NOTE: Getting the remake talk out of the way. Yes, this is a remake of the Arnold Schawarzenegger flick from 1990. The core story remains but that’s where the similarity ends. Both films are based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick whos stories have inspired many sci-fi staples including Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. Neither Recall film sticks totally with the source material.
Total Recall takes place in a future where the Earth has been ravaged by biological and chemical warfare leaving 90% of the land uninhabitable. The survivors are left to rebuild civilization in the only two habitable places on the planet, The United Federation of Britain (Western Europe) and The Colony (Australia). The rich live in the sleek, clean, and futuristic U.F.B., (think Star Trek’s look). The poor all reside in the Colony (think downtown Tokyo covered in dirt) and work for the UFB, commuting between the two safe havens by way of a futuristic mega-subway straight through the earth’s core. One of these oppressed workers, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), longs for more than his unimportant mundane life. Enter Rekall, a company that provides memory implants allowing you to live out (or at least think you lived out) your wildest dreams. Quaid, against the advice of his wife and best friend (Kate Beckinsale and Bookem Woodbine, respectively), goes to Rekall and opts for the past of a secret agent via implant. Just before the procedure gets underway Rekall is stormed by a team of federal agents who kill everyone in the room but Quaid. It’s not that they let him live, it’s that out of instinct average Joe Schmoe Douglas Quaid takes out 10 heavily armed men with no idea how he did it. From there it’s just one life-altering revelation after another, can he trust anyone? Is he an ordinary guy caught in a case of mistaken identity, or is he the UFB’s former top intel agent who went rouge to join the resistance effort against the UFB’s tyrannical government? Let’s just take a second and appreciate how awesome the premise of this movie is. It may be a remake, but at least the story warrants being told for a new generation and isn’t being done to exploit nostalgia.
Long story short, I loved it. I’m a sucker for good design, one of the main reasons I love Aliens is due to the sleek look of the vehicles and weapons, good design can up any movies cool factor instantly. Total Recall hits every bullseye design wise. I honestly can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like visually, from the robo-police force to the hover-cars and everything in between. Adding to this visual pleasure is the obvious thought and research that went into designing future world, this is one of those movies that will inspire the real world counterparts when the technology catches up. Speaking of visual pleasure we have Jessica Biel (who is back to pre-Blade: Trinity hotness) and Kate Beckinsale for the guys and Colin Farrell for the ladies. Thankfully we don’t have to rely on looks alone as all three of them manage to carry their roles with believability. As a quick side note I’d like to add that Kate Beckinsale is the top tier of all the “I show up in all of my husband’s movies, he’s a director!” actresses (I’m looking at you Kevin Smith). The supporting cast is no group of slouches either. Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy play the heads of the UFB and the resistance movement, again…respectively. While we round out the remainder of support roles with names like Bokeem Woodbine and John Cho, both of whom always deliver. Len Wiseman, who is known for his quick cut action shots from the Underworld series, shoots everything from farther back and with longer shots than we are used to in our action movies as of late resulting in some great action scenes that you can actually see ALL of! There’s one scene in particular where our hero escapes capture by jumping from elevators that go all over the city in all directions. Watch this scene and tell me that you don’t immediately think of those impossible moving platforms that showed up in every Nintendo game, most prominently (or annoyingly) in Mega Man.
The main thing that worried me prior to seeing this movie was the PG-13 rating. I never understand why they edit these movies all to hell just to get the 13-16 year old demographic. I get that it opens your movie to more possible ticket sales but isn’t the stellar box office take of the original the reason you thought to remake in the first place? Nearly every action movie in the 80’s was a hard R, incorporating gratuitous levels of the 3 B’s, Blood, Bullets, and Boobs. They all did pretty damn good at the box office, mostly because of the over the top violence and sex…it sure as hell wasn’t the depth of story or sharply written dialogue. I am proud to report that Total Recall found a loophole in my “No Downgrading to PG-13” policy. Apparently, if 80% of the bad guys are cool looking robots you can be as violent as possible, look Ma no blood! Oh, I should also include the 3rd B…which stands for boobs boys and girls, 3 boobs to be exact. I know this is the concern of every guy that is around my age range. The three boob girl from the original Total Recall was something every guy saw and every guy talked about and every guy remembered. The trailer’s confirmed she was in it, I can confirm that despite the lower rating her tri-boob is also featured in its full glory.
|I think it's safe to say this was an upgrade|
All in all I think this is sitting in the top 5 fun movies to watch of Summer 2012. A lot of critics are bashing it but I’m fully confident that you will not be disappointed plunking down your $10 for a ticket. This only applies if action movies are your thing, of course. It’s certainly not a movie that will sway your preffered genre from political dramas to big budget action, but I think the majority will have a blast with Total Recall.
4 out of 5 Guttenbergs