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Movie Review: "Total Recall" (2012)

Updated on August 24, 2014
1 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Total Recall
Prepare to be bored.
Prepare to be bored. | Source

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 Now the cast of the original has been replaced by Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, and Bokeem Woodbine to name a few.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?

Let's see...

  • 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.

Incomplete Recall

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.

So... which one is playing Melinda?
So... which one is playing Melinda? | Source

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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    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY


      I think you're completely missing the whole point. Because it is a remake, it is asking to be compared to its original counterpart, it is inevitable. Before the remake concept started getting abused in the past several years, movies were usually remade because A) There was something wrong with the original or B) The filmmakers came up with an alternative take on the original film that was not only DIFFERENT but EQUALLY AS GOOD.

      A good example of reason B is 1986's remake of "The Fly". It's a totally DIFFERENT film than the original from the 50s. This has nothing to do with the decade movies are in. The point is whether or not you can top the original or make it equally as good. And in this case, "The Fly" from 1986 succeeded.

      "Total Recall" of 2012 does not. They weren't even TRYING to make a worthwhile movie here. Go watch the remake for "Day of the Dead" and tell me I can't compare that to the original because its two different decades and two different audiences. TOTAL BS. That remake was a disgrace to the original.

      "Batman Begins". Another good example. We NEEDED this remake because of what Warner Bros did to the previous series. It made sense.

      FYI... Unlike "Total Recall" in 1990, we actually needed the 'Spider-Man' reboot thanks to "Spider-Man 3". The only reason they remade the 1990 movie is because they wanted to throw lots of CGI in it and make lots of bucks off of the name alone. They failed. If they succeeded, how come it's not as big as a hit as the original film was?

    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY


      Did you find it more entertaining than the original? The only 'entertaining' remake I have ever come across has to be "Dawn of the Dead". The 2004 remake is entertaining as does its job as a *stand-alone- film*, but as a *remake*, it totally misses its mark on so many levels.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well I have to disagree with your review...While many films can resemble another this movie was entertaining and done very well...I do agree that Biel did not add anything to this film and there should have been a contrasting actress...cheers

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Agree...With that this is a DUMB review.... You cannot take it seriously when you clearly do not have the capacity of watching the movie as a separate movie. Yes it was a remake from a 90's movie that any thinking movie fanatic KNOWS was a different time in moviemaking. You cannot compare a movie done in the 50's with a movie done in the 80's. They were done different for a different audience. Same thing here. This si not like the Spiderman remake.... This movie was well done. Do not cmopare it to the original and you will enjoy it. It's not perfect, but better than average. Just plain DUmb .....

    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY


      Dumber than this remake? Sorry to spoil your trip at Recall, but this remake does suck. If you can't see that, go back to watching the "Day of the Dead" remake.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Dumbest review I ever read.

    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY

      Thanks. Looking forward to reading your's.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      cool review. im still going to review it myself anyway, but good job on this nonetheless. cheers.


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