Originally adapted by director Paul Verhoeven in 1990, author Philip K. Dick's classic sci-fi short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale returns to the big screen in this remake starring Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, and Kate Beckinsale, and directed by Underworld's Len Wiseman. The planet has been decimated by nuclear war in the late 21st century, leaving only two nations -- the United Federation of Britain and the Colony. Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is a factory worker with a stable job and a loving wife (Beckinsale), but upon learning that a company named Rekall could grant him the memory of the ultimate espionage adventure, he decides that a virtual vacation is better than no vacation at all. But in the midst of having the new memories implanted, something goes haywire. Still strapped to the chair as the system breaks down, he's branded a spy as the authorities close in, and quickly flees for his life. Later, Quaid discovers that he has a secret identity, and he joins forces with rebel soldier Melina (Jessica Biel) on a mission to track down Matthias (Bill Nighy), the head of a fierce resistance movement that's been labeled a terrorist organization by the tyrannical Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Cohaagen seeks to control the entire free world, and now the harder Quaid fights to defeat him, the clearer it becomes that his memory had been altered long before he walked into Rekall. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Len Wiseman
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine
Release Date: Aug 03, 2012
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity and language
Runtime: 1 hr. 49 min.
The 1990 Total Recall was one of the few Arnold Schwarzenegger films I’ve always had a real affection for, the other being Predator. With Paul Verhoeven inspired direction it was on of those classic 90’s sci-fi films that just worked on so many levels. To say that this remake is pointless and ultimately soulless kind undersells the point. Les Wiseman has made a career of “borrowing” styles from other better films and for this he seems to have just lifted entire visual styles from other directors and films (Minority Report, Blade Runner & J.J. Abrams wonderful lens flare amongst the most obvious). His film has a polish but it’s about as hacky as it gets. The plot is roughly the same from the 1990 film except Mars and air have been replaced with Blade Runner-esque Australia and invasion. Outside of that the plot hits the basic bullet points and even replicates some of the scenes with the shiny new veneer except everything feels rushed, lacking any depth. Colin Farrell is in cruise control for the better part of the film and honestly he isn’t asked to do much, ditto for Jessica Biel whose character is about as one dimensional as they come. Kate Bekinsale works her badass chick routine while looking steely the entire time. Considering her character was the combination of 2 characters from the 1990 film, you’d think there’d be more depth to her but like everybody else in the move she’s just asked to follow the threadbare script and look good posing for the camera. On the bright side, you can make a great drinking game out of the number of time she’s got her mouth slightly open while eye banging the camera. Bryan Cranston’s Cohaagen barely registers, wasting the wonderful talents of a fine actor. Bill Nighy appears and disappears from the screen so quickly you’d barely notice him. There are some visually fun action sequences here but nothing close enough to justify the remake. Occasionally remakes surprise you, other times they remind you that just because it’s new doesn’t mean its better.