Friday, August 3, 2012


Director Len Wiseman’s TOTAL RECALL is the latest version of Phillip K. Dick’s (author of BLADE RUNNER) short-story novel “We Will Remember It for You Wholesale”. It is designed as a science-fiction thriller set in a believable future centered around one man’s personal journey. The design and idea is solid, but as we all should know (Rekall or not), execution is everything.
Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a disgruntled factory worker in a futuristic Earth which is recovering from the effects of a massive biological war which has divided the planet in two halves; the worker-bee colonies and the rich folk. Despite being married to his hot wife (Kate Beckinsale), Quaid wanders to the Rekall facility to have adventurous memories implanted in order to break the boredom of his life. Things go wrong and hijinx occurs, with Quaid landing in the middle of an invasion led by the Chancellor (Bryan Cranston) and opposed by resistance fighters led by Melina (Jessica Biel) and Kuato (Bill Nighy).

TOTAL RECALL has a very good stage set for a decent flick; an outstanding-looking future (more on that later), decent actors and a large-scale, Armageddon-esque plot to raise the stakes to go along with Quaid’s journey to find out who the hell he is. Unfortunately for all involved, director Len Wiseman, while having a decent knack for action and visuals, cannot tell a story out of a nutsack. RECALL is a movie composed of action-scene after action-scene, with only brief interludes of dialogue to set up the next chase. A movie with so many chases, falls, and crashes would seem like a thrill-ride, but with so much of it the film becomes boring. You can nearly set a clock to the next chase scene.
The real star and achievement in TOTAL RECALL are the visuals and the design. The cityscapes are breathtaking, and the technology used in this futuristic world is not only very cool to see, but also feels like the next logical step in the tech we are using today. Nearly everything from mobile phones, touch-screens, weapons and vehicles (maybe not so much the flying cars) all feel like they are just a few years away.

Colin Farrell does an okay job with the little that he is given to work with. For a character that is supposed to be the center of all attention, it gets lost amongst the endless running about. Kate Beckinsale (whose career has been nearly destroyed by Wiseman himself), does the most work with having to switch accents (and character) from time to time, while Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, and the great Bill Nighy might as well be flashy touch-screens on the wall.
The finale comes about by way of several twists and turns to try and turn the film into a psychological mind-bender, but each twist never feels like it carries any weight and is quickly forgotten. The diabolical scheme Quaid is trying so hard to thwart amounts to a CLONE WARS ripoff, and despite how much the film tries to convince us of the gravity of the situation, it never feels like a shit should be given. TOTAL RECALL is visually stunning and packed with action, but still comes off as a bore.


No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.