Total Recall

It won’t take you long to realize that I think this is an underestimated movie, one which a sincere review could have seen it reach it’s true potential. The movie is artistically brilliant. The acting is complementary to the action sci-fi genre and the script has a nice twist or two from the original with a few ‘flashback’ liners for posterity’s sake. Enjoy the review or simply get out there and enjoy a great Sci-Fi action flick from the comfort of your lazyboy.

Director Len Wiseman carries the same classy artistic style crafted in his early days on Godzilla, Independence Day and MIB into this reboot of the 1990 Schwarzenegger Sci-Fi movie. If you wondered where the genius for the story comes from, its based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”. Wiseman’s work directing and producing in the Underworld series allows him the breathing space for the development of unique sets that seem to transition between the streets of Blade Runner and the mind of Escher.

If you remember the Earth and Mars settings of the previous movie be prepared to leave that thought on the shelf. In this outing we see the world segmented into two surviving populations. Great Britain seems to take in most of Western Europe and its colonialist undertakings. What’s ironic given the current economic climate it’s that the resources of the world are being mined in ‘the colony’ which seems very like Australia without the Opera House.

Some of the superb set and effects are based around the transportation of the future. The mag lev style cars that we were introduced to in Minority Report make for one of the most amazing unreal car chases on a sci-fi stage. The photography and design make you feel you could be driving the streets, or suspension carriage ways of London 200 years from now. On another platform we take a walk, jump and run through a set of lifts that would make Charlie dizzy in the chocolate factory. The chase and movement makes for a superb thriller with plenty of pace.

Colin Farrell was an interesting choice in the lead as Doug Quaid, a man who feels he’s out of place with misplaced memories. We quickly learn he’s a man with plenty to remember. When the memories start flooding back its wife Lori played by Kate Beckinsale who helps him come back to earth with a bang. Somewhere along the chase the dots start to reconnect and Jessica Biel’s ‘Melina’ becomes, Muse, Defender and Damsel for the cause. This is one love triangle where you don’t want to be seen caught in the cross-fire.

If you love humour in flashbacks there are superb nuances in this outing. Look for Obama’s face on the archive cash and if you remember the Schwarzenegger disguise in the original you may be fooled for a split second in this reboot. There are some nice cameos from John Cho and Bill Nighy to help fill the gaps and it’s not till the end that we get close and personal to the bad guy Cohaagen played by ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ Dad, Bryan Cranson.

In the future if you’ve found frustration rather than satisfaction with life you can buy a better memory at the mall. It’s a visit to the aptly named Rekall that kick starts our story like a defibrillator for your memory cells. At Rekall customers choose a life, a fantasy a solution to the tedium or conundrums of life. In the year 2012 you don’t need Rekall but a trip to see Total Recall will give you some respite till they open a Rekall shop at your local shopping centre.

M Violence, offensive language and nudity.

FILMGUIDE rating:

Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford

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