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Total Recall Reviews

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September 9, 2014
Not a bad film but it wasnt a patch on the original
Emod L.
September 4, 2014
The special effects are aesthetically pleasing, but this rendition of the 80s sci-fi classic tries to go for brooding scenery but ends up a lifeless and underwhelming remake with little to no surprises.
January 10, 2014
Not really sure what the big stink was about this. It was closer to the original story (minus the humor) and stylistically done better. Way cooler tech.
April 2, 2012
the original one was a perfect imprint of the 80s which is a classic now. i have no expectations about this new one but obviously will still check it out.
Matthew C.
August 24, 2014
One of the most pointless remakes I have ever seen. They might as well have called the film, "Total Recall: Cash-In".
August 23, 2014
This wasn't as violent as the original was.
August 22, 2014
Even if you watched this movie without knowing anything about the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, you'd find this to be an uninspired and bland action movie. Being familiar with the original movie only makes watching this movie worse. There's no humor, no motivation, no refuge in audacity that made the original so much fun to watch. Because this movie featured absolutely nothing new to offer, it can safely be said that making this was a gigantic waste of time and money, millions of dollars that could have been spent elsewhere.
August 22, 2014
"Total Recall" is directed by Len Wiseman and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Brian Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine and Kate Beckinsale. It is a remake of the Shwarzenegger sci-fi classic about a civil war between the ruling government of earth and a outpost colony. In the original it was a Martian colony but in this new vision I honestly have no idea where the fricking colony is founded. This film has basically the same story complete with climactic action sequences and sci-fi spectacular scenery. In the new "Total Recall" the story follows a factory worker undergoing a personal crossroads of sorts. He decides to change things up in his life but gets more than he bargains for when his fantasy becomes far too real. He soon becomes the last man standing for a resistance movement against the oppressive ruling regime.

This movie has all the qualities of a great sci-fi film but the true star of the movie was missing for me-Mars! The thing that made the original story so entertaining and whimsical was the concept of a human colony on the one world we constantly dream of which is our closest planetary neighbor. In this film I never really new who was who in the great civil conflict. Both the colony and ruling society were so identical in appearance that it was hard to focus an emotional attachment to the physicality of this sci-fi world. The scenes carried the highly produced and fantastical scenes and technology that is truly a future worth dreaming of much like the original however I found myself constantly wishing for the Martian fragility that the colony faced.

In this version I never could figure out what made society so dire that the government had to conspire to take hold of a founded colonies land. Although the population was critical the advancements of this reality were so great that even the desolate and toxic areas outside of the city could have been re-populated so I never felt completely sold on this story. I have to give props to the action and fighting sequences between the stars of this film because they were quite intense and entertaining. Even though the one thing was missing that could have made "Total Recall" epic and I found it's absence irritating I did enjoy the movie's effects and view of the future-minus the conflict of course.
January 8, 2013
I need to point out that I haven't seen the original before sharing my thoughts on this film. Now that that has been said, lets get on with my thoughts. I had a blast seeing this movie. It has a mind bending enough plot and some fantastic action set pieces. Sure its overlong and its doesn't always have the best dialogue/acting but thats not the point of this movie. Its a sci fi thriller that is entertaining for almost its entire runtime. The critics were brutally cruel towards this film in my opinion. Perhaps their thoughts were too biased since they had seen the original? I guess thats really what your enjoyment is going to be based on. As this was the first movie I have seen with the title "Total Recall", I enjoyed myself thoroughly and think its a great way to entertain yourself for a couple hours.
August 19, 2014
I saw the original Total Recall 23 years ago.

I remember that being criticized for being excessively violent.

Others said that the plot was deficient.

This film has some interesting ideas. Visually, it reminded me of other gritty depictions of life in the future, such as Blade Runner.

This remake is rather forgettable.
August 18, 2014
amazing and mind shattering
August 18, 2014
The most unnecessary film of all time. It brings nothing new to the table, nothing of any worth to the mythos already created more than 20 years ago.
August 17, 2014
There are three things removed from the Arnold classic, and they are key to this one's downfall. They don't go to Mars, which is folly. Leaving the planet is big in creating the dystopian future of the original. There aren't any mutants, costing the movie some depth. They take away the struggle for air, and replace it with an invading army. Lame. A plot point rooted in theme was turned into bullshit. Weaksauce.

It looked great, tho. And might have been alright as mindless fun if the first one didn't exist. But, we don't live in that world. You'll need Recall for that.
August 16, 2014
Why did this need to exist? And why was it just a mash-up of other, better movies? And why did I sit through the whole thing?
August 19, 2013
Great concept, but too bad it was already done 100 times better back in 1990. I am having total recall of how much better the original Total Recall actually is. This remake does pay homage to the original in many aspects, but it is an abomination to have the original modernized and remade.
August 6, 2014
It must just be me but I thought it a great si-fi movie, brilliant action, and kate Beckinsale as the wife from Hell who just can't be stopped was great fun!
Luc L.
August 5, 2014
A mess of visual effects with a formulaic action story.
August 4, 2014
Pretty but a stupid waste of time. This story is so messy and nonsensical, the acting is hackneyed at best and completely lacks the spirit and fun of the original.
July 29, 2014
Great film! The intrigue is quite amazing. The effects are spectacular and the props are very realistic. Would like to feel what it is like to go through the Core....
July 8, 2012
With little expectation to enjoy the remake of Total Recall because it was an unnecessary remake of a cheesy 1990's science fiction classic, I went in simply for hopes of good action scenes, and the trailer revealed that it was not too much to ask for.

