Ror Reviews: TOTAL RECALL 2012
By now many of you will probably have either decided to check this out or give it a miss, but since it's only out in The UK and Ireland this weekend, I thought I'd give you guys my take on the remake no one wanted just in case..
You've already read Josh's take on this, so here's a very different one from yours truly!
Honestly, I'm not even a huge fan of the original Total Recall. I loved it as a kid when I saw it first, and still enjoy the gory, OTT absurdity of it, but it is by no means a great movie. So when it was announced that we would be getting a remake it really didn't bother me too much. I'm not a fan of director Len Wiseman at all, but the cast was solid, and I actually quite looked forward to seeing Bryan Cranston as the villain. Should be an entertaining enough time-passer anyway right?
The story is pretty much the same as the original - that itself a loose adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" - but with one crucial difference. In the Paul Verhoeven movie we were never certain if what was happening to Quaid was real or imagined, in this new version it is made very clear right from the get-go that this is NOT all in his head, and that those around him are simply trying to make him think it is. Straight away we are robbed of what could have at least made for a diverting guessing game, and from there things only get worse.
To call this movie predictable is an understatement. Even if you aren't familiar with the story already, it's so by-the-numbers in its plot structure that you will see what's coming around every corner (it's usually Kate Beckinsale wearing her perma-scowl) and as a result the - admittedly impressive looking - action sequences are rendered completely ineffective. Although to be fair, they were already pretty much neutered by the decision to go PG13 and jettison any real violence. I don't believe every action based flick needs to be a claret soaked affair, but when your movie has nothing else going for it, it probably should be! Here they even go for the "Battle Droid" bad guys - big, shiny, completely forgettable, far too easily dispatched robots.
As Quaid, Colin Farrell is okay. There are flashes of a pretty good performance, but for the most part he phones it in - and he's not alone. Even old reliables like Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy fail to make any impact at all, and coming out even worse are the ladies I'm sorry to say. I don't think Kate Beckinsale brings anything to any movie she appears in aside from her looks so there were no surprises there, but I'm actually a bit of a fan of Jessica Biel so was very disappointed in her bland offering as the love interest. But it must be said, none of the actors were done any favors by the script, nor the sometimes embarrassing dialogue they were forced to spout.
There are positives - the movie looks very nice, and one thing Wiseman can do is direct action. As I mentioned, some sequences - particularly the mid-air hover car chase - are pretty impressive, it's just a shame you won't give enough of a damn about the characters involved in them. And the special effects are top notch - but let's be honest, isn't that to be expected from any big budget studio picture these days? I'm not trying to down-grade the fine work done by the movie's massive effects crew, but the fact remains that the industry standard is very high now. Still, there is no doubt that many will be happy enough with the visual spectacle and serviceable action, and if that applies to you, go ahead and add a star or two to the rating.
Some nice visuals and a watchable Colin Farrell are not enough to save this one. A bloodless, soulless, humorless, pointless remake, which represents the very worst of Hollywood sci-fi today
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