T he latest in the endless sea of pointless/frustrating remakes is ‘Total Recall;’ Director Len Wiseman’s (‘Die Hard 4, Underworld) epic dump on the Paul Verhoeven/Schwarzenegger – Phillip K. Dick inspired classic.
Why remake ‘Total Recall?’
Well we know that K.Dick’s original was loosely adapted into the 1990 film…So maybe this retread could provide a better telling of the source material? Since this new movie has even less in common with the source: “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” than Verhoeven’s; we can pretty much go with that not being the case.
I don’t know why this exists. I wish I could give you a reason. There is just nothing in the movie to go by. ‘Total Recall’ is a painful experience, especially if you love the original, or entertaining movies in general.
Everybody involved in this movie just appears embarrassed by the 1990 film. There is no humor, no outrageousness, no fun. They try to cram every second of the movie with bullshit nonsensical action and dubstep music (seriously, there is only about one minute of screen-time where the soundtrack isn’t blaring some kind of 2011-2012 club dick-head music. It’s headache inducing).
Once you pull all the flashiness away from this movie, you pretty much have no story. It’s really just people running and shooting at each other/robots until the end of the film – where we aren’t given a satisfactory resolution to any of the running plot lines. With movies that blatantly have no point ( and a point can be as simple as: be entertaining) then there is nothing. Just a black hole.
‘Total Recall’ is a black hole. There is no point to it all. As Quentin Tarantino would say “If I want nothing but computer graphics I would go stick my dick into a nintendo.” Truth in those words.
It reminds one of the Gus Van Sant ‘Psycho’ – the entire point is ‘WHY NOT?’ – and the general audience will give you the answer by simply not going. (which they did with the ‘Psycho’ remake, and which is why ‘Total Recall’ is underperforming at the box-office). The audience aren’t retarded, they can smell a bullshit, pointless cash-in.
Now the basic plot is the very same as the original film, but it has none of the depth and/or meaning…let alone the fun aspect, and…well…Schwarzenegger.
Anyway, yes Colin Farell’s Douglas does go to Rekall. Yes he wishes to be a spy. And then later a female resistance fighter comes into the story. And there is a bad guy named Cohagen…and so forth…
But there is just nothing else the movie does with the story, nothing else is going on. The Schwarzenegger film had depth and genuine science fiction ideas in it. This new movie can’t even give Colin Farell the paranoid feelings. His character just blindly stumbles around, and when he isn’t doing that he’s being chased by a Terminator/Replicant feeling villian, or he’s firing guns at Cylon/Star Wars looking robots , or he’s driving a Minority Report looking car, or he’s doing Parkour in Blade Runner looking city streets, or he’s Fifth Element/Bourne Identity/Matrix/everysciencefictionmovieevermadeadngfkjsgasrgar. You get the idea.
So much of the design of the movie is praise-worthy, it’s just that it’s all ripped off from other movies. Straight out of other movies.
The acting is woeful. None of the actors have anything to do anyway; so maybe they’re not all to blame. That, and the dialogue is groan inducing. Characters make arbitrary/stupid decisions. The technology is inconsistent from scene to scene – in one scene someone writes with a pen, the next they are using robotics in their hands to manipulate holographic’s that appear on glass.
I guess the film looks nice. The effects work is seamless really. It’s just a shame the film is so damn boring. Jessica Biel is in the movie, but makes no impact. I just remember watching all these blank-faced/dead-eyed actors half-mumble shitty dialogue in between overblown derivative/ repetitive action scenes.
It pretty much goes like this:
Six different fights over a handgun in a confined space (such as an elevator).
A car chase.
Seven different fights over a knife in a confined space (such as inside an ambulance or on a helipad).
There is a bunch of business with Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston and some plot to take over the world with robots. But there is no motivation behind anything, and as such the final 20 minutes make little sense (beyond the superficial level of ‘it’s time to take over the world Pinky’).
Sigh. I don’t know. I’d say the only enjoyable thing in the whole movie is the scene chewing performance of genius actor Bryan Cranston – if he was in the movie more than 15 minutes he may have saved the entire thing. If you’re not watching ‘Breaking Bad’ at the moment you’re missing out on the greatest television show ever!
Anyway if you’re like the audience I saw ‘Total Recall’ with, you’ll do either and/or both of the following:
1. Laugh at the shittiness.
2. Yawn and then fall asleep.
And if you’re like me, you’ll lose five years of your life when you witness the complete ripoff of the ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ Scene where Marion is locked in the plane cockpit, whilst Indy has to fist-fight a huge henchman whilst avoiding propellor blades.
But that’s ‘Total Recall’ : just when you think it couldn’t be more offensive in its blatant laziness – it goes and rips off your favorite movies.
Movies it wishes it were.
And all it had to do was wish it was the original film… at least then it would have been a bit of fun.