“TOTAL RECALL” jarred our memories from the 1990 Arnold version with updated special effects and chase scenes. This 2012 version starred Collin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel based on the short story by Phillip K. Dick, ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” The premise was the same. Taking place years in the future where there are two colonies left after mass destruction, Doug Quaid, everyday factory worker went to Rekall to implant a “vacation memory.” Life in the future, in this movie as in most futuristic movies, was dark, depressing, and desolate. After a “malfunction” occurred during his so-called implanted vacation as a double agent, Quaid launched on a realistic adventure. The question remained as to what was real and what was part of Rekall.
Even though the premise was the same, this new and slightly revised version of “Total Recall” lacked some of the same suspense and ever-questioning whether it was real or Memorex. What this movie lacked in intrigue, it made up for in special effects and high intensity fight scenes. These were truly non-stop from near the beginning of the movie. Luckily for me, the explosions and fighting wasn’t so realistic that it was gorey. On the contrary. The movie had some pretty amazing and well-choreographed fights with and without guns. The chase scenes took your breath away as the characters frequently had near misses with falling to their death.
Collin Farrell played a great Doug Quaid. He truly looked confused trying to sort out what was real and what was not. The look of absolute shock and awe on his face after he took down 10 real and synthetic police officers was priceless. Of course, you had to look way beyond the scope of reality while watching this. I’m sorry, but there is no way any one could ever fall several stories through a glass roof, bounce up only to fall through another tiled roof, fight fist to cuffs with several enemies and then escape. That’s ok though, because this isn’t supposed to be believable. It’s just fun to watch. And the fight scenes weren’t just between Quaid and his enemies! Beckinsale who played Quaid’s wife, Laura and Biel who played Quaid’s girlfriend (don’t ask), were just as tough. Beautiful, fit, petite Beckinsale was probably the scariest fighter there. No one wanted to or dared mess with her. She pulled it off. Tough as nails! Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy rounded out this cast with their versatile acting skills. Cranston can easily bounce from lighthearted, sweet, not-so-bright Hal from “Malcolm In the Middle,” to “Breaking Bad’s” tough guy. Sweet wasn’t his persona in “Total Recall.”
Overall, this was a high action, high intensity remake with remarkable special effects and chase scenes. However, it was missing a few key suspense elements from the original. I enjoyed the movie, but have a new appreciation for the 1990 version and will always be a fan of author Phillip K. Dick. I think guys are going to love it and the rest of us will be entertained. It might also be fun to watch the original before you see this one!