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Bad Movie Tuesday: Total Recall

August 14, 2012

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These were my thoughts about Total Recall immediately after I walked out of the theater:

“Pouting, foot chase, squinting, car chase, gratuitous Kate Beckinsale beauty shot, squinting, Lens flairs, Bryan Cranstons hair, shoulder wounds, Jessica Biel yells “come on, let’s go!”, henley’s and popped collars, squinting and whole lot of confusion.”

The new Total Recall is a good-looking yet joyless barrage of unnecessary action and a waste of Colin Farrell. He has been on a fantastic career resurgence as of late (In Bruges, London Boulevard, Fright Night, Horrible Bosses) In this film all he does is look confused, squint and run. The original catered to Arnold’s acting style of physicality and surprising humour and it worked because you liked his character. In this film, Colin never gets to use his sly humor or tough guy Woody Allen routine. He is just a dude who yells “Let’s go” a lot.

Len Wiseman didn’t want to have any fun. Gone is the tongue in cheek hyperviolence of the orignal Total Recall. This film feels like a vehicle for Wiseman’s wife Kate Beckinsale. Beckinsale is a slightly inept and destructive agent who kills many innocent bystanders whilst chasing Farrell. The film is a huge Kate Beckinsale  beauty shot . It feels incredibly gratuitous and becomes comical. I’m all for tough women (Ripley, Connor, Seline, Milla in every movie) but I am %100 certain that the role was built around her posing in various angles.

After the film I looked over to my girlfriend and I asked “what was that about?” She replied “I have no clue.” The movie is about a guy who gets caught, gets his memory wiped then is used as a pawn to wipe out the resistance. Everything else in between is a bungled mess of bungled stuff. There is a foot chase through a lego city,  a car chase through a magnet city and many unnecessary explosions. The brave new world also features a populace heavily clothed in layers of henleys, V-necks and overcoats with popped collars. I totally believe the only reason they included one scene was so Collin could wear two stylish gas masks. By the end of the film you looking at millions of dollars of CGI and there is no response. You sit there quietly while things blow and up people get shot in the shoulder then you walk out and go on with your life.

The 1990 Total Recall is still relevant because it wanted to have fun. It shocked and awed audiences for generations because of the crazy visuals, decapitations and a certain woman with three very particular parts.

Total Recall is style over substance. That is its downfall. It doesn’t have the quirks that the original had. The violence is not balls to the wall. The characters are stock and it makes for a boring experience. That is the worst thing that can be said about a futuristic science fiction tale that involves good-looking people, explosions and gun fights.

Skip this film. Watch the original. Appreciate the classics.

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