The future nears!
Total Recall (2012)
Duration: 118 minutes
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy
Total Recall is loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick’s story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, which had also inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 film.
I had been very sceptic about this production but I was pleasantly surprised as this picture moves out from under the shade of its predecessor.
The 1990 film was simply a Schwarzenegger vehicle. The vein of Dick’s story about the questioning of reality and the way the world around us is being artificially misconstrued was lost with the presence of the Austrian Oak, even though it was excellent sci-fi entertainment. This new version brings the spirit of the story more to the fore, thanks also to the main protagonist, Colin Farrell.
The film is set in the future when a chemical war splits the world in two: The Colony, which had once been Australia, and The United Federation of Britain.
Travel between the two masses of land is possible through a tunnel at the centre of the earth.
A faction known as the Resistance is led by Matthias (Bill Nighy) who wants to bring down Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston).
Meanwhile, Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) works in a factory making police robots. His wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is a security agent who is often called to investigate bombings carried out by the Resistance.
Bored by his life and plagued by the same dream, Doug goes off to Rekall, a company that can implant memories in one’s head. He wants to have memories of being a secret agent but everything goes topsy-turvy.
The police arrive on the scene. Doug discovers that he has hidden fighting skills and that everyone, including his wife, believes him to be something else and not just an ordinary worker.
So he goes on the run with Melina (Jessica Biel), as he tries to recall what the truth is and what is artificially in his head.
Len Wiseman, who has already directed his wife Kate in such genre hits as Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, is in good form here.
References to the 1990 film abound, but these are slick and the action sequences are effective without going over the top.
It’s not the story that revolves around the action sequences but they seem necessary to the narrative.
One sequence in particular, Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel being pursued by a hovercar, is especially effective and imaginative.
The cyberpunk look to the future shows off the film’s Blade Runner influences, one of my favourite films ever and also a Philip K. Dick adaptation.
Beckinsale adds flavour to the film in a lethal manner which makes it even more worth recalling!