Total Recall (review)

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

Total Recall yellow light Colin Farrell

I’m “biast” (pro): the original is a guilty pleasure; love Colin Farrell

I’m “biast” (con): director Len Wiseman is a hack

I have read the source material (and I am indifferent about it)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)


So we’re meant to believe that this Total Recall is not, in fact, a remake of the goofy kickass 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name but, in fact, a ground-up reimagining from the same Philip K. Dick short story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” that inspired that other film. Even though in all its major plot points — spoiler: droplets of nervous sweat! — this film is all but identical, even about stuff that does not appear in any shape or form, cannot even be inferred, from the story. (Spoiler: Bryan Cranston is the new Ronny Cox!) This is an “Original Film” production. *snort* Whatev. *snort* In actual fact, this is director Len Underworld Wiseman’s least hacktackular movie yet, which isn’t to say that it’s quality entertainment, but it is some solid B-grade processed-cheese-product movie junk food. It might have been more fun if, when regular schmoe Doug Quaid goes to memory-implantation brain-surgey theme park Rekall and says, “I’d like to go to Mars” — spoiler: no one goes to Mars! — there was room for Colin Farrell to be as funny as we know he can be (see: Seven Psychopaths). A cracking other option for Farrell, however, is what he gets to do here: play, in essence, dual roles, as both gentle sweetie Doug and badass secret agent Carl Hauser, his real identity that has been subsumed by implanted memories for nefarious and ridiculous science-fictional reasons. This future world of global eco disaster combined with resource-heavy tech on a planetary-engineering scale, which seems unlikely to be feasible when the human population has crashed so dramatically, and the scheme Quaid/Hauser finds himself in the middle of is emblematic of one of the worst crimes an SF story can commit: all the really interesting ideas happened before the slice of story time we see before us, or will come after. That’s frustrating, but also accidentally intriguing, too. Anyway, it’s a fantastic canvas for Farrell to show off how much fun a supremely talented actor can have playing the same guy in two wildly different ways.

share and enjoy
             
If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
If you haven’t commented here before, your first comment will be held for MaryAnn’s approval. This is an anti-spam, anti-troll, anti-abuse measure. If your comment is not spam, trollish, or abusive, it will be approved, and all your future comments will post immediately. (Further comments may still be deleted if spammy, trollish, or abusive, and continued such behavior will get your account deleted and banned.)
subscribe
notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
view all comments