The time has come where people think that with today’s technology they can go back and take a film from anywhere before the 2000’s and re-create it with better sound and graphics and have themselves a better film. Now while there is nothing actually wrong with it, I am partial to the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There was nothing wrong with 1990’s Total Recall. I thought it was another good installment in Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s entertaining film career. Now, it wasn’t the best film ever made, but it certainly wasn’t a bad film. I don’t know what the reasons for re-creating the film were, but again, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Total Recall takes place on planet Earth, years in the future after a chemical war has left only two major cities habitable, and the transportation in-between them is a giant subway-like car that goes through the middle of the planet. John Quade, played by Colin Farrell, is a regular citizen and factory worker with a working wife [Kate Beckinsale], trying to make it on their own in the harsh world. Or so he thinks. When his need for something better gets the better of him, Quade takes a trip to Rekall, a facility that uses special technology to implant memories in your mind. During the process, the employees start freaking out, alarms go off, and they accuse Quade of being a spy. Cops blow the doors open in seconds, and Quade uses his unknown fighting skills to combat 10 armed men. Now running from the police and his “wife”, Quade must find out not only who he was and what he was trying to do, but who he is now.
There is no doubt that this time around the movie looks and sounds infinitely better than the original. That is just a product of the times. The CGI is top of the line for 2012, and most of the scenery and everything else of the movie is computer generated. While looking good, the visuals all seem a little recycled. There is a lot of Minority Report, like the way the cars look and move, and the touchscreen interfaces and such. There are some influences of TRON: Legacy, and multiple others. I know it can’t be a walk in the park to create your own rendition of the future on Earth, but I think some more time should have been thrown in to come up with something a little more creative. Hell, they could have done what the original did and put the main location on Mars. I think that could have been really awesome to see.
The cast this time around seems more capable of putting on a good show than the one assembled for the original film, and from a technical standpoint I think they did. Farrell was good as the lead, but his performance left me wanting. I didn’t get the emotion one would expect from finding out you have no idea who you are or who you used to be, from confusion to fear or anger and the thirst for revenge. All of the performances felt like they lacked a certain something, but I can’t really put it into words. Beckinsale was particularly good as the bad guy you love to hate, and the same goes for Bryan Cranston. But the others like Farrell, Jessica Biel, and all the other supporting cast, just didn’t really convince me.
There were your usual fill of senseless physics and decision making and poor henchman shooting that you expect from a sci-fi action movie, and director Len Wiseman, the maker of the Underworld series, gives us some okay action and chase scenes, but most of them dragged on a little too long for my taste.
1/4 – Although it is one of the most attractive movies you will see this year, from cast to visuals, Total Recall is a remake of a movie with much more film resources at it’s disposal that ends up being pretty lackluster.