Because I didn’t want to review Total Recall wholesale for you, here’s a Turbo Review!
When calling yourself Total Recall you’re going to have to do something worthwhile. Coming twenty two years after the classic original it’s long enough perhaps for a remake; reboots have come round quicker elsewhere, so time isn’t the issue. What is arguably an issue is, it didn’t need to be remade.
So does treating it as a standalone allow it to fare any better?
Colin Farrell is Douglas Quaid, a factory worker struggling with dreams of being a spy. He goes to ‘Rekall’, a company that implants memories to allow saps to live their dreams, but there are consequences.
Farrell is decent when he gets to pause and look to build some sort of opportunity for charisma or connection with his two female leads. Wife Kate Beckinsale hams it up slightly to be the premier villain when Bryan Cranston’s Cohaagen is grossly underused. Jessica Biel’s rebel comes along for the ride. Bill Nighy’s rebel leader, Matthias is given very little screen time.
Without any satire, laughs or enough time to pause and build a thought to care with repeating chaotic chases while lacking any intricate plotting or characterisation there is no feeling in Total Recall. The very cool looking visuals are just a shell.
Some chases are exhilarating and at times future world New Britain and ‘The Colony’ (Australia?) look very impressive, but it’s a world lifted heavily from elsewhere and just one of numerous examples of borrowing from far superior Sci-fi’s.
One-liners are delivered without the humour required and from an opening with an extremely distracting strobe lit escape, every shot seems to have a majorly off-putting, tagged -on lens flair thing going on, which feels completely artificial. Perhaps a stylistic device to create a dreamlike feeling but it’s overused.
Whether comparing to the original or viewing it on its own merits, Total Recall 2012 is poor.
Take a Johnny cab to the original.