Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Total Recall’ Review: Colin Farrell Succeeds, Overall Film Unmemorable

Director Len Wiseman’s “Total Recall” reboot is stylish, sexy and has some of the most fun action sequences in film this year. The cast of gorgeous actors are fantastic, especially Kate Beckinsale who should win an award for most bad-ass female of the year. As much as Colin Farrell succeeded in carrying the film, Beckinsale had the most amazing on-screen presence. Her character is intriguing, smart and kept me on the edge of my seat.

While the action scenes are incredible, they also fault Wiseman’s film, giving it too much punch and not enough heart. A little more character backstory and a few more scenes that center around the plot would have made “Recall” a lot more memorable.

At the end of the 21st century, most of Earth has been wiped clean from chemical warfare and only two nations remain: The United Federation of Britain and The Colony (Australia). Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is a factory worker that lives in the UFB and by a way of commuting through the center of the Earth, works in The Colony. Doug is married to Lori (Wiseman’s spouse, Beckinsale) and the two live in the slums of what’s considered the “Chinatown” of the UFB.

Since Doug is having trouble sleeping, his buddy at work recommends “Rekall,” a shady place that implants memories into people. On one especially sleepless night, Doug goes to “Rekall” and when the memory transfer goes wrong, Doug’s true identity is revealed and the life he has always known is completely false. All of a sudden he’s being chased by an army of “synthetics” and his own “wife,” who works for Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston).

With the help of the mysterious girl from his dreams, Melina (Jessica Biel), Doug escapes and tries to learn more of his true identity, as Hauser, a kick-ass special agent.

There is definitely a fine balance of both the male and female leads in the film. Farrell held his own and so did Beckinsale. The original film was strongly led by Schwarzenegger, but in this reboot, Wiseman gives us an even balance, showcasing the two stars. However, Biel was so underplayed in this movie! She was great in the scenes with Farrell, but we needed more flashback scenes that showcased their relationship so we understood why she wanted to save him and why he never gave up on her. Yes, they are both extremely good looking people, and that is a motivator in itself, but I would have loved to see how their relationship began.

Farrell is a good action actor and his Irish good-looks don’t hurt him either. I just wish the script held up to the futuristic visuals and intense action scenes. We needed more plot and backstory on these characters.

For those who haven’t seen the original “Total Recall,” you’ll think this reboot reminiscent of the “Bourne” trilogy, a little “Minority Report” and a touch of “Inception.” You might also love the fresh sci-fi take of the city and the sweet cars they use to get around. But if you haven’t seen the original, my suggestion would be to watch Arnold’s version before you see this one.

“Total Recall” may feel like an unnecessary reboot, but at least we have strong performances from both Farrell and Beckinsale that make the film enjoyable to watch.

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