Total Recall (2012)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel
Screenplay by: Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Director: Len Wiseman
Earth has been ravaged by global war. Only two habitable regions remain; the United Federation of Britain and The Colony. People from The Colony commute to the UFB for work, by way of The Fall- a gravity elevator that travels through the Earth. Working inside of the UFB is a resistance with the goal of making life better for The Colony.
Meanwhile, Douglas Quaid is dissatisfied with life, despite having a hot ass wife who seems okay enough with their less than action packed existence. Factory work and lying in bed with living bliss just isn't enough. So, dude decides to go to Rekall, a place that hands out artificial memories to those of society who are unfulfilled with their reality. Secret agent sounds good, let's do that! Well, shit gets heavy just as the implant begins, and suddenly Quaid is icing motherfuckers like Bomb Pops, and is now a wanted man.
Originally I had very little to no intention of seeing a reboot of Total Recall. I'm not a remake hater; I just never have, still am not, and likely never will be a fan of Colin Farrell. I'm also not too big on Len Wiseman films, with the exception of Live Free or Die Hard. But, I got a free Redbox rental and said to hell with it, I'll check it out.
To be honest, I really didn't find it to be a horrible film. A better description is to say it just IS, if that makes any sense. Total Recall 2012 exists, that's the best way for me to put it. To give credit where credit is due, some of the action sequences are balls out entertaining, and pretty long running, making you wonder where a breather is gonna come in. However, none of the action is anything we haven't seen before, almost to an exact extent, and done better in some other film. The slow down areas are really where the film has little redeeming value. The more story driven scenes are all time poorly spent with really uninteresting characters and damn near nauseating nods to Verhoeven's Total Recall. What is the purpose of having a 3 tittied hooker in this version? It's acceptable on Mars where people are brewing with mutation. Here on Earth, war torn or not, this comes off merely as just an instrument to give fans of the original a boner. Well, it didn't. Neither did mentioning Mars once or twice. And neither did a reference to the Arnie masked “Two Weeks” lady. I personally enjoy a remake when it takes the basis of the story and just fucking runs with it. This just felt like a watered down Total Recall on Earth, mixed with a dozen other movies.
Okay, well does it at least more closely resemble Philip K Dick's short story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”? Naw, not really. Not to me, at least. I read the short story last year, and was honestly surprised at even how much the 1990 film deviated from it. But, the short story is just that, SHORT. Like finish in a half hour short. What's so great about the 1990 film is just how freaking fantastical it is, at every avenue it goes down. Wiseman's film never once tries to level up on what Verhoeven's film achieved, and doesn't even really try to do its own thing, either.
The biggest plus that Total Recall 2012 has is special FX. I'll be damned, but it truly does carry some of the best CGI I have seen in a while. The UFB and The Colony are pretty breathtaking. An early shot of Quaid walking out to his balcony and looking over the city is dare I say mind blowing. On the downside, the same thing was achieved 30 years ago in Blade Runner, and was just as convincing. And when this film doesn't resemble Blade Runner, it resembles Minority Report. And when it doesn't resemble Minority Report, it resembles The Fifth Element, and so on...
Onto acting. As I mentioned earlier, I'm just not a Colin Farrell fan. I'm sure he's put out a good performance here or there, but he disappointed me in Fright Night, and even more so here. His portrayal of Quaid came off as plastic as you can get. He may as well have been a G.I. Joe figure, just not as fun. Kate Beckinsale plays the wife this time around. She's hot as hell and kicks a ton of ass. Jessica Biel is the Melina of this version. To me, she's hotter than Beckinsale, but kicks a little less ass. It's kinda sad but you just don't feel that infatuation that Quaid had with this character that you felt in the Verhoeven film. Matter of fact, when Melina shows up in this version, it's just kinda like “Oh, some hot chick is helping Quaid get away”. Bryan Cranston is 2012's Ronny Cox, as Cohaagen, and his performance could probably be considered the best... if he had more to do, that is. How do you give such a main antagonist so little? Lastly, poor Bill Nighy is so underused as Matthias that next week I'll probably forget he was in the fucking movie.
So, that's about it on Total Recall 2012. I probably sound like I'm supremely hating, but I'm not. I don't feel like I wasted precious time by watching it. Overall, I just feel like it's heavily forgettable. A first viewing will probably impress you with some pretty awesome non-stop action, set design, and some decent camera work. But once the end credits rolled I started thinking up a dozen other movies that entertained just as much or more, and they still do because they don't feel as soulless as this.