I Saw A Film Today… Total Recall

I have not seen the original Total Recall. Mainly because I’m not much of a big Arnie fan. Mainly because he is… just a terrible actor. Granted, I really enjoyed him in the Terminator films but the man is rarely revered for his acting skills, much like Steven Seagal. Or Chuck Norris. (Yeah, I said it.) So this is why I really had no problem with a remake of it when it was announced, although fans of the original have openly voiced their opinion of having “dat douchebag Farrell” in the lead role, among other complaints.

Somewhere nearing the end of the 21st century, the world is split up into two superpowers as a result of a global chemical war, The United Federation of Britain (previously the United Kingdom) and The Colony (previously Australia). Yup, someone skimmed a history book before writing the plot. The only transportation between the two very distant countries is a giant gravity elevator, appropriately named The Fall.

Insert factory worker Doug Quaid (Farrell), who makes the trip between the Colony and UFB everyday with his friend harry (Bokeem Woodbine) to make robotic police officers. Doug isn’t happy with how his life has turned out, even with his lovely wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) waiting at home for him. He decides to visit Rekall, a place that lets you live any fantasy by directly connecting to the brain. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

Well it does when ten SWAT officers swarm the building and attempt to capture him. But Rekall awakens skills and memories in Doug he didn’t know about and with ease neutralizes the officers. Things only get weirder for him when he learns that all his memories are fake, including his name (actually Carl Hauser) and marriage to Lori. She is in truth an agent sent to keep watch on him by Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the mayor of UFB. With the help of a woman from his past named Melina (Jessica biel), Carl begins to unravel more than just his past.

Total Recall is a typical action film. It has the same played out lines, such as “I wont leave you!” and “I’m out of bullets!” and other things you’ve heard before. It also has such things as a knife blade making a schwing noise for no reason and a revolver firing off more than 35 rounds before reloading. And of course there are the numerous plot holes. But that does not change the fact that this film is extremely fun, which is all you should really want from it.

The action sequences themselves are very impressive. They are entertaining and eye-popping spectacles to behold. The scene involving jumping between elevators and the car chase are exhilarating and brings to mind, if only momentarily, of Spielberg’s classic Minority Report. Director Len Wiseman also has impressively integrated live-action shots with slow-motion sequences seamlessly. Another interesting aspect of this film were the futuristic devices. I really want one of those hand phones. Although updating Twitter would be awkward I’m guessing.

Colin Farrell is very good action star and one that takes his work seriously. Say what you will about the man, good or bad, but I’m glad his presence in films has been more prominent in the last few years.  Kate Beckinsale starts off dull but turns out to be a very intimidating villain. As for Jessica Biel, nothing memorable this time around. Then again, when was the last time she did?

Bryan Cranston has been one busy boy in the last year, including his great performance in Drive, and proves why in a certain capacity here. He is a very commanding antagonist in the last half of the film. I would also say that the always great Bill Nighy was great, but considering he was in the film a total of two minutes I can’t accurately say so. Oh, and the three-breasted alien was… well, she had three breast. For many that is enough to secure a great performance.

Total Recall is not a particularly great film, but it was fun and interesting action film. Which is all you would really want out of it.

Verdict: SEE IT!

* Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.

** Poster by Craig Newman.

*** Special thanks to my dear friend Marla “Skittles” Joy for attending this with me.

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