Total Recall (2012)

total recall poster 2012 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice visuals

Poor story, so-so actors

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Total Recall

Studio:  Original Film

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 3, 2012

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


This is not a very comfortable pillow

The world is divided and destroyed with only portions of the United Kingdom and Australia remaining livable.  Between the two districts, the poor workers of the Colony provide the workforce for the UFB (the United Federation of Britain) and are subjected to the Fall which takes them from the Colony to the UFB for their shifts.  A resistance is brewing lead by a man named Matthias (Bill Nighy) and Matthias is uncatchable.  When a worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) goes to a memory implant company called Rekall, he accidentally uncovers another series of buried memories.  His wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is not his wife and a woman named Melina (Jessica Biel) appears to be his former partner.  Quaid’s secrets could save the resistance and stop the UFB Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston)…if Quaid’s memories are real…

Directed by Len Wiseman, Total Recall is a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name and both films are adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” which was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in April 1966.  The film was released to so-so box office returns and mostly negative reviews.


So how many movies have you been in that have bombed? I can top it!!!

I love the original Total Recall, and I like the basic concepts of both that film and this film.  The idea that the story might be occurring all in the heads of the Quaid character is compelling and interesting.  The problem with this version is that it isn’t “fantastical” enough to really be interesting or improbable.

The first Total Recall had a crazy story.  Mutants, Johnny Cabs, trips to Mars, and eye popping all were totally crazy but believable within the context of the story, but the extreme nature of the story permitted the idea that the film could be a fantasy.  Here, the story isn’t as real or fun.  There is no trip to Mars and it just feels like a Bourne movie set in the future.  Sure there is a three breasted woman (and an allusion to the “Two weeks” lady that is kind of fun), but since the story isn’t more fantasy based, some of these fun throwbacks seem out of place.

All three main actors in this film to me are box office poison.  I’m ok with Colin Farrell in some stuff, but he’s continuously underperformed as an actor that Hollywood seems intent on shoving on us.  Kate Beckinsale has been in big movies, but she’s been in a lot of bad, cheap movies also.  Jessica Biel is the female equivalent of Ryan Reynolds.  They keep putting her in stuff like she’s a star and the movies keep failing…I wish Hollywood would stop.  It is too bad because I like both Bill Nighy and Bryan Cranston who are underused in this film.


I-Robots will kill you!!!

I will give that the special FX are pretty good on this film.  It doesn’t do anything new (the flying cars resemble other movie flying cars), but what they use in the film, looks good.  These better than average special effects however cannot make up for a rather dull movie that goes on too long.

Total Recall seems like a real waste.  If they had decided to remake Total Recall, ok…everything is being remade.  The movie feels like an action movie with little fun or humor…something the original got right.  Don’t bother with Total Recall’s remake (or “reimagining”) when you can still watch and enjoy the original for some fun and goofy weirdness.

Related Links:

Total Recall (1990)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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