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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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After twenty years, it was probably inevitable that Hollywood would remake "Total Recall." Sadly, the remake version of "Total Recall" isn't nearly as good as the original -- a giant chunk of the plot has been jettisoned (goodbye, Mars! Farewell, mutants!) and so has most of the humor and character development. Taken on its own merits, it's a decent enough sci-fi thriller, with some outstanding special effects and a solid (if underdeveloped) performance by Colin Farrell.

On impulse, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) decides to go to Rekall, a company that implants false memories for entertainment. But things instantly go very wrong -- a SWAT team bursts in and kills the Rekall employees, and on instinct Quaid kills all of them. When he runs home in a blind panic, his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) also tries to kill him, and reveals that she isn't even really his wife.

Quaid goes on the run, with only a few cryptic messages and a mysterious safe-deposit box to guide him. But as Lori and the police chase him through the Colony (Australia) and the the United Federation of Britain, he meets a woman (Jessica Biel) who knows him from the past he can't remember -- and might help him bring about a new future.

Anyone expecting a straight remake of "Total Recall" will be disappointed -- no Mars, no Bennie, no Kuato, no mysterious terraforming engines, and a good chunk of the plot twists have been removed. Oh, and no mutants... well, except for the famous three-breasted woman, whose third breast is never explained because we never see another mutant of any kind.

No, this movie is grimly determined to be dark, gritty and "realistic," depicting a future where the world has been devastated into near-unlivability, and only Australia and a portion of Europe are still semi-normal. It's an intriguing idea, and it is handled in a fairly plausible way... well, except for the giant gravity elevator zipping through the Earth's mantle. That seems far-fetched.

Len Wiseman is at his best with the action scenes -- big explosive battles involving magnetic cars, killer robots and bombs, as well as a lot of people shooting at each other. And the future societies are intriguingly-depicted -- either they're grimy, murky cyberpunk mazes (think "Blade Runner, but less pretty) or cold sterile technohaunts. In fact, the movie could really use some moments of humor or warmth, but neither ever appears.

Also... what is with the lens flare? Barely a scene goes by without a lens flare trying to blind me! Was Wiseman possessed by the spirit of JJ Abrams?

Colin Farrell gives a typically excellent performance as Doug Quaid/Carl Hauser -- he starts off as a nice ordinary guy, becomes a terrified, confused fugitive, and becomes stronger and more intense as he finds out about his past. But most of the other actors are playing roles that feel half-baked -- for instance, we don't know why Lori has such an obsessive hatred of her "husband." Beckinsale, Biel and Bryan Cranston give decent performances, but Bill Nighy is clearly just phoning it in.

"Total Recall" is a mixed bag of pluses and minuses. Those seeking explosive sci-fi action and a good Colin Farrell performance will love it, but don't expect much fidelity to the film it remakes.
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on February 23, 2013
Same tale, with a few changes. No Mars, this time...chemical warfare has tainted most of the Earth. There's only two inhabitable regions: an enlarged British republic and "The Colony" (Australia).. Most of the "have nots" live in The Colony and commute on what's basically a super-subway which goes right through the Earth's core (obviously, advanced technology but you wouldn't catch me riding in the damn thing! Colin Farrel plays Quaid this time and does a good job. He's better actor than Arnold was at the tome. Plus at 14A, it doesn't have the unneeded gratuitous violence as in Verhoeven's version. Hauser, this time, has left plenty of recorded messages for himself to help survive. Also, in this version the government's propaganda machine has Colonists, who wish equality, as terrorists.

There are occasional pokes at the original and the film is incredibly fast-paced.

PS I gave it an extra star because the science was more real. In the first version, they supposed ended up with Mars with an Earth-like atmosphere. Unless the breathing air ice was in infinite supply, the air would just bleed quickly into space. Reason: Mars isn't massive enough to hold that much atmosphere.
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First, unfortunately, a couple of technical gripes: (1) the only English soundtrack is TrueHD 5.1 which is usually decoded by our slightly aged but nonetheless excellent AV receiver as DTS. In this case we only got Dolby digital 5.1. (2)The playback of the Blu-ray theatrical version (we haven't watched the extended cut yet) freezes in two places on our LG BD660 player- resolved by rewinding & then replaying. (3) The lip-sync kept slipping - resolved four times during the film by stopping & then resuming playback. We have not encountered these problems with any other Blu-ray disks or DVD's so it can only be down to this disk. These problems significantly reduced our enjoyment of the movie so one star has been lost straight away.

Now, to the film. It is highly likely that anyone watching this is already familiar with the bare bones of the plot from the iconic Arnie version. Visually, this movie is stunning with incredible attention to detail in the soaring cityscapes, the interiors and the street shots with much of the atmosphere borrowed heavily from Bladerunner, the Matrix and even a soupcon of Firefly. The hi-tech special effects are slick and plausible and the whole environment is highly immersive but, of course, thanks to the above technical issues, the level of immersion is somewhat reduced. The story follows the original pretty closely and with frequent nods back to the `classic' version the whole experience is very satisfying but then, about twenty minutes from the end all hell breaks loose and the carefully crafted tension and narrative flow gets totally overwhelmed by lengthy set-piece action sequences.

