Total Recall (2012) starring Colin Farell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and of course Canadian born Kaitlyn Leeb who plays the three-breasted girl, was a good remake as far as remakes go. I went into it with low expectations. The original film from 1990 is a classic (some people may disagree). The way I define a classic is through imitation. I’ve seen three-breasted girl jokes in other movies, Southpark once had a parody of the guy with his twin in his belly, and more than once someone around me has made the weird “two weeks” voice the red-head-yellow-slicker-lady repeated before her head split apart and became a bomb. I’ve also heard people repeat “you’re in a Johnny Cab” in their best robot voice. Maybe it isn’t Citizen Cane but it’s at least The Toxic Avengers or Evil Dead 2.
The movie opens like it’s 90’s predecessor in a dream segment. Only no mars in this reboot, just dreams of a secret double life. Farell plays generic worker Douglas Quaid living in the slums with his hot paramedic wife played by Beckinsale. He dreams of a better live full of adventure, because looking like every woman’s dream guy and married to every guy’s dream girl and living in a flat that appears to be roomier than your average 1,400 sq ft home isn’t enough for him. If you’ve seen the original then you can guess where it goes from here. Rekall.
Rekall is a place you can go to have artificial memories uploaded into your mind. Tired of living a drab life, for a few dollars they’ll plant a vacation in your mind that you never went on. Always wanted to have a taudry affair but don’t want to burn in hell for sinning, Rekall’s got the answer. Quaid checks in to find some escape from his mundane existence. First they do a memory scan to insure there are no conflicting memories that could cause a malfunction. Because if you’re a spy already and having fake spy memories implanted, everyone knows that fries your brain. They flip the switch and, OOPS, he may or may not have been a spy already.
From this point on we’re not sure if he’s already dreaming his adventure or if it’s all real. Things kick off and squads of police and robots are after him. He runs home only to find out his wife has maybe been a double agent this whole time. He hasn’t been married for 7 years, but living the mind wiped life of a guy named Hauser.
It didn’t have some of the fun elements that were really kind of silly but what made the original film so good. Like When Arnold’s face almost exploded on mars as seen to the right here. Or the “Two Weeks” lady. It did make a fun play on those nostalgic scenes, teasing a similar lady going through a check point. She says she’ll be staying there “two weeks” like in the original film but her head doesn’t ripple open to reveal the Govenator. There’s no Mars at all, but Quaid does mention to his friend that he wouldn’t mind going to Mars.
Quaid/Hauser runs a pretty decent adventure for the remainder of the film that is almost as complex as a John Grisham novel. He has to investigate his own memories and track down clues from a life he’s not even sure if he lived. All the while dodging bullets and kung fu fighting his wife around every corner. Jessica Biel’s character aids him along the way as his love interest from his old life and possibly his new-new life as well. It is kind of complicated, but good. I didn’t expect to like it and it pleasantly surprised me. The action was top notch, the story was well crafted and I didn’t catch any loose ends or too far to be believed moments. Of course it was over the top, it’s a science fiction movie. I don’t think it’s going to go down in history as the next Blade Runner, but it was worth seeing and honestly it wasn’t too far off that mark. 4.5 stars out of 5.
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