Hollywood must be running out of ideas if they are remaking a movie that is only 22 years old. And while you can complain about reboots, at least some of them have been good, or even great. But Total Recall is one of the laziest forms movie making, and it’s a horrible movie
The plot follows the 1990 version to a fault. While a couple of things are changed, like settings, Recall does nothing else new. Doug Quaid is still a secret agent who had his mind wiped, and is then chased for the rest of the movie. It is laughable how similar the two movies are. While this is a remake, someone involved should have done SOMETHING different. The 1990 version had an intricate plot that screwed with your mind. And when the mind screwing started, it made the viewer stop and rethink everything that had seen before, trying to figure out if that’s what happened. The 2012 version just brings up those plot elements but doesn’t use them to their fullest. 1990 built up to them, and brought up evidence to made the mind screwing feel real. It just occurs here, and no one in the audience believes it. People in the theater just laughed when one character tried to convince Quaid he was still at Recall. When you boil the 2012 version down, the biggest problem is that it uses the plot elements as a framing device for huge action scenes. They look pretty, and hit hard, but can not be a substitute for plot.
The 1990 version explained the existence of “mutants,” but this version just skips right over that. The three boobed woman appears again, but we aren’t told WHY she has three boobs. How the hell did this happen?
Most can assume that every character isn’t developed. We know next to nothing about them besides the exposition at the beginning of the movie. While the acting jobs aren’t stellar, the script gives them nothing to work from. It’s more focused on trying to set up the next car chase or shoot out. The new element, that a nuclear war destroyed much of the world, is a welcomed change to the original. The 1990 ending left a sour taste in my mouth, as did the alien plot point that was peppered through it. While the apocalyptic setting is clichéd as it comes, it’s a slight improvement.
Len Wiseman, the director, doesn’t impress that much. It’s a bland action movie that doesn’t add anything to the genre. I’m sure a big reason that he is involved with this film is Kate Beckinsale, his wife, staring in the movie. The Underworld movies never impressed me, so it is not a surprise that Recall felt bland. The sets are the only thing that stuck out as good. They are huge, and update the 1990 look well. The majority of the film takes place in England, but you’d never know if the exposition dump at the beginning told you.
Speaking of exposition dumps, it’s time for a rant. Hollywood, FUCKING STOP. Exposition dumps don’t help that viewer in the slightest. If you want to give us information about the setting, have a character tell us. Making huge exposition dumps at the beginning of the movie makes the audience feel like they are an idiot. No, we couldn’t understand what is going on if a character told us; you have to spell it out right away. Did people get pissed at the beginning of Star Wars because they didn’t every little detail? Let the information flow from the story.
As said before, the actors aren’t given much to work with. But then again, they don’t try hard to bring any life to these characters. Colin Farrel acts the same as Arnold did in the original. Kate Beckinsale is more interesting as the fake wife than the 1990 version. Jessica Biel draws the short straw though, and is given zilch to work with. She is just there. Biel is there for looks, and looks only. Brian Cranston is a great actor, but he is sadly in the background the entire film. He appears near the end, and somehow overpowers Farrel in a fight. That’s the most unbelievable part of this movie. While I complain about the acting, many will see this for the action, and the action only.
Total Recall is lazy film making. Even more than The Amazing Spider-Man. At least Amazing was a good movie.
Total Recall gets 1.5/5.
The best part of the movie was the free water bottle I received from seeing Total Recall.