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    August 3, 2012

    MOVIE REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL

    TOTAL RECALL (18)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy
    Release Date: 02 August 2012
    Running Time: 121 minutes
    Distributor: Sony Pictures
    Director: Len Wiseman
    Screenplay: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback; based on "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick
    Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy

    Plot:  Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police - controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world - Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: The world we know today will changes in the future. By that time there will be only two nations remaining following wars and uncontrolled industrialization. In Europe, a totalitarian nation known as the United Britain Federation (UBF) rules with opulence and comfort but the whole economy is generated thanks to the workers from the colony state - geographically located in Australia but physically looks like China. Each day, the workers from the colony travelled to the other side with a 17 minutes ride through the core of the earth.


    In Total Recall, we have a factory worker who lives a normal life, married with a seemingly perfect wife but he keeps on having the same nightmare each night. But this is the world Douglas (Collin Farrell) is living in and soon, he starts questioning about the daily routine he is having. Now doubts filling all over his head. One day he decides to go for a fiction fantasy at the Rekall but all hell breaks loose after that. Apparently, there is a secret he never knew he has. Now been a pursued target himself, it is time for him to search for the truth.

    That is the basic stuff about Total Recall and it is worthy to point out that this is a remake from the 1990 Total Recall which had Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in it. This one is roughly the same by having same concepts and same thematic feature about global apocalyptic future. Apart of having different casting to play in this version, the two is relatively still different because they put technology into different uses and there is no Mars to set for on this one. Does Len Wiseman gave a great version of his own or falls crumbled while carrying its own burdens?

    The answer is both the former and the latter. Understandably, Total Recall comes weakest in the story department. The writer duo team comprising of Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, provides the movie with storytelling that is mediocre at best and over-written. It is also easy to spot problems with occasionally, plot-holes emerging here and there to suspend the belief. It is also evident that the pace is pretty uneven too. The opening act takes the story up decently by placing characters and their purposes into place to set the motion on. The middle stint is copped with expositions of its complex materials but the final act is a little letdown because the story tends to get messy. That final scene feels unnecessary though!


    Perhaps, the biggest sin committed is by putting too little emotion that touches or clicks with the audience. It makes the story lacks of soul, and it becomes apparent from Farrell’s character as Doug who seems only to sweep along with the story rather than emotionally involved. Then and again, the original 1990 version is still a dazzling movie to watch that beholds cult status over the years. For this updated version, Len Wiseman loosely remakes this with more sleek and earthbound concept. There is a thing about what remake supposed to be but he chooses to keep things closer and safer than it should have ventured out.

    If the plot is dumb-down by some mediocre efforts, the actions are not. Several actions and set pieces are loud, fast-paced, gorgeously made and heavily-packed. These are further enhanced by limitless inventive using the environment of the setting pretty well. For example, the car chase and rooftop chase under the rain are shot to get the audience gripping and constantly at the edge of the seat. Of course, these go by borrowing a lot of elements from Minority Report and Blade Runner, respectively. With ambitiously crafted with heavy lens-flared and incredibly neo-noir envisioned, the production designs by Patrick Tatopolous are simply breathtaking. I think Wiseman handles these key points very well nevertheless.


    Colin Farrell acts commendably as he dons Arnie’s shoe this time, propelling much more energy and dimensions but (as mentioned already that his character) is merely drifted rather than emotionally involved. Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale give some hot and silky appearances but for those who are looking forward for their cat-fight will be left disappointed. Other supporting castings are given too less screen time that it feels more like a cameo – particularly Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy who appear only for moments, deliver some lines and then vaished.

    In the end, Total Recall is an energetic, loud, spirited and fast-paced action noir but it also takes thing a little less adventurous, burdened with plot-holes and lack of souls. The exact though I have when I watched Michael Bay's The Island in 2005.



    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 13.1/20.0

    "Total Recall" opens in cinemas nationwide in 2D and 35 mm versions beginning August 2nd.
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