Thursday, December 20, 2012

Total Recall (2012)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Total Recall (2012) – 4 out of 5

Get your ass to Mars! Or, in this case, get your ass to stay on Earth.

And get your ass some lens flare.

I did mention lens flare in the last picture, right?
Remakes are a difficult thing—but not a new thing in the world of cinema, Mr. I Think I Know Movies Because I Bought an American Film Institute Book Barista at Starbucks. The hard part about remakes is that if you make if TOO MUCH like the original, people bitch about the lack of creativity but if you make it TOO DIFFERENT, then that same barista complains that it’s nothing like the original. Whenever I see a movie is being remade, I may complain for a moment that it was made (and that depends on whether or not it’s a remake of a film I enjoy) but there’s always one constant: I love movies and remake or not, I will watch it and give it a chance. Hell, there are a lot of examples of remakes I enjoy more than the original (for example, I liked the Marky Mark version of The Italian Job more than the Michael Caine version) and there are tons of movies we love and call original that are actually remakes and that barista is too stuck up his own ass to realize it—I really hate that barista. I asked for sweetener in my venti shaken green tea lemonade, asshole!

Fuck...did J.J. Abrams direct this movie?

If you’ve never seen the original 1990 Paul Verhoeven directed and Arnold Schwarzenegger original, I suggest you check it out because it’s a classic. People (including myself) love it for several reasons: Mainly a woman with three breasts and Kuato.
And this also happens.

I also really enjoy Arnold’s insane, play-by-play commentary he delivers on the DVD. Seriously, check it out.

Because of the love of three boobs on a woman, it wasn’t any surprised that baristas all over the country and failed film students everywhere cried foul when the remake came out and, predictably, they yelled that Hollywood has run out of ideas. That idea is silly because they never actually had any ideas to begin with when you realize that the film that is herald as the greatest movie ever made (Citizen Kane) isn’t that original to begin with. It’s just a fictionalized telling of William Randolph Hearst’s life—and not to mention it contains a gigantic plothole that everyone seems to forget. Who exactly heard Kane say “rosebud”?

And don't worry, the three boobs return.  Pictured here artfully covered by lens flare...
J.J. Abrams just passed out from looking at this picture and furiously masturbating to the image
for 2 weeks straight.

After watching the trailer, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of a remake of Total Recall but I wasn’t hitting Snub Barista level of hate on the movie. Instead, I told myself I would rent it because it looks like it could be somewhat entertaining. When it started, it seemed like it could have been good and had potential but, instead, it ended up falling flat. Not because of it being a remake but for any other reason that could hurt a film: An over-reliance on special effects rather than a coherent story, a lack of a decent antagonist…and a couple minor complaints that ended up being a source of humor for me during my viewing experience.

"Wheeeee--Iamincredibledanger but WHEEEE!"

Gone are the days of Mars taking a mark in the spotlight because the remake of Total Recall keeps its boots on the ground—a ground called Earth. The world is a wasteland and the United Kingdom has become King Shit around the place and built a massive elevator that goes through the center of the planet to their colony on Australia. You would think that holding a population of animals where even the cutest of them is poisonous or deadly could stop the approaching armies of tea and crumpets but this is a work of fiction. Colin Ferrell plays Douglas Quaid, a humble assembly worker at the synthetic law enforcement factory (he builds robot cops) who wants to take a vacation (did I mention is wife is played by Kate Beckinsale? Yes, he wants to take a vacation AWAY from that ass…so, Quaid is clearly insane). A coworker recommends Rekall, a place that implants phony memories so you THINK you went on an amazing vacation where you had mind-blowing sex with your wife Kate Beckinsale rather than actually just have sick sex with Kate Beckinsale. 

"And this'll give me a bigger penis, doc?"

