Film Review: Total Recall




Imagine if you could re-invent your past, if you could have memories of an event that never happened, then imagine if that past became your reality? Well in Les Wiseman’s remake of the 1990 classic Total Recall, that’s exactly what happens. In the distant future chemical warfare has ripped the planet apart, the last reminiscence of humanity survives in two vastly contrasting civilizations at opposite ends of the earth.

At One end is The United Federation of Britain, a prosperous society homing the wealthy and governed by the manipulative Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). At the other exists the unenlightened, Colony – formerly Australia- an accumulation of floating luminous ghettos.

In the Colony lives Doug Quaid (Colin Farell), a factory worker that apart from being happily married to the beautiful Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is not entirely happy with his habitual lifestyle. His daily routine consist of traveling to The United Federation of Britain, in what can only be described as a super-sized elevator aptly named The Fall, which transports him and his colleagues to a factory where they build robots for Cohaagen’s synthetic police force.

Not content with his mundane life, Quaid goes against the advice of his best friend and goes to Rekall, a mind-altering facility, which installs memoirs of an event that never took place in the minds of its customers. Although just as the memories of a secret agent are about to be planted within Doug, the procedure is cut short by a squadron of Special Forces.

It just so happens that Doug Quaid isn’t who he thinks he is, his life has been a farce, the memories he thinks are his own are false, and everyone one he holds dear are really actors.

Fans of Paul Verhoeven’s original will happy to know that certain things like the three-breasted womon remains in the remake along with the Storyline loosely incorporating elements of the originals narrative. Total Recall also includes a nod to Verhoeven himself, when a street punk refers to a synthetic police officer as ‘Robo-Dick’ that refers to Verhoeven, who directed the first RoboCop film.

Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos has done a fantastic job along with Director of Photography Paul Cameron, to make this film stylistically stunning and the sets neatly resemble the kind we saw in the Star Wars Prequels.

Total recall lives up to the title of being a science fiction action thriller with some ingenuous ideas (like mobile phone’s implanted in people’s hands and flying cars powered by magnetism) and fast paced action sequences. Sadly that is all this film has, bad acting is prominent throughout and this version does lack that certain charm that the original had. Die-hard fans of the original would do well to stay away from this remake, but that said the Total Recall story has been introduced to a new generation.

Director:  Len Wiseman
Cast:  Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Colin Farrell, Ethan Hawke, Jessica Biel, John Cho, Kate Beckinsale
Runtime:  118 mins
Cert UK: 12A


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