Film Review “Total Recall”

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 58 mins

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Total Recall?” Remember Mars, three breasted women, little Kuato and Arnie’s hilarious one-liners (“consider that a divorce!”)? Well, if you’re looking for a walk down memory lane (ooh, a “Total Recall” pun), unless you like the occasional extra boob you’re going to be sadly disappointed.

Doug Quaid (Farrell) lives on what’s left of a futuristic Earth on the former continent of Australia, now referred to as “The Colony.” The Colony is where the dregs of society seem to dwell. The only other inhabited part of the planet is a majority of Europe, know known as the United Federation of Britain (UFB). The main form of transportation is referred to as the Falls. Basically you get inside and travel the 17 minutes it takes to get from one place to another. Through the center of the Earth. Hold onto that coffee! Doug spends his days working at a factory where synthetic policemen (imagine the Storm Troopers in “Star Wars” starring in “Robocop”) and his nights waking up after having the same reoccurring dream. Looking to get out of his funk he decides to stop at a business known as REKALL. There you can have your brain fitted with fond memories of things that never happened. Want to be a pro basketball player? A singer. A secret agent? REKALL can make it seem like you’ve already been one. The only catch is that if you, say, want to have an affair behind your wife’s back, the only way REKALL can plant the memory is if you’ve never really had an affair behind your wife’s back, otherwise things can go really bad. Doug decides that he’d like the adventure of being a secret agent. How bad could that be?

Full of almost non-stop action the drawback to the new “Total Recall,” sadly, is that it’s full of almost non-stop action! Lots of gunfire and running across rooftops with an occasional line of dialogue does not a great movie make. As staged by director Wiseman, who did such a great job with the last “Die Hard” film, the action and stunts are over the top and sometimes breathtaking. However, when the cast stops to catch its breath, the film slows to a crawl. On the bright side, it appears that Wiseman is a fan of “Blade Runner” which, like “Total Recall,” is a film based on a Philip K. Dick story. His vision of the future is very similar to Ridley Scott’s; an overcrowded world with people literally living on top of one another. Apparently it’s also a future where cars now fly yet also use the side streets and giant elevators shuffle people here and there yet you have to run up a seven story staircase to catch the bad guy. Technology my butt!

At least the cast is up for the adventure. It’s been so long since I’ve seen Colin Farrell on screen (in a horrible comb-over in “Horrible Bosses”) that if this had been the early 1980s I would have thought I was watching Treat Williams. As Quaid’s “wife” Lori, Beckinsale is both cunning and bad ass. Former/future love interest Melina (Jessica Biel) matches Beckinsale in both brawn and brains. And both look good in black.

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