The remake of the 1990 film ‘Total Recall’ is not such a fun summer film, although it does have amazing special effects and action scenes, the dialogue and some of the twists ruin what could have been quite an interesting film. Granted no one is going to watch this movie for the dialogue but it uses guns, technology and fighting sequences to cover what it lacks to be a more entertaining, which it could have easily achieved given the storyline but clearly the new scriptwriter should have worked harder. The original movie was a smashing success, hence the reason why a remake was done; those that loved the original may not be happy with some the changes but will surely enjoy the CGI it uses. Will this one be as successful as the original? I highly doubt it, especially seeing that the main star Colin Farrell is not one to lead a blockbuster film, but that’s beside the point.
In the future most of the earth is inhabitable except for what is known as the United Federation of Britain where it seems that most of the rich people live and jobs are available and the Colony, where most of the poor people live. Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker who travels daily from The Colony to the UFB, despite of having a caring wife; Lori (Kate Beckinsale), his monotonous life makes him unhappy. When he hears about a lounge called “Rekall” a place where he can escape his frustration by implanting memories of a life he wishes he led, he decides to give it a try. Unfortunately, his escape becomes a nightmare when his fantasy of being a spy seems to become a reality and the police persecute him.
There are a lot of intriguing conversations in the film about what reality is and how illusions work, but it is just inserted in between dialogues that have no depth which is unfortunate as this could have taken the film to a higher level. There’s also a similarity to the world we live in as there’s talks of revolution, oppression, wanting more, terrorism and a government that seems unstoppable; again all interesting but just thrown about and not exploited to its maximum.
The technology and special effects are amazing, that can’t be denied; from flying cars, a roller coaster like metro called “The Fall”, high-tech cellphones, to a city built in layers and robot like police officers. The movie has a ‘Matrix’ like feel to it theory wise as well as the look of it in some scenes, which is a bit unsettling but understanding knowing its origins and its more modern audience. While it stays true to the original it certainly isn’t an exact copy of it, except for some of the twists and main plot.
It has a slow beginning and there are pauses in between scenes that seem to be too long without reason and scenes that ridicule the film such as a shoot out brought on by “jelousy” and others where the girls seem to be asked to pucker their lips and flip their hair at the camera. Many of the moments of suspense are laughable and pass quickly.
Although Farrell carries himself well, specially in the action scenes and in no way tries to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original; his alter ego is a much more interesting character than the one he plays throughout the movie and he’s easily maneuvered in a way that makes him seem almost like a secondary character. Beckinsale sure kicks butt and she plays her die-hard role perfectly, the only thing that takes away from her performance is the one-liners she delivers. Jessica Biel plays Melina, although her name isn’t mentioned; she’s another one that is perfect for action films but there’s not much we are told about her character so it is a bit tough for the audience to connect with her. Finally, Bryan Cranston as an evil politician would have been perfect except for the script he was handed, Cranston seems to play the same character in most of the latest movies he’s in which doesn’t show the true acting skills he possess.
This movie didn’t take advantage of what it had: the potential of a good interesting solid storyline based on the original, stunning special effects, engaging action scenes and actors that could have done much more with their roles. You can appreciate the special effects this film shows from the comfort of your home, without missing out on much. But, If you want to see a movie that has a spy who doesn’t know his identity, I say wait one more week for ‘The Bourne Legacy’ which although it probably won’t deliver the special effects this one does it sure will give a more solid storyline that doesn’t get lost in weak dialogue and corny one-liners.