Total Recall – 118min – PG-13
If you were to take DNA samples from Blade Runner, I,Robot , Minority Report and the original Total Recall, splice them together with a dry political plot and give the filmmaker a lot of money you get today’s version of Total Recall. It felt like a studio gave a fan boy a big budget and he made a blockbuster level fan film. There are many flashy effects and action parts interspersed with long stretches of back story to carry you along. Now from a sci-fi action standpoint it does what it advertises, but overall it’s a yellow light.
The movie starts out with an injured Collin Farrell in a hospital trying to escape with a mysterious woman (Jessica Biel). SNAP he wakes up in bed. He is Douglas Quaid, a factory worker that has been having this reoccurring dream for a long time. He is married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale), an emergency responder. They live in a hovel of an apartment and barely scrape by. Life is getting Douglas down and he is having trouble sleeping because of the dreams so he goes to a place called ReKall to have some memories implanted to numb the pain of a bleak existence. It turns out he has already had his memory altered and his attempt at changing his memory triggers a police raid that kicks off a poorly paced action movie.
The differences from this and the original are primarily two main changes. First off, no Mars and no mutants, it all takes place on Earth. The world has gone through a war and the planet is completely unlivable except for two locations: Great Britian and Australia. The second is Lori Quaid is no longer shot in the head as she tries to convince Douglas to choose reality. She is a highly trained operative that chases Douglas throughout the movie. It's good to be married to the director.
Len Wiseman, who is famous for his Underworld franchise, directs this movie like a love letter to all the sci-fi movies that he has ever loved. He elbow pokes the viewers in the ribs with his heavy handed call backs to the original movie. I have a sore spot from where he hit me and giggled ”See that? See what I did there?”
The science in the movie is flawed and the political plot line is stale but the action is top notch. If you enjoy the genre and don’t look at the in-between parts, it does do well as an eye candy film. The hover cars and the robot chases are good. Bokeem Woodbine is way under-used as the factory worker buddy who warns Douglas off of Rekall. He has plenty of untapped potential and they missed out on giving him more to do in this film. He could have been much better than a Sharon Stone stand in.
Bill Nighy brings his “A” game like always but this time they only gave him a small part. John Cho also has a bit part, but owns what he has.
Spoiler warning!!! Only deep cover double agents that have been brain washed beyond this point!!!!
Ok, I am a fan of breasts and I have no problem with someone having three of them. I found no reason for them to throw in a three breasted prostitute in this film just because they had one in the other film. The reason she had three in the other film was because of the mutations. There were no mutants established in the story so there was no reason she was there. But she did look nice. I am not giving up my man card.
Having the main character start out in the “dream” laid down the groundwork that this was not real and the dream was reality. There was absolutely no doubt that the life he was living was a cover and his choices did not leave the viewer questioning anything he did. In the original you were left with a question of was it real or not?
Having a pipeline that connected Great Britian and Australia was way too much of a stretch for me. They started off with that gem of a hurdle to try and get past. Then having the humongous elevator to get from one side of the world to the other was just silly. Especially the scene where they shifted gravity. It looked cool, but I would have been pissed off if a person’s coffee mug or their car keys, or a book floated around and hit me in the head on my morning elevator ride. Seriously why are there objects floating around the cabin, are all these people new to this trip? Did no one hear the foreshadowing announcement that said gravity is going to shift?
What Philip K Dick story would you like to see on screen or do you think they should rehash Blade Runner next?