Total Recall (2012 USA)

TotalRecallTotal Write-Off would have been a better title. And it was too soon. Maybe twenty two years too soon. What’s so sad for me is that the name of Philip K. Dick is associated with this. I’m pretty sure that if the great man were alive today his lawyers would have made sure that his name was not associated with this film in any way, shape or form whatsoever. This embarrassing effort, with its overbearing music, falls apart if you merely glance at it once.

It looks like the sets have been borrowed from other sci fi movies. The dark, rainy city in the Colony is a mix of sets from ‘Blade runner’ and ‘Dark City’.The car chase seems to have been taken from both ‘Minority Report’ and ‘The Fifth Element’. The synthetic fighter robots seem to have been copied from the advanced Sonny robots from ‘ I,Robot’ and the raiding policemen look very much like the Star Wars stormtroopers. Added to that are the nods to the original: the three-breasted hooker, the ‘ two weeks’ fat lady, and a robot’s arm being chopped off by a lift is reminiscent of the scene where Richter loses his arms before he falls to his death. There is a lack of character development. Len Wiseman claimed his film is about an every day man’s struggle with his identity and search for his past.

But Colin Farrell, who plays Doug Quaid, is too bland in my opinion. I didn’t see any emotional struggle in his character. He simply plays an action hero who doesn’t remember who he was and does nothing but run, jump, fight and fire his gun. Kate Beckinsale is probably one of the worst things about this film, I’ve nothing against her, she’s passable when playing the right part but this is clearly not the right part – has there ever been a worse case of miscasting in cinema history ? She struts around supposedly tough and scary, (yeah, right) her voice is irritating, her presence annoying and her fighting scenes cringe-worthy. I didn’t care much about the rest of the cast either. Jessica Biel is not believable as a resistance fighter. Her character is weaker than Rachel Ticotin’s Melina from the original. Brian Cranston’s Cohagen is weak too. Ronny Cox’s portrayal was superior back in 1990.

Bill Nighy who plays Matthias, the rebel leader, is under used so I didn’t care about him either – but the impact was lost because, well, it was Bill Nighy. This remake will never top Paul Verhoeven’s movie. The original has flaws but it has a more coherent plot, leaving the viewer wondering whether it was all a dream or reality. The remake lacks ambiguity. I think everything is real throughout the movie and nothing is left open to the viewer’s interpretation. Its a typical 21st century product, it struggles to engage your imagination because the people making it lack the creativity needed. If Len Wiseman had done something different/unique about his version then it could have been a much better standalone flick with possible critical and commercial success. Instead, it’s just another epic fail.



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