I enjoyed the original Total Recall when I first saw it. I have been interested in seeing the remake, Total Recall (2012). I know some people will dismiss the movie just because it is a remake, but I try to keep an open mind about them.
In the future, only two places on Earth are still inhabitable, the United Federation of Britain and the Colony. Doug Quaid and his wife Lori live in the Colony and Doug commutes - through the center of the Earth - to the United Federation of Britain to work in a factory that builds robot policemen. Doug has been having bad dreams for a while and he is feeling dissatisfied about his life. He ends up going to Rekall, a company that implants memories. Before the procedure is done, an armed SWAT team arrives. Doug is freaked out when he is able to take out the entire team. When he returns home, Lori tries to kill him and then shares that she isn’t his wife. Instead, she is there to keep an eye on him. Doug goes on the run, trying to figure out what is real, and he encounters Melina, the woman from his dream.
There are no extra scenes during or after the credits.
Total Recall (2012) is a remake of the 1990 movie and both movies are loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, published in 1966. I haven’t read the short story, so I don’t know what elements come from the original story. I have seen the original version of the movie a few times, but it has been a long time since I last saw it, so I’ve forgotten some things. I enjoyed that movie, though I’ve never considered it one of my favorites. The plots of the movies are similar, though Mars doesn’t play a part in what is going on this time. Some things that happen are predictable since the plot is similar to the earlier movies, though there are some changes as well.
Altered memories play a big part in what is happening in Total Recall (2012). Doug is very confused by what happens after he goes to Rekall and at times, he is unsure of what is real and what isn’t. That does add a little bit of uncertainty to some scenes, along with a tiny bit of mystery since it isn’t completely clear what is going on at times. There really isn’t any suspense to what is going on, though maybe there would be for people not familiar with the first movie.
A little bit of time is taken at the beginning of Total Recall (2012) to set up Doug and the dream he keeps having. Once he goes to Rekall and things go wrong, the pace picks up a lot. There are a lot of action scenes throughout the movie, including a chase in cool hover cars. There is a lot of shooting and fighting and people do get injured. Lori tries to kill Doug by beating the crap out of him more than once. Lori also has a fight with Melina. The fights are done well and are entertaining. Len Wiseman likes to use practical effects when he can, but there are also special effects used in various scenes. The effects work well, though there is an over abundance of lens flare that is distracting and gets annoying. The woman with three breasts is back, and her assets are briefly shown. That is really it for nudity, though Doug is shirtless a few times and Lori is barely dressed in one or two scenes.
The characters are interesting, though none of them are as developed as they could have been. Doug is living a normal, if somewhat crappy, life and he feels that something is missing. He is confused by what is going on, though he adapts fairly quickly. He seems nice enough and I do like Colin Farrell in the part. Lori starts out as Doug’s loving wife, though she is actually a cop on a mission to watch Doug. She has no trouble using violence to try to get her job done and she is very good at kicking butt. Lori is very determined to deal with Doug, and she pursues him relentlessly. She is not a nice woman. Kate Beckinsale handles the part really well. I do think Lori has more to do in this movie than she did in the original.
Melina first appears in the dream that Doug keeps having. She and Doug have a history and they were working together toward something when things went wrong. She is good with guns and able to fight as well. Jessica Biel is good in the part, though the character is flat, so she doesn’t have a lot to work with. Cohaagen is in charge of the United Federation of Britain and may have something to do with what is going on. He is only in a few scenes, but Bryan Cranston is good in the part. Harry is someone that Doug works with. He’s only in a few scenes, so Bokeem Woodbine doesn’t get that much to do. John Cho is briefly around as McClane, an employee of Rekall. Bill Nighy is barely around as Matthais, the leader of a group who may or may not be terrorists.
Kate Beckinsale - Lori
Jessica Biel - Melina
Bryan Cranston - Cohaagen
Colin Farrell - Doug
Bill Nighy - Matthais
Len Wiseman - Director
Total Recall (2012) suffers from some predictability and lack of character development, not to mention entirely too much irritating lens flare, but I enjoyed the movie overall. I think it works well as a mostly mindless action movie. People that like this type of movie or the cast may find something to like.
I would have rated 3.5 stars if I had the option. Since I don't, I decided to round up to 4.
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