totalrecallMemories For Sale

Total Recall
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy and John Cho
Director: Len Wiseman
Scriptwriters: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback
Columbia Pictures
Rating: PG 13 for violence and themed material
Running Length: 118 minutes
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall” film of 1990 has become a cult classic. Created memories, life on Mars, good special effects for its time, and plenty of action. It was adapted from the short story by Philip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” It is now 2012 and “Total Recall” has been adapted again for a remake, this time starring Colin Farrell. I would say about 40% of the film is part of the former film, and the rest is creative as far as special effects. The story with who is remembering what can leave audiences in the dust. Sharon Stone, as Arnold’s wife is replaced by Kate Beckinsale, while the girl who helps him is now Jessica Biel.
This story begins with Doug (Farrell) as an assembly line worker in a robot factory. He is married to Lori (Kate) who also works. Doug’s best friend is Harry (Woodbine) and they frequently go drinking together. Doug has headaches and vivid dreams. What is happening? Someone’s chance remark leads him to Rekall, a place that gives you the memories you would like to have. Just before injecting Doug with the transforming liquid, a neurological exam is conducted and too late, they discover Doug already has implanted memories. At this time all Hades breaks loose as guards break down the door and start shooting. Doug springs into action as a super-human and manages to kill everyone. So much for the assembly line. From here to the end, it is one violent chase after another and the plot gets as murky as the atmosphere which resembles “Blade Runner.”  In fact, the plot is a combination of  “Empire Strikes Back,” “Minority Report,“ “Stargate-1” and “Star Trek,“ any car chase or roof top chase movie, under-the-influence-of-drugs-or-not, what woman/man to trust and someone wanting to take over the world.
The world here is interesting, in that WWIII has been fought and the world is divided into two sections (The Colony and The United Federation of Britain), each on a side of the world. Workers go from one section to another through the middle of the Earth as routinely as anyone else takes a subway. The Colony looks like Thailand/Hong Kong with perpetual rain and grimy exterior, while the sun shines elsewhere. Special effects are dazzling in depicting the transportation system through a world rather than from one planet to another.
Acting? There is really little dialogue or emoting between chase scenes and if you listen closely, you can determine why The Colony is fighting UKB for equality. Who wants rain all the time? Colin Farrell is beefed up for his role as Doug/Hauser (the former identity) and gets to show his prowess for fighting, running and endurance. So do Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel as they chase him or run away with him. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a famous line in the first “Total Recall” about getting a divorce from Sharon Stone after she tried to kill him.  See if you can find a similar line in this film.
The idea of having action take place on one world is interesting. Nothing is said about other planets or worlds here, you go into yourself to escape. Bill Nighy is part of The Colony while Bryan Cranston is the UFB. You would think that each would have an opportunity to act more than shout about memories. Makes you want to forget these scenes. For non-stop chasing, though, “Total Recall” has it and special effects place you into another time era. My favorite scene is where the stars are escaping from one elevator to another and that requires no dialogue. Of all the stars in this film, I think that Kate Beckinsale is the memorable one. She has done many action films before (the “Underworld” series) and her movements seem natural. In fact, she even starred with Bill Nighy before in “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.”
Copyright 2012 Marie Asner