Review: Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall is a remake of the 1990 movie of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 2012 version Colin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid/Hauser and Jessica Biel is Melina.

I think it’s hard writing a review when it comes to a remake without mentioning the original piece and/or comparing the two, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do myself. But first let’s start with the things I enjoyed about this one.

The sets are impressive, the whole world building is impressive to be exact, which makes sense: cinema has evolved since 1990 and so have special effects. Speaking of, this movie has plenty of those. A lot of fight scenes – nicely done, a lot of CGI.

That’s about the only thing this movie has going for it, the visuals. Other than that it’s a bitter disappointment and pales in comparison to the original.

Not to say that Schwarzenegger is an Oscar worthy actor – because he’s not! – but the acting in this remake was mediocre at best. Farrell does well in the action scenes and a couple of shirtless ones, but that’s about it. He gives us a confused performance for the better part of the film, rather than the image of a supposedly great and skilled spy.

Kate Beckinsale plays his fake wife, Lori Quaid, and made me believe the only reason she got cast in this movie is because her husband, Les Wiseman, is also the director. Her performance as a secret agent/badass is completely unbelievable and even comical at times: this is a woman who gets her ass kicked in almost every scene, yet she keeps coming back without a scratch on her, every single time. She’s like the Bionic Woman.

I actually liked Biel’s acting, but maybe that’s because she didn’t have a whole lot of lines, mostly action scenes.

There was no actual story or character building, so I didn’t care too much about what would happen to the good guys. Also, compared to the original TR, this movie is much less ambiguous when it comes to Hauser’s loyalties and whether everything is really happening or it’s just a Rekall memory. Basically, they dumbed it down.

Leaving aside all the eye catchy special effects, this movie was down right boring. I couldn’t finish it in one viewing.

I think the only good thing about it was the presence of Bill Nighy in the cast, of whom I am a huge fan.

From a compare and contrast POV, the original Total Recall was so much better – it got nominated for 2 Oscars, as further proof of what I’m saying.

There are a couple of obvious differences between the two. The original is set on Earth and Mars, with most of the action taking place on Mars, while the remake is set only on Earth. The latter doesn’t have any mutants, apart from the iconic woman with the three breasts.

On the other hand, there are scenes that are pretty much exactly the same; like the scene at the beginning of the movie, his dream and the waking up part.

If you plan on watching Total Recall, I highly recommend you watch the 1990 one. It’s got better acting – I never thought I was going to say this about a Schwarzenegger movie, an actual plot that’s explained and pursued up until the end, character development and while it may not be as showy from an FX standpoint, the mutants and costumes are better if you ask me.

I want my 118 minutes back! I could have spent them watching snails mate and it would have made for better entertaining. Yeah, there’s a visual for you! You’re welcome.



2 thoughts on “Review: Total Recall (2012)

  1. I haven’t even seen this film and I know it would be awful! It’s the same with almost every remake. Even so, I’m still amazed that the original film is based on a short story which is less than 100 pages long but goes on for ages. The original film is good but is nothing like the story it’s mean to based on lol.

    • I haven’t read the story yet, maybe I’ll give it a try if you say it’s such a short and quick read.
      It was an awful movie, from start to finish. And you’re right, very few remakes are ever as good or better than the originals.


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