Total Recall Remake – a Science Fiction Geek’s Review

So I thought I’d post up my review of the Total Recall remake.  Since I’d gone to all the effort of writing it on my Facebook.

This film had a lot to live up to, with the predecessor film having starred the perennial Arnold Schwarzenegger. On its own and without referencing the original film, the movie is good. As usual in today’s Hollywood there is a lot of CGI and running from one high-powered sequence to another. The film is shot to look more like Blade Runner, with lots of rainy dark streets filled with the poor and downtrodden, than the original fluorescent film.

An impressive amount of thought went into some of the technology set-pieces developed for the film – the mag-lev cars allow an impressive twist on the traditional car chase, although ultimately they appear as impractical commuter vehicles. Similarly the Fall – a tunnel drilled through the core of the earth used to commute from one side of the planet to the other in a rather quick 17 minutes – is of interest but ignores several (many) laws of physics. As a science fiction story the film should survive the suspension of disbelief test and this film survives that test – just, if you don’t think about it much.

Similarly, it is apparent people in the future don’t bruise as easily as their modern day counterpart – although the film’s main stars (Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel and the never-say-die Kate Beckinsale as the ex-wife baddie in this story) fight and stab and kick and fall and slam into things regularly, no-one ever stops to stretch properly or put Deep Heat into those sore muscles.  As usual the bad guys go to the Bad Guy School of Marksmanship and although an incredible number of bullets are fired, the bad guys all miss spectacularly (unless you count hapless bystanders). Sometimes the bad guys are such bad shots they actually shoot through the good guys! Such skill!

Although much truer to the original Philip K Dick story than the original, plot development suffers a bit from the incessant running, fighting, dodging and weaving. Just don’t think too much about the plot, the torn tendons and broken bones, or the lack of empathy with the characters we never get to sit down and build a relationship with. And don’t think too much about the original movie with the tongue in cheek Arnie references (“Consider that a divorce!”). Overall a good film on its own that suffers through comparison (B-).