Total Recall • director Len Wiseman
Growing up with the Arnold original I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mr. Wiseman’s remake. However, the cast and promotional campaign was strong enough that I knew I needed to check it out.
While this version of Total Recall follows the same basic principal of the original, there is no Mars - which alters the plot line in a huge manner and allows it to be a movie on its own. The rest of the basic concept stands Douglas Quaid is bored laborer with a beautiful wife doesn’t feel fulfilled and he decides to go to the somewhat shady Rekall, a business that implants vivid, life-like memories into your brain so you get the experience of a lifetime without the expense, stress or any of the downsides. Quaid opts for the spy experience, and things go awry just as he’s hooked into the rekall machine and the technician realizes something - Quaid has already been implanted with something from rekall. Quaid’s life quickly goes down the rabbit hole as he is pursued by a police force going all out to take him in and he discovers something he has no memory of - until a few weeks earlier he was a spy. His wife, his home, his life are all a lie.
The hands down best part of this film is Colin Farrell. As Douglas Quaid he blends together the elements of the everyman with just enough lethality that everything could be true. Mr. Farrell is a natural for action and plays the character in a way that no one could ever compare his Douglas Quaid to Arnold’s.
I did really enjoy this film for what it was, a fun, hyper, adrenalized, science-fiction action film. However, this is the first film in a long time that I’ve watched thinking that they sacrificed character development for action set-pieces. One could argue that this could be said about many action films, but this felt like it - character was never fully developed, but it felt like it was at one point, on the page or on the cutting room floor, and instead more chase sequences were added. These characters could have been deeper, and it felt like they almost were.