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Movie Review: Total Recall

August 18, 2012


Colin Farrell as "Douglas Quaid" in a still from the film Total Recall. - File Photo/Movie Still

Memory wiped? An artificial agenda? A super secret-Agent? That’s got to be the future.

If you’re a betting person then count on this: the future is going to be pretty paranoid, and totalitarian. I mean, almost all big-budget futuristic science fiction films know this for sure, so its time us normal people accepted the facts. The future is going to happen, and we will have cell-phones surgically embedded in our hands (I hope the line rent is cheap, though).

In the bleak, over-crowded version of the future shown in the remake of Total Recall – society is split-into two zones (obviously, there was a chemical war once). There is one of modest riches; the half-grungy beneficiary to Britain that is reminiscent of Minority Report. The other, connected through Earth’s core and a one-fall elevator, called - um, The Fall - is the Colony; a sopping reminder of Blade Runner. This proclivity for movie referencing is central to Recall. It is after all, adapted from Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (ergo the dystopia).

Like Schwarzenegger, Farrell has a stunner for wife. She is played by Kate Beckinsale, who is married to Len Weisman - the film’s director. Beckinsale plays a one-and-a-half dimensional character who shuttles through her police day-shift enforcing rogue outfits run by the miserably wasted Bill Nighy. Sporting non-tearing body-suits and killer body-blows, she must have a thing for working class guys.

Farrell’s character, who goes by the name Douglas Quaid, works at an assembly plant, and wakes up with recurring nightmares. He is baffled by the woman in his dreams (played by Jessica Biel and also clad in body-hugging clothes). A little later, we learn that she’s a resistance member, and a once severed romantic-connection, who helps him scamper from the government when he unlocks part of his self-locked memories.

Jessica Biel seen on screen with Farrell in a scene from Total Recall. - Movie Still

Weisman’s take – written for full-commercial glorification by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback –is a bad action film, period. With flickering, illogically and unattractively placed lens-flares, and numb storytelling skills, Recall is his successive stint to what Live Free Die Hard: A blistering barrage that owes its foundation to the “idea” of what action movies should be. Well, at least we know now what they shouldn’t be. Fun, intelligent and original are slashed words in Recall’s makers’ dictionaries.

Amping up on what would be semi cyberpunk requires a certain level of creativity. Not explosions, jumps and fast hand-to-hand, man-to-woman knock out matches - Beckinsale by the way, packs a mean wallop and Farrell too, has the moves - and a wasted personal charisma. I hope his paycheck was worth his all-too-visible sweat.

Though the film has some nudity but it is rated PG-13. Total Recall comes out this Eid.