Monday, 10 September 2012

Total Recall (2012) Review

Total Recall is a remake of the 1990 Schwarzenegger film of the same name. Before I get into this review, I want to make it clear that I haven't seen the original movie. If you have, your opinion of this remake may slightly differ from mine - but anyway, here's what I thought:

The first thing I want to say about this movie is that it looks great. It's right up there with The Avengers and Prometheus when it comes to films with awesome visual effects. The creators did a good job creating two futuristic cities and I felt like they'd put effort into making it as detailed as possible.

But, visual effects aside, what's the actual movie like? Well it's a mixed bag.

Beckinsale puts in a good performance here
On one hand you've got a surprisingly good cast. I was worried Colin Farrell wouldn't be able to carry an action movie since the last I saw him in was Daredevil, thankfully, he's fine in this. He may not have the build of the Schwarzenegger but he still manages to pull of some cool stunts here.
Then there's the two ladies in Douglas Quaid's (Farrell's character's) life, played by Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. There both good in their roles, but you can't help but notice just how much more badass Beckinsale's character is in comparison to Biel's.

Then there's the setpieces, and there's a lot of cool action in here. Whether it's gunfights, one-on-one combat or car chases - Total Recall is an exciting ride.

But, it is flawed. Firstly, you can tell that sacrifices were made to get this film it's PG-13 (or 12A for UK readers) rating. It's made pretty clear that "shit" is the rudest word you can say when going for that rating, but the writers seemed to think that saying it a few times in nearly every scene would make up for it. Needless to say it ended up getting a little distracting and near comical.

Then there's the fact that no matter what happens to them, the people in the Total Recall universe don't seem to bleed much at all. It's impressive really. These little things aren't major problems, but they're hard to miss when watching the movie.

Something that is more of a problem however is the story itself. The exposition of who Douglas Quaid is, is handled poorly and I found myself with a lot of questions by the end of the movie.
A bigger problem though may be that the story just isn't particularly compelling. Maybe I'm just a heartless monster, but in my opinion the movie just didn't spend enough time explaining the consequences that the "bad guys'" actions might cause. Because of this I found it hard to immerse myself fully in the story, and by the end I wasn't really rooting for anyone which made it a bit less fun to watch.

But, Total Recall isn't bad. For those of you looking for a fun, sci-fi movie in this time period where not much seems to be coming out - this is probably for you. The story may be a bit weak, but there's enough action to keep things entertaining. This is helped along also by the cast.


Looks wise Total Recall 2012 owes quite a lot to Blade Runner – all rainy high-rise slums connected by floating car superhighways and various walkways.

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