Directed by: Len Wiseman Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins (extended), 1 hr 58 mins (theatrical) Rating: Unrated (extended), PG-13 (theatrical) Due Out: December 18, 2012
PLOT: A perfectly average factory worker (Farrell) goes to Rekall to spice up his life, but ends up on the run after discovering he may be a spy.
WHO'S IT FOR? So long as you aren't going in expecting a whole lot more than some flashy visuals and entertaining action sequences you should come away relatively happy. Also, anyone of age who wants to play a lens flare drinking game, don't. You will die.
Even if, like me, you’ve never seen the Verhoeven/Schwarzenegger version of Total Recall, there’s a certain level of familiarity with this new take. I was often reminded of past films that take place in similar worlds, but that sameness never really put me off. The tedious first 30 minutes, however, nearly did. Things kick off with a fairly effective action sequence that’s full of lens flares and slick nonsense (your mileage may vary on the flashiness of the whole thing). Then everything slows way down until Colin Farrell’s Quaid goes to Rekall. Luckily, once the camera was zipping around the Rekall room showing Farrell taking out all the guards I was able to settle in and go with it. That’s followed up by a great fight/chase sequence between Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, all of which is the highpoint of the film. In between the fighting and the chases it tends to drag, but Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is still a mostly entertaining experience.
Colin Farrell has been fantastic before (see: In Bruges). Unfortunately, Douglas Quaid is not a particularly good role. Farrell is as capable as expected during the action scenes, but beyond that he isn’t asked to do much of anything other than ask questions and question his existence (he does at least get one nice moment where he plays a piano). I understand that’s part of the point, it’s just not much fun to watch. One of the biggest disappointments is that Bryan Cranston’s Chancellor Cohaagen doesn’t show up in the flesh until about the 90 minute mark. Cranston makes the most of it and gets a few decent moments, but mostly all he has to do is wear a goofy wig and explain his entire plan. This disheartening turn does, happily, open the door for Kate Beckinsale to steal the show. She’s fantastic as Lori and manages to elevate the film nearly every time she comes on screen (her quick turn from Quaid’s supportive wife to his number one adversary is spectacular).
Like I said, the more ponderous and talkative moments tend to drag – such as one featuring a notable cameo or another where Quaid’s friend Harry tries to convince him he’s still in Rekall. While I won’t be beating the drum too loudly for Total Recall, it’s the type of film I’ll happily put on after it hits cable, if only to be entertained by Kate Beckinsale and the stellar action sequences once more.
MOVIE SCORE: 6/10
Extended Director's Cut Commentary with Director Len Wiseman Total Recall - Insight Mode Previews
Gag Reel Science Fiction vs. Science Fact Designing the Fall Total Action Stepping Into Recall - Pre-Visualization Sequences "God of War: Ascension" - Playstation 3 Playable Game Demo