Turbo Review: Total Recall (2012)

total recall 2012

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.

turbo 2 plastic

37 responses to “Turbo Review: Total Recall (2012)

  1. In general, I am anti COLON Farrell, but I’ve been giving him more chances since In Bruges. This movie was pretty sorry….

    • poor ,average, disappointing – all of those things. I tried not to compare it to the original, every review has done that, but it did feel as though it was trading on the name when it was completely unlike the original, that’s normally a positive but it just didn’t do it well enough. Decent in parts, painful in others “I give good wife” – oh dear ;/

  2. Not a big Farrell fan but I don’t think this movie’s suckiness was his fault. It’s just poorly conceived from the start. The only high point? We get to look at Kate Beckinsale and that’s a mighty nice thing.

    • ha ha! pssst…dont tell anyone but it got 2 stars for having two fit females in it 😉 I quite like Farrell but this thing just didn’t do it’s own thing well enough, seriously mis-stepping in being completely different to the original without repeating some of the good which it would have been entitled to do. The only idea it seemed to have was…ruuuuuuunnnnnnn!!!

  3. It’s a forgettable movie, but I’m among the few who actually enjoyed this one while I was watching it. I didn’t find it to be too offensive, at least. *shrug*

    • At least there are a few, which isn’t wholly unsurprising to me and I never want to be totally down on a film, so I am glad you did. I was not offended at all to be honest, I think I felt sorry for it more than anything. There was one bit in it where Farrell and Biel share a moment on the train (don’t know if you remember), well it was one of the few ‘connecting’ moments in it that it didn’t have enough of. The bit with the Piano was good too. It was brave to set a totally new direction for a remake, just picked the wrong one IMO – too much running 😉 Thanks Chris

  4. You said it Kevin, this one is poor indeed! I was anticipating it, perhaps because the panel was entertaining at Comic-con but meh, the movie’s sooo boring!

    • It’s an object lesson in how not to do it, it was actually advantaged in many ways because the source and the original lended enough good to use while still allowing it to be original. It tried to do that I think, but didn’t think to pause long enough to build, can’t really remember how the end come about and the reasons why because I simply passed caring long before. I actually like all the cast usually, shame they couldn’t repeat that comic-con chemistry here!

      • I do like the cast too, but Colin looks bored here and Kate is playing similar character to her Underworld role, just a gorgeous femme-fatale type who looks good running around in tight clothing, ahah.

      • she does look good, hard to disagree there 😉 There’s one shot I remember where she struggles to pull the gun from the holster, it felt like a double take, I thought…oh dear.

  5. Right on Kevin, this was a stinker for sure. With such rich source material, a previous adaptation to show you the way, and quality actors it blows my mind that they screwed this up.

  6. Wiseman is a terrible director. Check him out on his IMDB profile. Guy’s more concerned with doing his hair than making a good movie. Although, having said that, if you’ve got Kate Beckinsale on your arm, you’ve gotta up your game! 😉

  7. Not to mention it totally took away all of the mystery of not knowing what’s real and what’s in his head. One of the reasons the original still sparks conversation is because everybody has their own theory as to whether or not Quaid got lobotomized. Not in the remake, though. Also it’s booooooooooooooring.

      • Yep. The remake had a single scene that I guess was supposed to harken back to the original. When Woodbine confronts him in the lobby of the building and the police are closing in, he says something about his head being messed up. But it was never for the viewer; he was obviously full of shit. Ah, man…I can keep going. That movie sucks. It’s too bad, because Wiseman is capable of making good movies. Live Free or Die Hard is really underrated as far as I’m concerned.

      • He’s all about looks that guy, his hair his face and his movies. The that die hard wasn’t as bad as some make out out but he is a generally shallow filmmaker but that’s what the studios want in a lot of these movies.

      • Yea, well, since it bombed horribly, I’m hoping they’ll either think twice about remaking certain classics or give them the respect they’re due. Total Recall isn’t the worst offender, though. The American remake of A Tale of Two Sisters is one of the worst remakes I’ve ever, ever, ever seen. Ever.


  8. I’m so glad that I didn’t pay to see this in theaters. I actually forgot all about Total Recall being remade until I was leaving my office at DISH last night, and one of my coworkers was saying that the Mad Max remake is likely to be like the Total Recall remake. Personally, I loved the original Total Recall, but I’m still curious what made Colin Farrell’s version so bad. I’ve added it to my Blockbuster @Home queue that I have through DISH. They don’t have late fees or due dates, so I’ll be able to hold onto it for a while so I can compare it with the original, and not feel rushed.

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