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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
I have yet to see the original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger all the way though. As such, I did not have any nostalgia going into this remake starring Colin Farrell. I also do not rage against the concept of remakes, but that is another post. I sat down to watch without any preformed opinion or expectations, and was able to judge the film on its own merits.
Total Recall is just “okay.” It is not bad. Honestly, I found it to be a solid action movie. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld; Live Free or Die Hard) knows what he is doing when crafting action sequences. They are exciting, inventive, and pull the viewer in.
Helping this tremendously was the production design. I really dug the look of the film and that fictional world. It reminded me a lot of the worlds in Blade Runner and Minority Report (two movies also loosely based on stories by Philip K Dick like Total Recall). Others have made this comparison and criticized the film for it. I think the exact opposite. I like the idea of films based on Dick’s work have a similar production design. I liken it how authors use the same writing style between stories.
All that said, the film, it is completely forgettable. There is nothing in here that really stands out from a hundred other action films. Though the action was good, the movie did not have a scene or moment that had me as a viewer go “Wow, that was cool!”. I guess what I am saying is that Total Recall is a bit vanilla.
When I watched the movie, I could not help but feel that the film was holding back on what they could and/or wanted to do. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that it was a remake, and the filmmakers could not go certain places without becoming overly derivative of the earlier version. This is a shame, because I really feel that Wiseman could have had something here, but external circumstances outside of anyone’s control forced him to scale back.
That’s Total Recall. It is not “bad”, but not “good”. It is easily digestible, and then you will move on to the next thing largely forgetting what you saw in the process. That said, I am glad I saw it (and that I contributed to its box office twice due to a theater power outage the first time I went to see it). If you wanted to see this movie, I would wait until the DVD. Although, since the film was a failure in theaters, chances are (in most markets) you have to wait until the DVD.