felt like turning off the movie after being clueless. The action wasn't good enough to keep me entertained because it was generic and not engaging. And as much as I like actor Colin Farrel, he isn't great as Douglas Quaid/Carl Houser.
The remake also changes the Mars setting to a post-apocalyptic Earth where a nation called the United Federation of Britain exists but exploits The Colony which is present on the Australian continent. The two nations are connected by an underground transportation system called the Fall which can transport human across the planet underground in 30 minutes. This is all an interesting change but I personally preferred Mars over this.
Totall Recall 2012 is a failure of a remake and is an example of why remakes of good movies are undesirable.
Save yourself the trouble and just watch the original again, terrible
remake that didn't capture its predecessors intentions at all.
Only worth watching the first 10 minutes to see Kates booty in some undies.
I'm not sure why they would remake this movie with so little effort, why would they leave out the comedic value that the original had as well?
I really wanted to enjoy this and went into it with an open mind, the acting in the original was so much more engaging and enjoyable.
Doesn't even pull a giant tracker ball out of his nose :(
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was nothing like the original. Arnold was the dominant spy in
the original movie. He was nearly unstoppable in the entire movie. The
new version, the guy that plays Arnolds role was just a normal spy and
didn't stand above the rest of the people in the movie. He took a
beating from his wife and an old man at the end.
Arnold was destroying people left and right in the original. The role of the new guy was just a normal guy in a sci-fi where expected him to be destroying everyone in his way. Not a bad movie overall but to call this a remake is ridiculous and I was disappointed every time I saw this guy get into a fight with the exception of 1 scene. The rest of the time he was running from a woman that kept beating him up and end by him barely getting the upper hand on an old man that killed.
Very sad remake...
24 years ago I watched the original Total Recall. I can hardly remember
it so I couldn't tell you how closely related this version was.
Total Recall 2012 is another variance of the action packed spy movie. Long chase scenes, expertly choreographed fight scenes and plenty of shooting. So, what separates Total Recall from any other thrill-a-minute movie? Um, nothing really.
The story is intriguing so long as you don't think about it too much as I unfortunately did. An agent of the state becomes a double agent that doesn't even know he's a double agent (or an agent of any kind). OK, that's not too bad, what's the problem there? Well, when Total Rekall (sic), a virtual reality experience center, uncovers that he is a secret agent he's instantly on the run while trying to put the pieces together. As he's following the bread crumbs he left for himself he discovers more about the people trying to kill him. The problem was the story and the bread crumbs.
I ended the movie with questions and a feeling of dissatisfaction. To ask those questions in this review would give too much away but many are along the lines of what came first, the chicken or the egg? By the time the movie was all said and done there was a lot of superfluous fighting, shooting and running. I was largely disappointed.
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