Cinema
Montreal

Total Recall

Total score  6.6

Based on 198 reviews written by our users.

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6.6
198

User reviews

ATTENTION: This review reveals content of the movie. The 2012 version of “Total Recall” contains none of the intelligence of the original and even on its own merit it’s not a particularly smart movie. At least it partially makes up for it with some decent action and impressive special effects.

In the future, Earth has been rendered mostly uninhabitable due to chemical warfare. Only two sections of the planet remain amiable to humans: Australia, where the worker-class live, and Northern Europe, reserved for the rich. Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) believes himself to be a normal civilian until his memories are given back to him with thanks to “Rekall”, a virtual vacation service. Now on the run, he must expose a sinister plot by a corrupt aristocrat named Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston.)

This is a remake of the 1990 Paul Verhoeven film, which was loosely based on a story by Philip K. Dick. You’ll find few elements from the book here. It starts off all right, with a clearly established “upper class vs. lower class” storyline and this futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting. Our main character is sympathetic and seeing him piece together his identity is entertaining. The film uses modern-day special effects to add other cool science fiction elements like a robotic police force and an evolution of cell phones that’s quite ingenious.

What will frustrate you are the crowbarred references to the original film, like a brief scene where we see a three-breasted woman. She’s out of place here and only included because hey, remember her from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? I know I do! There are no mutants in this film so we have to believe that this is just a coincidental, random birth defect or that this woman just wanted attention to much that she got plastic surgery to give herself a third boob. How she’d afford this in the slums of Australia, I don’t know. Other similar references should have been excised to give us more character development.

When it comes to the original elements, the non-science (that’s to say the nonsensical science) begins from the opening crawl and keeps going throughout. Most offensive to your brain is going to be the “Fall” a tunnel that allows people to quickly travel from Europe to Australia by passing through the center of the Earth. At least it’s introduced right from the start so you know to expect stupid science throughout, but still. An elevator shaft through the planet? The movie’s lack of brains is counterbalanced, at least a little bit with cool special effects and inventive action scenes. I love seeing Kate Beckinsale in any kind of fantastical scenario so seeing her among murderous robots is entertaining to me. If there’s one thing the movie does get right consistently, it’s the action. On the level of pure spectacle, the movie really does work well.

Often “Total Recall” degenerates into pure action film cliché nonsense. I didn’t even touch on Bryan Cranston’s character due to the fact that he’s one-dimensional. Evil for the sake of evil eh? Well, this movie’s not well cerebral in the least, so why put effort into the villain? For all of the silly and unexplainable moments on a pure “turn off your brain and enjoy this” level, there are quite a few thrills and some genuinely good action moments. “Total Recall” isn’t a very smart movie but if you want dumb entertainment, it delivers the goods. (Extended Version on Blu-ray, June 7, 2013)

5
adamwatchesmovies@ 7.6.2016   reply age: 26-35   764 reviews

Awful!. It's hard not to compare with the original... I tried but they keep trying to remind you. There is no replacing Arnold for this role. Kate was not believable as the wife, but very good as the villain. None of the others were doing any serious acting, which made it difficult to get into this movie. It felt like they were just reading their script in behind the camera. Jessica Biel was severely miscast. The special effects were OK, but the robots very ineffective. A lot of the material is changed, which is fine, but the parts that are similar are a lot worse, real bad. Give this one a miss.

2
beachandtennis@ 13.4.2013   reply age: 50+   273 reviews

If you're expecting something akin to the original Arnold Schwarzenegger one, you will be SADLY disappointed. This one falls just shy of being a complete stinker. It wasn't the actors fault. They held up their end, but they relied too much on the eye candy factor of the girls and CGI (which didn't hold a candle to the original) The script and plot fell Waaayyy short. I actually couldn't wait for this movie to end as I was dozing off a few times. If you're going to do a remake of a cult classic, get your Shi? Together first. I'm glad I rented it!!

5
canuckcop@ 24.3.2013   reply age: 36-49   196 reviews

This wasn't the best Schwarzenegger remake. It wasn't that good at all, to tell the truth.

4
chw@ 20.1.2013   reply age: 1-12   337 reviews

I never pass up an opportunity to see Kate Beckensale in tight clothing. That being said, the movie is a worthy attempt at a tribute to the original but falls well short of the mark of supplanting it. I enjoyed it but kept waiting for them to take it to the next level, which unfortunately never happens. There just weren't enough mutants and the character development just wasn't quite right. It's action-packed and fun to watch. Pleasing to the eye and technologically savvy in its portrayal of the future, but somewhat shallow and lifeless. Entertaining but could have been much better.

7
shawn50@ 16.1.2013   reply age: 36-49   231 reviews

Definitely not a better version then Arnold only difference is the modern tech. That's about it as I found it a bit draggy.

8
shazjoao@ 25.12.2012   reply age: 36-49   2564 reviews