Reviews: ‘Total Recall’

Aug. 9, 2012, 12:35 a.m.
Reviews: 'Total Recall'
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Keep your expectations low and enter with caution, and you just may be somewhat impressed by “Total Recall”; otherwise, the movie simply flops.


Directed by Len Wiseman, “Total Recall” is yet another Hollywood remake that has succeeded at nothing but crashing and burning. The film revolves around Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), an Australian factory worker who lives with his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale). In this futuristic dystopia, chemical warfare has destroyed most of the world, leaving only two inhabitable countries: the United Federation of Britain, which includes the United Kingdom as well as much of Europe, and Australia, known as The Colony.


Quaid decides to go to Rekall, a company that uses chemicals to provide false memories, after feeling as if there is something missing from his life. After policemen raid Rekall and Quaid manages to fight his way out, he soon discovers that he is really an ex-spy who turned against the government to work for the Resistance, an equality-focused group. With the help of his former partner Melina (Jessica Biel), Quaid begins to find his true self again as well as try to beat Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), who plans on destroying The Colony.


While the acting and casting for each character was well done, the roles are one-dimensional. A notable example of this is Cohaagen, who plays a typical capitalistic, money-hungry leader. There’s little to no dimensionality to his character, and while it can be argued that this is because he plays a secondary role, his character is significant enough to deserve more depth.


Reviews: 'Total Recall'
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

In addition, the movie stumbles in several places. To begin, the foreshadowing is blatant and awkward. For example, before Quaid finds out about his true self, he sees a pianist in a bar and notes how he wishes he knew how to play the piano. Fast-forward to halfway through the movie and you see him miraculously playing a piano by sense memory to decode a message he left for his future self. In addition, the plot drags at the beginning with slow and unnecessary scenes, then rushes at the very end by attempting to annihilate all of the major enemies within the last five minutes of the film. While the plot itself has no problems, it moves at an unstable pace and in a way that makes viewing the movie extremely difficult.


The one notable part of this film is its “coolness” factor. The movie’s location is extremely futuristic, and the fight scenes are choreographed and shot in engaging ways. In addition, the lighting, costumes and settings are all consistent in terms of color and style, which helps give a cohesive feel to the film.


If you’re simply looking for a short, two-hour escape from your day-to-day life, this movie is the one for you. However, don’t be alarmed if you find that within 24 hours, “Total Recall” has become no more than just an insignificant memory.

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