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Total Recall is total letdown

by Jonathan Crean

Director Len Wiseman’s reproduction of the classic science-fiction film Total Recall (1990) is an unmemorable rendition that fails to capture the intricate plotting and wry humour of its forerunner.

The film stars Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, an “ordinary” factory worker who inhabits a world where a cramped and gloomy “United Federation of Britain” depends on the exploitation of other territories resources.

Quaid is married to Lori who is played by Kate Beckinsale. Bored and unhappy with his repetitive lifestyle and plagued with bad dreams, Quaid opts for escapism via a mysterious company called Rekall who implant vivid “fantasy memories” in your brain.

Quaid’s choice sees him take on the life of a superspy. What ensues is a mental treasure hunt. Farrell’s character stumbles through the daunting utopia trying to piece together his artificial past and at the same time bring about the fall of the world’s fascist dictator played by Bryan Cranston.

Psychological strands of betrayal, confusion and vulnerability weave through the plot but are bludgeoned by the near constant in-your-face action scenes.

Although Farrell does pull off the “ordinary” role better than his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Schwarzenegger’s vulnerability shone through in the original film. We cared what happened to Arnie.

As for Kate Beckinsale, she turns out to be the assassin posing as Quaid’s wife. At no point though, does she strike us as callous or cunning. Instead she’s an irritation, a pestersome fly constantly bugging our hero and his completely uninteresting love interest played by Jessica Biel.

Visually, the film does its job for the most part. At times though, it just looks like a diluted Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

In short, the film is a quick-and-snappy, mindless CGI-fest, a great departure from the original film.

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