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Review: Total Recall (2012)

Posted August 5, 2012 by in Action







Musical Score

Total Score

64/ 100

What We Thought

Genre: , , ,
Actors: , , ,
Runtime: 135 Minutes
Available in 3D: No

What We Liked :

Environment inspired by Blade Runner, Subtle nods to the original

What We Disliked:

Does little to justify existence, When did Kate Beckinsale become Terminator?
Bottom Line

Every once in a while a remake comes along and really adds a lot to the original concept. Total Recall is not that movie.

by Max
Full Article

Every once in a while a remake comes along and really adds a lot to the original concept. Total Recall is not that movie. Director Lee Wiseman has done a good job coping the storyline from the original and concept from the Philip K. Dick short story, but he has left out everything that made it good. The science-fiction and action works well enough, but it can’t stand on its own.

For those unfamiliar with Total Recall, Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a typical salary man. He has a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) at home and things seem steady enough, but something is missing. This is a new company entitled Rekall that will allow a person to enjoy memories that aren’t necessarily their own. Quaid is interested in the idea of living a different life even for a little bit.

Something unexpected happens during the procedure at Rekall and Quaid finds himself in a difficult situation. Apparently he is some kind of spy who has had his mind wiped previously and Rekall has allowed him to start remembering his past. He’ll have to do so quickly since there’s a trail of synthetic soldiers trailing him at every turn, as well as, a wife that might not be what she seems.

While most of the focus of this review should be on the remake, there’s no way the original can be forgotten during this mess. The original Total Recall film had a lot substance to go with it’s style. The characters were memorable and the violence was extreme. It also helped that the puppetry in the original film was spectacularly creepy. The new film tries to bring a lot of the moments back into play by including a three breasted alien, a woman going on vacation, and even specific ways that characters died. It’s appreciated that Len Wiesman brought back some of the iconic moments, but he didn’t make any new ones.

A Philip K. Dick adaptation isn’t a new concept. His novels and short stories have been made into films for years including Blade Runner and Minority Report. Total Recall borrows a lot from those films as well. The world that Quaid inhabits is a new concept of the world of Blade Runner. The influences are numerous and for good measure Len Wiseman mixes in the magnetic cars from Minority Report. There’s very little new ideas Total Recall brings to the table.

The best way that Total Recall can be summarized is that it isn’t a disaster, but it isn’t much of anything else either. The movie moves along briskly and the action is able to entertain. There’s plenty of disappointments including that now instead of humans, Quaid is fighting endless raids of robots and the first Total Recall had an hard-R rating and this feels tame comparatively. The wife character also gets a boost of importance since Kate Beckinsale becomes like the Terminator throughout the film. Total Recall doesn’t do much to make it special and it really needed to be to justify its existence.

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.



    "Every once in a while a remake comes along and really adds a lot to the original concept. Total Recall is not that movie."

    First sentence made me go "Oh No."

    Second sentence, I think I literally went "Phew". LOL 😀

    "The best way that Total Recall can be summarized is that it isn’t a disaster, but it isn’t much of anything else either." is totally right. 64% seems about spot on if I were to grade a movie on a percentage basis, that'd be right about where I'm at with it.

    Agreed, Max!!


      I think our reviews felt the same exact way about this film. I like how much detail you went into with your review though. If people reading this haven't gotten enough of Total Recall, go ahead over to Fogs site and check out his review of the film.


    Len Wiseman should stick to making Underworld movies, by the sounds of it. I understand the commercial decision to remake a known film to "modernize" it, but it sounds like they tore the soul out of what Verhoeven achieved to make this mess…..

    I'm sticking this on the Blu-Ray bargain bin list.


      That's exactly the problem. There is no soul in this movie. It felt completely hallow. I would even hesitate to recommend this for the bargain bin. It is my worst reviewed film of the year. Does that make it the worst of the year, no. But you could probably skip it and not miss much.


    This makes me a little sad….. Great review though!


    That's disappointing. For some reason I had hoped this would be a fun film. The trailer looks great and visually it definitely packs a punch. Never mind, I'll probably check it out – better to see a film like this in the cinema than on DVD.


    I'm with you Max, I thought it was pretty boring. I literally checked my watch a few times. I feel very de ja vu-ish watching this movie.


    Great review though the movie sounds like gigantic waste of money and time.


    Damn. This is disappointing.

    Dear Hollywood, please stop trying to "update" classic films. You suck at it.

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