Monday, June 24, 2013

PCP on DVD - Total Recall

The original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of my favorite films from his career. It is cheesy, but entertaining with its mind bending plot. When I learned they were updating the film, I was intrigued, because it looked like it would be way less cheesy than the original in terms of the visual effects. But I had concerns about how they would handle the plot, and whether or not the film would live up to the original. It turns out my concerns were valid.

Total Recall - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating: 5 out of 10.

The update of Total Recall stars Colin Farrell in the role of Quaid, filling Arnold's shoes. As good as Farrell is in action films, he's no Arnold, but at least he's a far better actor. Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale are both upgrades from the leading ladies of the original film, Rachel Ticotin & Sharon Stone, both in tems of acting ability and action skills, as well as looks. But unfortunately, the three leads all represent the biggest problem with this remake: it has far more style than the original film, but less substance.

Total Recall is the story of a bleak future, one where most of the world has been wiped out in some sort of nuclear war. The two remaining world powers are at odds with each other, and the stronger United Federation of Britain wants to take over the weaker Colony, in order to take its land and living space. Quaid is a factory worker who lives in the bleak Colony and is dissatisfied with his life. In an effort to inject some thrills into his life, he goes to Rekall, a facility that directly implants exciting memories into your brain so you live in a fantasy for a brief time. As he goes to Rekall though, the workers there discover that his current personality isn't what it seems, and apparently he is a spy who had his memories previously wiped, and the Rekall process reawakens his action hero talents. Or did it? One of the mysteries of the plot is whether all of the events of the film are merely in Quaid's head, or if they are really happening. I won't reveal what I felt the outcome was here, so as not to spoiler the ending for anyone.

As I said, the film has a lot of flashy style, with gorgeous visual effects. However, the film feels hollow and empty, lacking something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this film just didn't sit right with me, and that doesn't include the massively preposterous abuse of physics with "The Fall," the elevator that runs through the center of the Earth. In one sequence, some characters manage to exit this massive elevator system while it is travelling through the center of the planet. Considering the massive speeds that this system of transportation would have, based on the transit time described in the film, there is no way that they would be able to hang on to the outside without being blown off the side of it, much less even take a breath successfully.

Overall, this film is perfectly average. There wasn't anything particularly awful about the film, but there's nothing particularly redeeming about it either. Unless you have a major obsession with one of the stars of the film, I'd recommend you go watch the Arnold original instead of this remake.

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