Sunday, August 5, 2012


Philip K Dick wrote a short story, that short story was called  We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.  A little movie came out in 1990 called "Total Recall" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It was loosely based on the short story telling the story of a man named Quaid who goes to Mars to  help the colonies take back Mars and make it a safer place to live.  That was a fun movie, it was enjoyable and a great action flick for Schwarzenegger,.  The movie even nabbed an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Jump ahead to 2012.  We now have a remake of that film but this time Mars is out of the picture and instead we have two colonies.  One The United Federation of Britain and the other just entitled, The Colony.  Earth has been almost obliterated after the battles of World War III  and these two colonies are locked in a struggle for world domination.  The way to get back and forth between the colonies is by way of a device call "The Fall".  It's like a big elevator that goes straight down through the planet and ends up on the other side.

Quaid, a mechanical worker keeps having dreams in which he is a spy of sorts trying to save this lady.  He wants a way to end the dreams and get on with his life.  Enter REKALL a place where you can have synthetic memories put into your brain, something that you would like that would make your life more exciting to you.  Quaid decides to pay REKALL a visit and get the memories of a super spy implanted.

Things go wrong and Quaid spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out if what is happening is real or just in his head as well trying to figure out who this Hauser character is and why looks just like him.

Let me start off and by saying this movie should never have been made.  It was a complete waste of time for all.  It didn't bring anything new to the table aside from the fact that Mars wasn't in it.  The same old plot points, just dressed differently but you knew the exact outcome that was going to happen long before the payoff gets there.  One thing this movie was missing was life.  It was such a boring action film.  People died, guns were fired, fights broke out, chases were had but none of it mattered, there was just no life in the scenes.  This made everything come off boring.  The theater I was in looked bored to death and no one looked like they were having any fun during the picture.

It had one of my pet peeves in action films.  Shooting guns just to shoot guns.  I thought we got away from that when the 80's came to pass but it looks like we didn't.  If someone was on the screen with a gun they were shooting, not even aiming, just holding down the trigger and pumping rounds into anything.  That for 2 hours does not make a fun movie.

Another thing that really hurt the movie were the characters.  You don't feel for them and I think that may be because we already know who was going to live and who was going to die.  There wasn't a connection with them either so it was hard to care for the characters which made it hard for the audience to become invested in the movie and in the lives of these people.

Directed by Len Wiseman, director of the Underworld Series, tried to bring us a fresh take on the short story but unfortunately it was a complete failure.  I normally like Wiseman but I felt there wasn't any passion behind the camera and that translated onto the screen.  The movie felt like a bunch of strung together action sequences that you knew the outcome.  It's like recording a sporting event to watch later and before watching it already knowing the end score.  This makes for a very dull experience.  I think Len should have done a closer representation of the short story and not try to make it a note for note remake of the 1990 film.  I wish Len gave us something new and not just put the old through the washer and try to pass it off as new.

Colin Farrell plays Doug Quaid in this version.  I loved Schwarzenegger's Quaid, there was so much life and character to him, but this time around we get a dull lifeless man who just wants to be happy.  No fault on Colin on the bad portrayal of Quaid, I blame that on the writers.  This version of Quaid you just really don't care what happens to him and when that feeling comes around for the main character, it brings down everything else.  Farrell did a good job in the fight scenes but there wasn't enough there to bring out a good performance, which is too bad, I'm a big fan of Farrell and he usually does good work.

Len Wiseman's wife Kate Beckinsale plays Doug's wife Lori.  Now I don't know why she just couldn't have kept her British accent, I mean they live in Britain and that's where her character is from and where Doug met her. She talks in an American accent until the gig is up and it turns out she is actually working for the Cohaagen, then she goes back to her British accent.  I usually love Beckinsale but again just a bored shell of a character that you can't be bothered to invest time in.  The sad thing is about that is we have two leads that we could care less about.  How can one care about a movie if they don't care about the characters.

Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad plays Cohaagen.  This man is in everything these days.  You want to know one reason I'm giving a half star, it is because of this man.  His character had some life into him and was actually entertaining to watch when he was on screen.  One of the only good things about the movie.  He did a great job portraying Cohaagen and deserves a pat on the back for getting through the movie.

Bill Nighy.  I adore this guy, but I have to say he was under used in this picture and unfortunately has one of the worst death scenes I have seen since "The Dark Knight Rises".  Nighy plays Matthias, leader of the resistance.  He is the Kuato style character from the 1990 version.  Now he doesn't have a Garbage Pail Kid coming out of him, he's just a guy, but he is the one Quaid needs to see to get things moving against Cohaagen.  He has a few quick scenes but does a decent job with what he has to work with.

Jessica Biel from Blade Trinity shows up as the lady from Quaid's dreams.  She is the person that Quaid is actually married to and the one that needs to get Quaid to Matthais.  Again there is no life in this character, nothing for us to root for or get involved with.  Just another character on the screen going the through the motions to get to the end of the story.  Another good talent that is just wasted.

The effects were decent through out the movie though in the big car chase scene some of those effects were poorly put together.  When everything looks CG and looks totally out of place, it shouldn't be used as a final effects shot, it needs to be re-designed to mold into the world better.   The world kind of reminded be a bit of "Blade Runner", "Fifth Element", "A.I." and "I-Robot" all meshed together and overall the look was good.  It won't win any Visual Effects awards but the effects serve their purpose.

There is one character that shouldn't have even been there.  It was the three breasted lady.  She was a character from the original 1990 version, but there was one difference, she was from Mars and was one of the mutants.  We are not on Mars in this version and there were no mutants.  One thing I hate is fan service where it doesn't belong and that's what this was.  The character doesn't make this a better movie and I think this movie could have been made with that character on the cutting room floor, the character just didn't belong in this telling of the story.

I think this is a very poorly made movie, with little or no redeeming value.  The story should have been a refresh re-telling of the source material and not try to hit the notes of the original film.  Give us something we haven't seen before with this, make us want to go back and see it again.  This is supposed to be a summer blockbuster and in reality it's just trash.  The directing has no passion, the editing has no rhythm, the score sounded like a re-vamped Dark Knight score, the acting, sub-par.  The only things I thought this movie has going for it is Bryan Cranston and the robot cops, they looked cool.  On the way home I thought those things would have made awesome robot droids for the armies in the "Star Wars" prequels.

I give this move half a star out of 5.  Don't even bother wasting money to see this, it's not even good enough to go to on a matinee.  If you want to see "Total Recall" stick with the 1990 version it's a lot more fun.  Now I am getting read to make my trip to REKALL to have this movie going experience expunged from my brain.  Till next time.

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