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Aug 3, 2012
08:09 AMTalk about Arts
Movie Review: "Total Recall"
Pinch-hitting for Spree's usual Friday film reviewer Jared Mobarak this week is editorial intern Will Robinson-Smith. This is the Northwestern University student's second review for the site, following a look at "The Amazing Spider-man."
Typically, the title of a movie should evoke something positive for the audience, either causing them to remember an iconic scene from the film or to inspire people to want to rush out and buy a ticket. However, in this latest film from director Len Wiseman, writer of the "Underworld" saga, one can’t help but feel like they’re “totally recalling” the plots of other films.
Like the 1990 film of the same name, and based on Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," the aptly titled "Total Recall" takes place in a dystopian future where chemical warfare has left the planet virtually uninhabitable except for the safe havens known as the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony (the island formerly known as Australia). The two points of civilization are connected by a massive transport system that runs through the core of the Earth called “The Fall.” This is all set up with captions during the first few minutes of the film, so be sure to read quickly in order to not miss these key plot points.
The story focuses on Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), originally played, of course, by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's a factory worker who begins to question his existence after being plagued by a dream of being captured while on a mission of some kind. Against the advice of his friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine), Quaid decides to go to visit Rekall, a company that implants memories into the mind. But before he can get his new memories, Quaid is deemed a spy and winds up in a firefight with several federal officers.
Quaid spends the rest of the film fleeing assassination attempts while trying to figure out his true identity and his role in the struggle between the potentially corrupt UFB and the Resistance, who are branded terrorists and fight the supposed tyranny of the government. By the time the first chase scene comes up between Quaid and his “wife” Lori Quaid (Kate Beckinsale) it’s quite apparent that the film is nothing more than a clumsy, futuristic Jason Bourne movie.
Granted, the CGI in the film is fun to watch and seeing what society looks like if all of the world’s cultures were crammed into a small part of the world is interesting. Nevertheless, neither Beckinsale nor Jessica Biel, who plays love interest Melina opposite Farrell) offer much to the film and give fairly bland and forgettable performances. Farrell does a decent job, but wasn’t helped by the fact that another major plot point of the film was the disarming of a robot army before they could wreak havoc on the Colony ("I, Robot," anyone?).
It's interesting to see that Original Film produced the movie—it is anything but.
Photo by Michael Gibson; ©2011 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.