Be as it may, I tried to sit down this past weekend and for the first time ever watch the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Total Recall. Needless to say, I did not make it all the way through. I know. Boo! I became extremely bored and restless half way through. Like my experience with Serenity, I yet again seem to be in the minority when it comes to appreciating Sci-fi classics – although oddly enough, I do utterly adore and appreciate The Fifth Element. I don’t think I’ll fully understand why that is, but I try not to question logic too much when it comes to my love of certain quirky movies. My take away from last weekend’s viewing was that I finally got to experience the three-breasted-woman and appreciated how good looking and yummy Sharon Stone really was back in her Basic Instinct days. However, I won’t let this past weekend discourage me from everything I have seen so far since it was showcased at last year’s Comic-Con in regards to this rebooted title. Hear me world?! I’m coming in with an open mind.
The 2012 Columbia Pictures reboot, which lacks the titular trip to planet Mars like in the original, is directed by Len Wisemen who is no stranger to the Sci-fi action genre or the leading lady here. It stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale (yum again), Jessica Biel and Bill Nighy. And you guessed it…in the Kurt Wimmer screenplay, Mr. Farrell reprises the legendary role of Doug Quaid. Interestingly enough, both Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender wanted dibs on the character, including interest from Schwarzenegger. I could just hear him now if he got the part…I’ll be back (in Arnold tongue)…LOL.
Total Recall “2012″ takes place in the futuristic year of 2084 and Earth is divided into two super powers, FBR (Federation of the British Republic) and New Shanghai, after being ravaged by war. Both super powers are battling it out for supremacy to reclaim “living space.” Our main character, Doug Quaid (Farrell), lives in New Shanghai and travels through the Earth’s core everyday to his job in FBR land to build Synthetics, a robot police-like force, on an assembly line. Sounds like a dream job, eh? Far from it! Discouraged by his low wages, lack of advancement opportunities and an ordinary existence, Doug pays a visit to Rekall to create new and exciting opportunities after billboard ads intrigued him. Brilliant marketing, eh? You betcha! I’d go!
Just like in the original film, once Doug is strapped into the chair at Rekall, all hell breaks loose while the “secret agent” formula is administered. An armed SWAT team comes in and kills all the employees of Rekall. Doug is left to fend for his own life and discover the truth about who he really is and why everyone is so hellbent on killing him, including his drop dead gorgeous piece of a$$, um…I mean wife Lori (Beckinsale) and who’s his new squeeze, equally fine Melina (Biel)? Relax, these questions and more will be answered for those who are patient enough to sit through all the drab CGI action sequences.
So speaking of the film’s continuous use of CGI, no quips here. Everything looks grand. It’s the way the film’s action sequences are played out. Everyone of them, and I mean everyone of them are bogged down in a slow paced effect. As a result, I caught myself dozing twice and I was wide awake going in. That’s not supposed to happen in an action film, is it? Much like the original film, I found myself bored.
Let’s talk about the actors. Colin Farrell is usually always great and that’s no exception here. He seems to always give his best no matter what he has to work with. I appreciate that. Kate Beckinsale can speak in Mandarin. I don’t care. I’m not interested in what she’s saying. I’m only interested in what she’s wearing or in my mind, what she’s not wearing. But herein lies the problem. Their onscreen chemistry was wretch-fully weak and rather forgettable. The same goes pretty much for Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy and Bryan Cranston’s performances. Many people have said this now and I concur. Total Recall is another remake that I feel personally did not need to be made.
But if there’s any saving grace here, it’s the fact that I like how scribe Kurt Wimmer had a bit of fun here and there the way he paid homage to the original film like the Three-Breasted-Woman and many more Easter eggs. And speaking of the Three-Breasted-Woman, portrayed by Kaitlyn Leeb here, kudos to the filmmakers for showing her in all her glory in this otherwise bland PG-13 remake of an R-rated action film. I think that last sentence pretty much sums up in a nutshell how I feel about my Total Recall outing. I want to go to Rekall now to forget about all this. Matinee only, folks! Hail to the Dark Knight this weekend.