Futuristic Movie Month: "Total Recall" Review

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A remake of the 1990 sci-fi action film of the same name, starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel & Ethan Hawke. Like the original, this reboot is inspired by the famous short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick. For factory worker Douglas Quaid (Farrell), the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police.
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Rating: PG-13
Length: 118 minutes
Release Date: August 03, 2012
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-fi

An exciting remake of the popular 1990 sci-fi film of the same name, "Total Recall" is one movie that action fans don't want to miss. The story follows Douglas Quaid as he visits a memory-implanting company to experience the life he never had, but he begins to question whether his life as a spy is real or imagined. Although Arnold Schwarzenegger can never be replaced, the 2012 version of the film pumps up the action and is perfectly fitting for modern times.

In the not-so-distant future, a world scarred by chemical warfare is divided into two habitable territories: the mega-city of London, England, and the Colony on the continent of Australia. Every day, a factory worker named Douglas Quaid travels to the new London via an elevator that travels through the Earth. Desiring an escape from his gloomy, mundane life, Quaid visits a company known as Rekall that implants into clients' minds artificial memories of vacations and interesting lives they have never experienced. An employee suggests that Quaid have memories of being a spy implanted, but he realizes that he has made a big mistake when he discovers that Quaid has genuine memories of a similar nature hidden in his mind.

Quaid's life begins to turn upside down when he is nearly captured by a SWAT team in the Rekall facility, and someone close to him reveals herself to be a secret agent tasked with monitoring him. Quaid manages to escape the agent, and he then receives a mysterious phone call from someone claiming to be an ally. The man gives Quaid clues that lead him to a recorded message from none other than his former self, who sends him to an apartment. Not knowing what else to do, Quaid sets off to find the place that might hold the secrets to his past. On the way, however, he meets Melina, a woman who seems strangely familiar despite the fact that they have never met.

When they reach the apartment, Quaid triggers another message revealing his hidden past as an important agent who was implanted with false memories after being captured. Melina then reveals herself to be on Quaid's side, but they are put in danger once again when they are surrounded by the police. They are then approached by Harry, a friend of Quaid's who tries to convince him that he is still sleeping at Rekall and that he must kill Melina in order to return to the real world.

The 2012 version of "Total Recall" is visually stunning, immersing audiences into a post-apocalyptic future that is both believable and mesmerizing. The CG effects are well-placed, and the story rarely loses pace. That being said, the film is not as suspenseful as viewers expect, and some of the plot twists are too clearly explained to leave any room for speculation and imagination.

Although it is considered a remake, this film steers away from the original in a number of ways. First, the plot has been modified so that most of the action takes place on Earth instead of Mars, and Lori's role in chasing Quaid is toned down. Due to the change in setting, the entire plot element of saving the atmosphere of Mars is missing. Despite these changes, "Total Recall" shares some of the most important plot points with the original, including the betrayal of Lori, the revealing of the girl from Quaid's dreams and Quaid's role in the Resistance. The overall tone of the film is purposefully very different from the 1990 version, and it is much more straightforward about what is meant to be real. Additionally, this film is much more serious, while the original includes many bizarre and comedic elements.

The acting can easily be considered a step up from the original, with some of Hollywood's most talented actors filling the lead roles. Colin Farrell may not be Schwarzenegger, but his work in numerous action films has prepared him well for this iconic role. Kate Beckinsale is stunning as the agent Lori, completely owning this uncharacteristically villainous role. Jessica Biel may not get as much screen time as Beckinsale, but her performance is spot-on as always. Even renowned actor Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame makes an appearance in this film.

This remake may not be a competitor for the original "Total Recall," but it is still an entertaining film in itself. Dedicated Recall fans may cringe at the changes this movie has made to the script. However, those not eager to compare it with the original are sure to have a great time watching this decent action film.