The cast did their best but with little time devoted to character development (relying, I suppose, on prior knowledge of the Arnie version) they all came across as rather monolithic and the casting of two female leads who look almost identical was confusing to someone like me with appalling facial recognition skills. Poor old Bill Nighy didn't have any chance to bring his usual light touch to the proceeding and his bizarre Agent Smith accent was terrible.

We've now watched the Extended Cut but it isn't noticeably different apart from a few inconsequential scenes, it is only fourteen minutes longer than the theatrical version not the advertised twenty minutes and the alternative ending didn't look any different to us. Playback only froze once, however, but the sound still went out of sync.

All-in-all it was slightly disappointing; this potentially clever re-imagining of Philip K. Dick's short story just got a bit lost in itself and sort-of fizzled out. Shame.
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I kept thinking about the original film while watching this one. To put it simply: Arnold was better than Colin Farrell. Kate Beckinsale in the expanded role is better than Sharon Stone, and I really love them both. Jessica Biel is better than anyone, if you don't believe me, ask her. What I really liked about this film is the updated special effects, down to the electronic notes on the refrigerator door. I love attention to detail.

The action was fast paced. The future looks similar to "The Fifth Element" but with more computer gizmos. If you have seen the original version, then you can miss the first few minutes of this one and be able to pick it up.

For some reason they eliminated all the fun aspects of going to Mars. That is why we watched the first film. Instead we get a film where we simply root for the terrorists. The terrorists are revolting against the Chancellor who wants to replace workers with synthetics, although this theme was poorly developed.

One of the aspects of both productions that I didn't like was the initial dream sequence. Had they eliminated that from both films, then the genius of the script would have been the ambiguity of reality vs. the recall machine.

The film included 3D holograms, Star Wars stormtroopers, Bill Nighy for a brief moment, and an inadvertent mention of an old film "Hauser's Memory."

What I didn't like about this film was all the action. It didn't have drama scenes outside of the beginning. No colorful characters. No time for a Biel/ Farrell love scene. It was like watching someone play a video game. Seriously, where was the writing? The clever lines? The complex character? The relationship? Any moron can write "Bang bang, run shoot, bang, chase, shoot, bang."

Parental Guide: F-Bomb, Nudity (Kaitlyn Leeb wearing a fake chest) no sex. 3 stars is pushing it. Can't wait for the video game.
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on December 26, 2013
This pertains to the Bluray Disk as the DVD disk doesn't offer the option between Theatrical and Extended.

When you choose Play Movie, there is a blue circle beside theatrical cut, and Extended Director's cut is highlighted in blue. Since all of the other menu items on the screen are white, usually the highlighted option is a different color, so I choose to play the version that was highlighted in Blue (the extended cut). I ended up watching the theatrical cut. To watch the Extended cut highlight Theatrical cut in blue and enter, this will move the blur circle to the extended cut option.

To be sure you are watching the desired version start the movie and use the option to check the running time.

Theatrical Cut is : 1:58 long
Extended Cut is : 2:10 long

I am using a PS3.

Otherwise, it's a pretty good movie, though I prefer the Schwarzenegger version slightly.
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on March 30, 2014
It is a high quality Hollywood production. Thechnically well done, the story is interesting, altough somehow different from the original, wich is a good idea anyway. But the essence of the story is reused in this new one, with the amnesia, the false life of the hero, the communication of information in the future prepared by himself, the ultimate goal being to catch the leader of the resistance. There is also the girl who happens to know him from the past, and that will help him all the way. I liked the idea of the tunnel through the earth's center instead of transportation at the surface. The dual societies at opposite points of the world is also interesting. Very entertaining movie. I will Watch it again in the future.
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on February 22, 2014
Was very surprized, did not know what to expect, kind of remember Arnolds version, this is way better. Great special effects, if you have a good TV and sound this will really show your system off! Loved it very fast paced great graphics , better than original mega base if you have 4 subs, like I do shakes your house ,lets you jump out of your sofa, highly recommend it. And for ten bucks way better than going out to see a movie, buy it you won't be sorry, good for your collection!
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on March 22, 2015
Nice remake although I am not sure how to compare it to the old Schwarzenegger movie. For those watching this one for the first time I believe it will be an interesting story and exciting action sequences. It was fun to revisit this story from Len Wiseman's perspective.
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on February 26, 2013
This is a great sci-fi movie. The CGI is really good. Collin Farrell's acting is excellent. The only downside for me is Jessica Biel. I'm not a fan. It would have been better if Kate Beckinsale had her part instead.
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on September 14, 2013
This movie was full of action and suspense. Recommend it highly. Pretty much follows the same story line as the original with Arnie and Sharon in it.
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