Total Recall is the first film this year that is making a strong push for Worst of 2012 and it makes no regrets about it. It is a remake of the 1990 film of the same name, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and both are based on the short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. I’ve never seen the 1990 film, and I haven’t read the short story so I went into the film cold, knowing nothing about it other than what I’d seen in the trailers.
The premise is that in the future, a man played by Colin Farrell goes to a place called Rekall where they advertise that they can implant memories into your head. You can think you did something without ever really doing them. He tells the technician, played in a small role by John Cho, that he would like to be a secret agent. As his procedure starts, it gets interrupted by the police, yet Farrell’s character can take them all out in a slow-motion shootout. He is now the one on the run.
Interesting idea, the problem is, they don’t play that up enough to me. They seemed too worried, throughout the movie, about their B story about the battle between the two countries that the world is now divided into. I wanted to find out more about Farrell’s character, who this guy is, but most of all get in his head and show us his confusion. Farrell played the character like he wasn’t confused about who he was and what was really happening. This was a film that was focused on style, slow-motion shooting, and futuristic set design.
The movie is action packed in places and the fight scenes, particularly the ones featuring Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are well done for the most part. You can tell that they didn’t use CGI, you can’t fake people falling through glass and then a roof into another person’s house. Those kinds of things are staged well, however they start to feel repetitive towards the end and you hope that it means the story is leading us to a point.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t see the original film, nor did I read Dick’s short story. Therefore, I don’t know how this film’s ending differs from those endings, but I think most in the theater I was in were let down. I won’t give anything away, but most stories lead you to a finale and the the finale of the story is the end of the main character’s story, not the B story.
I have many problems with 2012’s Total Recall. The acting is fine, Kate Beckinsale is the only one that actually gives a standout performance. The set design was trying to be futuristic and ended up just being weird and I was trying to figure out where they were most of time. Most of all, it was just flat out boring and had a terrible political secondary story that the film used as it’s finale rather than using it’s most interesting idea, a man who doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not, which never quite feels wrapped up.