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This week, Papa Kenn reviews the latest remake/reboot of the season: TOTAL RECALL!
Director: Len Wiseman
Writers: Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback, Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, and Jon Povill
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, John Cho,
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I tell you what, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Total Recall! It takes place in a moderately realistic future where our hero, Douglas Quaid, leads an average life with his beautiful wife Lori. His dreams are haunted by nightmares of another life with another woman, and these dreams continue to haunt him in his daily life. After learning of the company Rekall, where people can have fantastic adventures and vacations implanted into their memories, Quaid decides to go in hopes of making his dreams become a little more real.
What ensues is a thrill ride of action, comedy, and a touch of over the top violence that culminates into a topsy-turvy story of confusion, betrayal, and self-discovery. Despite its cheesy dialogue, incredibly dated technology and…interesting choice of style, none of this takes away from the overall enjoyment!
I give Total Recall: 8/10.
In case you didn’t catch on before now, I’m talking about the classic Total Recall from 1990 starring the king of one-liners himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I love every bit of this movie from start to finish even though it’s horribly cheesy and the acting isn’t that great at times. I have so much fun while watching it though, the vast majority of its flaws just feel like part of the show.
Now the remake/reimagining/reboot…whatever you want to call it…well, I didn’t hate it. In fact there were parts of the movie that I really liked. It’s beautiful in a way that is obviously inspired by Blade Runner, and the action scenes are technically well done.
However…this movie is Total Recall without the heart of the original. Even with superior actors, the acting feels uninspired in many scenes, and that’s when they actually get to act! The vast majority of this movie is action scene after action scene to the point where you start to lose track of the already weak storyline. The action, while technically well done, is so constant and by-the-books that it actually starts to get boring.
The stakes never feel as high as they did in the original, and it’s all because there are so few people to actually care about! In 1990’s Total Recall, we had Quaid, Melina, Tony, and a whole host of characters whose names we may not remember, but we’ve met them and actually give a crap whether they live or die! In this movie however, we barely get a handful of actual defined characters with names (including Quaid), and the rest might as well be extras! “Who was that?” “I don’t know.” “Oh well, he/she’s dead now so who cares?”
If you’re a fan of the original in any form, I think it’s best to just avoid this remake. You may enjoy how it looks, and may even like the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to the 1990 classic (and then of course there’s Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel but that’s a given)…but in the end it’s pretty disappointing. That being said, if you or someone you know hasn’t seen the original, there’s a better chance of actually enjoying this movie. My wife, who went in with no prior knowledge of Total Recall, gave the remake 7/10.
While it’s not a bad movie, and nowhere near as horrid as some reviewers may lead you to believe, it’s only fair at best. To hold the name of a much loved classic and fail to even come close to its quality is an insult to the fans and the money we’ve spent to see this.
I give Total Recall: 5/10
Save your money, and just enjoy the original until you can rent this one for cheap.
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review.