Monday, October 1, 2012

Total Recall (2012)

The 21st Century is coming to a close, and Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is looking for an escape. Quaid lives with his lovely wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale), but Quaid is an ordinary factory worker, who wants more out of life. Plus, Quaid is haunted by a series of bizarre nightmares. One night, Quaid decides to take a trip to Rekall, a company that provides fake memories and fantasies. But a seemingly simple and harmless attempt to escape reality takes a drastic turn for the worst. Rekall’s mandatory diagnosis exposes Quaid as a spy, and Quaid is the main target for a SWAT team’s raid. Quaid takes out the entire SWAT team by himself, and he quickly returns home. Bewildered and frightened, Quaid looks for comfort from his wife, but Lori tries to kill him. Lori reveals herself as an undercover agent. She tries to kill Quaid again, but after numerous attempts, Quaid finally escapes.

Quaid’s real name is Carl Hauser, and Hauser was an important person in the resistance movement against Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Apparently, Hauser is the key to stopping Cohaagen’s most recent diabolical plan, but Hauser can’t remember a crucial code. Hauser receives help from a mysterious woman named Melina (Jessica Biel), and together, Hauser and Melina try to stop Cohaagen’s planned invasion. But they will have to fight off Lori (Cohaagen’s #1 crony), and fierce attacks from Cohaagen’s robotic army.

Director Len Wiseman’s high-octane style provides plenty of thrills. The action sequences are swift and hard-hitting, and Wiseman delivers endless amounts of excitement behind the camera. The flashy CGI provides some great eye candy, and Wiseman’s guidance as director really pulls everything together. I usually enjoy Wiseman’s work. He is the same guy, who directed the first two Underworld films, and Die Hard 4 (Live Free Or Die Hard). Wiseman has a good taste for stylish and explosive action, and Total Recall is probably his best film as director.

Collin Farrell can’t fill Arnold’s shoes, but he’s a competent leading man throughout this film. The supporting cast is strong. Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston deliver very solid performances, and I really enjoyed the acting in this one.

Total Recall (1990) was a unique sci-fi/action film, that featured eccentric humor and characters, but the 2012 remake is a big money summer blockbuster. It’s a popcorn flick for the most part, the plot twists are identical, and the lack of strange humor didn’t bother me too much. Also, you won’t see Mars in the remake, and this story puts more focus on government, politics, and the corrupt leader (Cohaagen).

As far as the acting goes, I don’t have any major complaints. Kate Beckinsale takes on the role of Lori, but unlike Sharon Stone, Beckinsale plays the role of Quaid’s fake wife, and she’s Cohaagen’s top crony. So when Lori finally turns on Quaid, Beckinsale takes on Michael Ironside’s Richter character in the original. Beckinsale really nailed the backstabbing, cold-hearted bitch side of the Lori character, and Beckinsale’s Lori is more fearless and physical than Ironside‘s Richter. Lori doesn’t have a right-hand man (the Helm‘s character from the original), and other henchmen for back-up. Instead, Lori has the support of Cohaagen’s robotic army. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Beckinsale is more attractive than Stone.

Rachel Ticotin’s Melina is more rugged, but Jessica Biel brings a lot of emotion to the 2012 Melina. Ronny Cox’s Cohaagen is more of a weasel. Cox’s Cohaagen fit’s the profile of a slimy politician, but Cranston’s Cohaagen is a stronger character. He’s bold, more devious, and when the situation calls for it, Cranston’s Cohaagen can fight.

Bill Nighy portrays Matthias, the leader of the resistance movement against Cohaagen. But you can’t draw comparisons between George/Kuato (the resistance leader in the original) and Matthias. Matthias is a normal human being, but Kuato possessed supernatural powers, and he’s a deformed mutant attached to George’s body.

They reintroduced the space prostitute with three tits from the 1990 original. Unfortunately, there’s no Thumbelina here, but Total Recall 2012 is still an entertaining film. Of course, it’s different. The changes are noticeable, but compared to other lame remakes, Total Recall 2012 is a refreshing surprise.

All in all, Total Recall 2012 is an enjoyable popcorn flick. Total Recall is thrilling, and this film is loaded with impressive visuals. It was trashed by the majority of critics, and the lukewarm reception from moviegoers didn’t help anything. Still, Total Recall isn‘t horrible, so don‘t let the “it‘s not as good as the original” stuff scare you away from this one.

Final Rating: 7/10

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