Total Recall is not a total mess … but almost

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This movie was full of points worthy of nods of appreciation and also packed with bad plotting, silly errors, and flat dialogue. The overall effect left this reviewer feeling rather … meeehhhhhhh about the entire experience.

Mehhhh? What the heck kind of professional opinion is that? Have you ever left a movie theater feeling that the two hours spent within were generally amusing, but rather flat and left you wishing it you felt more satisfied? That’s how I felt about Total Recall.

Director Len Wisemen took the classic Total Recall film and re-made it for our modern era. In this modern version, The United Federation of Britain is controlled by Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). The rest of the world is pretty much uninhabitable since the nuclear fall out, except for Australia, home to many blue-collar jobs and rebel factions.

The world is a slimy, poverty-ridden, work-filled existence for the common person like the memory-raped Doug Quaid (Colon Farrel) and his hot-ass “wife” (or so he thinks she’s his wife) Lauri (Kate Beckinsale). He has dreams of being someone fighting for something more, but has no idea what those dreams mean. During his visit to the memory-inducing Rekall, he realizes he’s not who remembers himself to be.

The original movie, also based on Phillip K. Dick’s Remember it for You Wholesale, was not the War and Peace of film. It was, however, witty, full of fun science fiction, and made the audience want to watch it over again and again to try to figure out the reality from the “recalled” memories. This version included a sad attempt to throw off the audience, keeping us guessing “which side is he on? And what doesn’t he remember now?” Unfortunately everything he didn’t remember was completely obvious to those of us with the popcorn.

There were other points that I just couldn’t suspend enough reality to believe. The characters frequently passed through the entire interior of the earth, including the core, via a large metal machine. So … you’re telling me that the metal that you extracted out of the ground and then molded using heat, can withstand the molten environment of the middle of the earth? Ok Sure. I can handle that. But did it really have to have windows? What the hell kind of plastic did we invent before the year 2084?

That’s being picky, perhaps. I would have let such a silly thing go making my own mental explanation except the movie was FULL of these stupid points. The robots had terrible aim with automated weapons, yet Colin Farrel with a pistol could take them all out easily. He actually punched a metal robot in the face at one point without even hurting his hand. He fell from tall buildings, bounced of metal beams, and got back up as if nothing happened. He had knock down drag out fights without getting a bruise. I realize this happens often in action films, but when a story is so low on plot that all you are left with is action, then all you are left to do is start picking apart the action for flaws. (By the way, my the point that annoyed me the most was that in scene after ass-kicking scene, Kate Beckinsale’s lip gloss remained flawless. Seriously?)

The only good part was the amazing CGI. The city-scapes, the technology, the weapons – it was all visually amazing. The visual stimulation of this film kept me entertained until the last. It was actually so good that due to the special effects I will recommend you see this film … when you can rent it on Netflix.

 

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