Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012) is not stepping on the toes of a classic because the original wasn’t a classic..

This is a remake of the original Arnie film from 1990. A film I have watched 3 times, not because I liked it but at the time it was one of the few Arnie films I didn’t like and I felt I should. This is also a similar reason to why I have seen Bladerunner 6 times, but anyway I’m getting off track..

Here Colin Farrell steps into the shoes of Douglas Quaid. However despite sharing a name with Schwarzenegger’s original character, you will soon find quite a few differences to the story. He still has a ‘perfect’ wife though – here it’s Kate Beckinsale – and he has a meaningless life. He is plagued by dreams where he feels he has a purpose and is doing something worthwhile, fighting someone or something, and there’s a women in his dreams (Jessica Biel) who he has feelings for.. but the dreams are never quite solid enough to grasp onto or discern a meaning from. He eventually finds himself going to ‘Recall’ a private company that promises to let people live out their dreams in their mind just as if they were real.

This film is clever and plays with your expectations constantly. If you have seen the original you will be surprised that things don’t always happen how you expect. I should say that the lady with 3 breasts is present though, and is considerably more beautiful that the original – in fact this time round you may actually wish for that extra hand. (sexist joke alert!)

In fact you’ll often think you’re smart and that you’re ahead of what’s going on – but the director is always one step ahead of you – Is this real? or is Quaid still unconscious at Recall? and events will make you vacillate between the two with such a frequency that you’ll barely care by the end of the film.

Ultimately despite the cleverness there is little meaning here, and once it gets going, the movie is just one long action scene. There’s no time for meaningful relationships to build between the characters and combined with the excessive number of twists in the plot (the director plays with your expectations a little too much), you never find yourself fully engaged.

Different, but no worse or better than the original. It is entertaining but it’s shallow too. 5/10


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