Movie Review: Total Recall

Normally, I generally tend to agree with the consensus at the movie aggregate website Rottentomatoes.com, that my opinion on films echo that of the majority of film critics.  This film, however, marks a rare exception.

Not that I’m someone who always cling to what the critics say, but having a 30% rating (and 24% amongst ‘top critics’) didn’t exactly seem too promising as I headed to see “Total Recall”, a remake of the 1990 sci-fi classic and another adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick story “We can Remember for You Wholesale.”  It just so happens I didn’t even watch the trailer for this film before seeing it; the only thing I knew about this film was that it stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale.

I gotta say: I liked it a lot! I’ve come to realize the importance of a person’s mindset when heading to see a film.  Yes, I am a big fan of Arnold and I have seen the 1990 version and I love it, but for some reason, I made no attempt at comparing the two versions, the result was I found the new “Total Recall’ to be a very entertaining action flick.

It’s directed by Len Wiseman, who also directed “Live Free or Die Hard,” one of my favorite action films.  Since I was familiar with the Total Recall story, I didn’t expect anything new to come out of this version plot-wise, focusing on the visuals and action scenes instead.  I was mesmerized  by the post-apocalyptic world depicted here.  The cinematography and visuals were top-notch, giving a sense of claustrophobia because of overpopulation as a result of only two parts of the world inhabitable by humans (Britain and Australia, chuckles) after a nuclear holocaust.  I also applaud the number of Asians that populated the film (aside from John Cho), adding a bit of realism seeing some of those who were lucky enough to evacuate from other parts of the world.

Action scenes were plentiful, almost too much, but all were immensely well executed and entertaining.  One scene in particular, a hand-to-hand fight in an elevator involving Farrell, Biel, Beckinsale, and a robot, reminded me of how shocked and let down I was by the very badly choreographed, slow-paced, and anti-climatic showdown between Batman and Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

All three of the leads did what they could with a script that clearly lacked character development.  Beckinsale, who plays Lori, outshines her co-stars, portraying a sexy and lethal assassin with conviction.

I didn’t expect much out of the new “Total Recall.”  And it never occurred to me to compare it with the 1990 classic.  So what would you get if you do what I did? You’d get a well-made, well-executed, thoroughly entertaining action flick from start to finish.  You’ll get to see three beautiful people fight like Jason Bourne for around two hours.  Don’t expect too much, and enjoy!

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Author: dky1

A graduated (but still caffeinated) student. I write mostly politics and movie reviews in the Third Cup blog, and some fiction, short stories, and gaming journal on the Loner's Diaries blog.

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