Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
As Doug struggles to differentiate between fact and fiction he stumbles onto a mission that will determine the fate of the human race. Friends will become enemies and allies will appear from unexpected places. Whether it is a dream or not Doug will have to fight to stay alive or else his game will be over permanently.
Lori Takes The Wheel - Lori (Kate Beckinsale)
Admittedly, it has been quite awhile since I've seen Total Recall (1990) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Still, I can say with an ounce of confidence that this new version directed by Len Wiseman does go to some efforts to set itself apart from the earlier version. I suppose the biggest overhaul is the design of the film with The Colony looking like a large scale homage to Blade Runner (1982) while “New Britain” shows off a polished and sleek design.
The plot is also tweaked just enough so that it feels more like a “reimagining” and less of a “rehash”. Doug is still tasked with overthrowing a major plot that will result in the deaths of millions of innocents but instead of rescuing some impoverished citizens on Mars he is destined to aid in the salvation of his own neighbors in The Colony. The “is he or isn't he?” gimmick that's supposed to be the underlying theme of the movie is played upon for awhile but by the end it's pretty clear what Doug's true reality is.
Total Recall is arguably more condensed this time with a lot less supporting characters than in the original. Schwarzenegger ran into a wide assortment of colorful characters, both friends and foes, that made the adventure a little more epic in scope. This version of Total Recall is closely fixed on Doug, Lori, Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and Melina (Jessica Biel). Bokeem Woodbine helps with the mind-twist a bit as Doug's best buddy but everyone else is relegated to minor role status. Even Bill Nighy, the leader of the Colony rebellion, is onscreen just long enough to deliver another clue to the memory-challenged hero.
Surprisingly, there seemed to be more emotional depth in the original Total Recall than in the remake. Due to the revised story being so focused on the main cast it seems like their actions have only fleeting consequences on everyone else. This made the film a little colder and a little too efficient when compared to the original. I think Bokeem Woodbine's character could've been used a few more times to really muck with Doug's head. I also think it would've helped to get more interactions with other rebels besides Ms. Biel's “Melina”.
Having Schwarzenegger interact with the mutant people on Mars helped to add more sympathy and gravitas to his mission. His quest to become his true self was made even more important because it meant the survival of an entire community. It's the same path Farrell takes but the people or representatives of “the people” aren't featured so prominently this time so the mission seems more about Doug's personal beef with Cohaagen making the fate of The Colony almost an afterthought.
On the other hand, I guess the Mars citizens had more of a cause to get involved since they knew that they were being oppressed. The citizens of The Colony are much more representative of present day society where the majority are so tuned in to their jobs and their bills and their personal entertainment that Congress could take all their personal freedoms away and they wouldn't even notice because they're too busy texting and uploading drunken videos of themselves on YouTube. They still could've shown more aware members of the drone society to make the battle against Britain's tyranny wider in scope and expand the consciousness of the film. Oh, well. Maybe in the next remake.
A Dynamic Duo - Melina (Jessica Biel) and Doug (Colin Farrell)
As an action film, Total Recall succeeded in revving up my adrenaline levels. Say what you will about the plot but action scenes such as the hover car chase, elevator brawl, and the final battle on “The Fall” (a mass transit system that transports people from The Colony to Britain) are amazing. The movie has a nice combination of “shoot 'em ups”, physical beat downs and vehicular assaults that satisfied this fan of action flicks.
Though Colin Farrell is the hero and the star I couldn't help but be much more intrigued by Kate Beckinsale. I've seen the actress do some impressive stunts in the Underworld movies and Van Helsing (2004) but as “Lori”, Ms. Beckinsale was the guiltiest pleasure in the entire film for me (the futuristic fridge with the tablet-styled door interface came in second). Ms. Beckinsale just made being a government stooge look so incredibly attractive and worthwhile. If you're a fan of Ms. Beckinsale (like I am) then prepare to fall deeper in love with her ruthless supercop-terminator persona.
I know many critics have slammed Total Recall for being too similar to the 1990 film but, for me, the new version didn't leave me with buyer's remorse. The action is fantastic, the visual effects are pretty snazzy and the performances are pretty decent (though Beckinsale practically outshines everybody). I'm not sure how close the remake comes to Philip K. Dick's original idea set forth in his short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” but it still works as an entertainment vehicle. Though not the best blockbuster of 2012 the new Total Recall is a wild ride, at the very least.
Rhymes With: Total Recall (1990), Underworld (2003), Death Race (2008), Push (2009), Ultraviolet (2006), Aeon Flux (2005), Salt (2010), I, Robot (2004), Surrogates (2009)
Spread The Word
- Movie Review - Ghost Rider: The Spirit Of Vengeance (2012)
- Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)
- Review -- Burn Notice: "Unchained"
- Review -- Futurama: "Free Will Hunting"
- Movie Review (Counter): The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
- Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
- Interview: Todd Senofonte talks about work on Robert Tai's Iron Bodyguards, stuntwork on Van Damme films, and current roles