Movie Review: "Total Recall" (2012)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
For some reason, somebody in Hollywood thought "Total Recall" required a remake when in reality, there's really nothing wrong with the 1990 film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and was a huge box office success. Now the cast of the original has been replaced by Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, and Bokeem Woodbine to name a few.
Let me be frank. Dear casting director, if you're not going to have Michael Ironside, don't bother with this film.
The 2012 remake of "Total Recall" pretty much follows what happens in the original 1990 film. All with the exception of going to Mars. This new "Total Recall" takes place completely on a futuristic Earth that resembles an even more CGI-heavy version of "The Fifth Element".
Say what you will, but this remake sucks in every way imaginable. It's a total bore-fest. I can't even believe that there's actually some people out there who think this is in any way a good film.
But it's okay. To those of you who think I'm wrong about this remake, maybe I'm the one who's hallucinating. Maybe I'm the one who is strapped in the chair at Recall right now. Because I can't help but notice the bizarre and questionable coincidences surrounding this film. What do I mean by that?
- Colin Farrell is in more than one of these remakes.
- It is always released in or close to August.
- And it ends up sucking.
"Miami Vice", "Fright Night", and now "Total Recall". Has Colin Farrell become the go-to guy for crappy remakes?
Speaking of August, one actually doesn't even need to watch this movie to know that it's bad. The film's release date itself speaks volumes about it. Compare the original "Total Recall" release date with that of the newer one.
June 1st, 1990 vs. August 3rd, 2012
The original was released in the beginning/middle of the blockbuster summer season. It was sandwiched between "Back to the Future Part III" and an entire onslaught of highly anticipated films such as "Dick Tracy", "Gremlins 2: The New Batch", "RoboCop 2", and "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" to name a few.
Now, usually August is a dumping ground of sorts for subpar summer films because it's towards the end of the summer season. This doesn't go for every film that's been released in August. For instance, 1989's "The Abyss" is one exception. Put it this way, you'll never see a 'Batman' or 'Die Hard' movie released in August.
As soon as the remake of "Total Recall" begins, there is already a sense of something lacking when we see the opening titles. Hmm… what could it have been? Oh wait, I think I found it.
You know, it's very assuring when the opening titles/sequence along with the memorable music score of the remake isn't as equally good or better than that of the original.
The movie just opens to a view of Earth and we see "Total Recall" pop up. No musical build-up, no unique sequence of credits, nothing. You can imagine how 'pumped' I am now to watch the rest of this.
The opening music of the original film assured us that we were in for an enthralling roller coaster ride of a movie. Well, don't expect that this time.
Speaking of music, this new "Total Recall" doesn't really have much of a 'soundtrack' to begin with. With the original's soundtrack, you can tell creative minds were at work behind the scenes, trying to come up with something that carried a unique sound. But in 2012's "Total Recall", the soundtrack just sounds like a bunch of randomly selected library music.
The Zero Element
Just about every scene and action sequence in the "Total Recall" remake looks like a strange mixture of "Minority Report" and "The Fifth Element". The overly long flying car chases in this movie alone resemble that of "The Fifth Element".
The nitty-gritty ultra violence of the original "Total Recall" is completely absent here. Now, it's been replaced by what I can only describe as video game cut-scenes. Take the scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger's character first goes to Recall and gets his memories implanted, he wakes up the next minute and starts fighting with everyone in the room.
In the remake, that very same scene now looks like something right out of a video game. I can appreciate the effort to make this part an entire "one shot" sequence, but if it's not going to hold a candle to the ultra violence of the original scene, don't bother trying to impress.
How about that messy scene on the escalator where everybody gets shot up? Nope, you won't find anything of that extreme level here. All the action in 2012's "Total Recall" is crisp and clean. Actually, it looks a little too perfect… like a video game, get it?
After seeing what they have done here, I bet you're probably very excited about the upcoming "RoboCop" remake in 2013.
Girls, Girls, Girls
I must ask... was Len Wiseman on crack for him not to notice that one of the coolest things about the "love triangle" in the original film was that it was interracial?
In 1990's "Total Recall", the blond Sharon Stone played Arnold Schwarzenegger's villainous wife while a hot and spicy Latina, Rachel Ticotin, played Melinda, the girl of his dreams.
Now in the 2012 version, Sharon Stone has been replaced by Kate Beckinsale while Rachel Ticotin has been replaced by... (drum roll)... Jessica Biel. In other words, instead of a white chick and a Latina chick, we just have two white chicks now who don't have much to distinguish themselves apart.
Why, why, why...
Couldn't they have at least offered the part of Melinda to Eva Mendes? It's not like there's a lack of good Latina actresses nowadays. Come on. There is nothing "exotic" or "spectacular" about Jessica Biel, this choice is a total cop-out compared to the beauty of Rachel Ticotin.
Maybe Len Wiseman doesn't like Latina actresses?
I was actually surprised that he decided to keep the black female Recall Receptionist. At least he got that right.
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