I wish the disembodied head of Bryan Cranston was always
smiling behind me.
The metaphoric shit hits the fan when Quaid discovers that he’s not who he thinks he is and is actually super-spy Carl Hauser…and then he learns the horrible truth: He’s not actually married to the hot piece of ass Lori (Kate Beckinsale) but rather she is an undercover agent sent by the diabolical Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) to watch over him in case his memories of his previous life comes flooding back. On the run from some incredibly inept robot cops and the woman he thought was his wife, he teams with someone who knows about who he was; Melina (Jessica Biel) and travels with her to learn the truth and help out the liberation movement thought to be evil terrorists by the leaders on high led by Matthias (Bill Nighy). Soon, Quaid/Hauser learns that Cohaagen has something terrible planned up his sleeve and finding out what is real and what is implanted is harder than a guy who DOESN’T look like Colin Farrell getting into Kate Beckinsale’s pants.

Wait...a gun will get you into her pants?!?

One of the best parts about the original is the fact it has a girl with three boobs in it…the next best part is the inclusion of Kuato, the absorbed fetus-mutant monster…BUT if I were to include a third great part, it would be the ambiguity of the film. Verhoeven did a tremendous job of allowing the audience to decide if Quaid/Hauser’s adventure was real or something created in his head. I’m in the camp that it was all in his head and Quaid received a lobotomy because he didn’t heed the warnings of the dangers he was diving into but that’s me. Director Len Wiseman wasn’t able to capture the same ambiguous spirit. Sure, he offers a similar dire warning about what’s going to happen if Quaid doesn’t get out of his head and the last minutes if vaguely like the original and a “nod and wink” is given to the audience if the events really took place but the overall feel of the film felt like Wiseman was saying, “Yes, this all happened,” rather than Verhoeven’s, “Maybe it happened.”

Colin's Serious Face.

Secondly, the film lacked a true villain that would move both the story forward and properly motivate Quaid to figure out what the hell is going on and possibly get back into bed with Beckinsale. Sure, Bryan Cranston’s character of Cohaagen has a really devious and shitty plan to kill a lot of people but Cranston’s presence in the film is limited (which itself is a crime because he’s such a good actor) but he does act the living shit out of those scenes—which only compounds the crime because you feel robbed by his lack of presence.

Colin's Concerned Face.

The film also gives you villains in the form of the synthetic robot cops and Kate Beckinsale as Lori (the original Lori; Sharon Stone, was killed early in the original but not in this one). The problem arrives that neither appears to be much of a threat. Beckinsale is a shitty actress who only gets roles because she’s hot as sin but she’s not convincing as a threat (even if the fight scenes look good) when she’s spending her entire time doing her best Sam Worthington impression. And then you have the synthetic cops…how can you offer up a badass thing like robot cops and make them laughably inept? Or how can you make them so easily destroyable? Sneeze hard enough and these robot cops shatter or even stumble and fire upon their own forces.

I coughed while watching the movie and somehow destroyed one of these pieces of shit.

Thanks to meth, Cranston is bigger than this big special
effects blockbuster.
Finally, the film’s biggest (and near fatal) flaw was the cast. I already mentioned Bryan Cranston and the injustice of having him in the film for about 10 minutes but it was clear this movie was more worried about appearance than substance. Overall, the movie was all about special effects (and they come off looking jaw-droppingly awesome) but they forgot to fill in the rest with some hearty story elements and the same is seen with the cast. Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale are brought into the film because both of them get their roles because they’re hot as living fuck but neither can act to save their lives (save the angry comments about Beckinsale in Underworld, you saw that movie for the leather outfit she was in, not for her acting skills). Colin Farrell proves to be no better as his performance is…passable at best. Amazing considering Farrell has proven to be a more than amazing actor in the past.

"Having a great rack counts as acting, right?"

Total Recall opens to some promise to end up, even if it wasn’t destined to be better, at least an entertaining movie. The set up was nice and the special effects are awesome—you even get to see Beckinsale in her panties pretty much right away (and thus confirming that even Wiseman knew the only reason she gets roles). However, the movie becomes convoluted in its own story and, thanks to shitty robots, ends up becoming a bad comedy with an incredible budget.


  1. The story wasn't good but I thought the CGI and effects were very good.

  2. Did you see Phone Booth? That movie was amazing and Colin Farrell was awesome as fuck in it.

    1. I did. I think it's a very underrated film and I really enjoyed it.


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