Like I said, Total Recall is a serious example of a film that cannot be remade. The original was both an internally complex and interesting science fiction film and an action vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger full of cheesy humour and groundbreaking themes. In the 2012 remake, the themes are all familiar because they have been previously covered in the original film, and so the plot, subject matter and setting are changed. Instead of being about putting an end to a corporate rule over society on mars, it is about putting an end to the totalitarian rule of a dystopian society which is segregated. The original theme was more interesting while the new one is one that has been covered in too many other science fiction films for it to be anything short of familiar. Total Recall was a film that did not to be remade, and the fact that it was remade into a film with a generic science fiction story which lacks the originality of the original.
All in all, the problem comes down to the plotting. The script is fine and even though it tries and fails to be insightful, it manages to pass without having any moments that I found to be bad. But the problem comes into the story because it has few of the good themes from the original movie and nothing good that is new. It is a dull science fiction tale this time around which loses track of its memory concept about halfway through only to turn into a basic action film which ends up a bit too similar to many other science fiction films. I would associate the remake of Total Recall more with films like The Fifth Element due to its style and some of its plot elements than with the original Total Recall. If you changed the title of the film, altered small plot elements and references to the original film, Total Recall could be passed off as something else because as a remake it will always suffer in comparison to the original while also being rather bland and forgettable. There is little in Total Recall that hasn't been seen before, so it is not worth getting too excited about.
The visual experience of Total Recall was actually pretty impressive. The science fiction setting was really great because the universe was depicted with a production design which felt futuristic and yet contemporary at the same time, and while it had top notch visual effects, it was able to use them in moderation. Total Recall capitalises on a good futuristic production design for its interior settings while mainly using visual effects for its exterior scenes which means that there is a strong balance in them. Everything in Total Recall looks cool, and so it stands out from a technical standpoint.
The action scenes in Total Recall are very stylish because of the fact that they blend visual effects with skilled choreography and are filmed with extensive shots and edited at a gentle pace instead of being excessively choppy like half the other action films of modern day. Although there is not enough of them to actually render the film a solid feature, the action scenes in Total Recall are impressive and fairly entertaining. And in a world where action cinema is dominated by excessive reliance on visual effects or choppy editing, Total Recall is able to capitalise on some of the best elements of the former while using none of the latter.
But when it comes to the acting, Total Recall finds itself coming up short most of the time.
You can see that Colin Farrell takes on the role as he has the look of an everyman and not a big action hero like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he manages to put up a decent fight as an action hero. But when it comes to acting, he is not up to the challenge. Douglas Quaid is a character that nobody could ever play better than Arnold Schwarzenegger because the man is a cheesy action hero, and in the remake he is way too much of a serious figure. The issue with this is that the film takes itself in a lot more serious direction and so Colin Farrell has to do the same. He simply fails to do that because all of his emotions are projected way too subtly. He doesn't physically convey a threatened status and his line delivery is too monotonous for him to grasp the intended emotional concepts that the film puts fourth. All in all, Colin Farrell is easily able to grasp the ability to play an action hero well because he puts up a fight, acts quickly and grasps his weapons with confidence. But none of these can overshadow the fact that at heart, his performance is simply poor form for the leading role. Colin Farrell cannot justify his casting too well in Total Recall, and while he can play an everyman and an action hero, he cannot play an actual character in this film.
Jessica Biel isn't especially bad in Total Recall, but she isn't able to justify any reason to call her a good actress. She makes a decent duo with Colin Farrell despite the limit of how far that can go, and she handles her weapons well enough, but when it comes to acting that is an entirely different issue. Jessica Biel fails to be able to tune her physical emotions in with her internal ones and so her line delivery does not match her physicality as she overacts with her body movements but underacts with her line delivery which just makes her entire performance inconsistent and not that impressive. You can see that she's trying, but even though she doesn't have too much of a character, she really is a limited actress.
Bryan Cranston is the one actor who actually manages to prove himself impressive in Total Recall. You can expect nothing less from him because the man is a genius as an actor, and so in his brief role as antagonist Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen he manages to make the film worth seeing if just to please fans. Bryan Cranston dominates the screen with a powerful hold over his character and fills the part with firm and unmatched dominance which just steals the screen. He just performs without problem in Total Recall and makes a great villain.
John Cho makes a good cameo as well.

So despite some impressive action scenes and great technical qualities, Total Recall lacks the originality, complexity and humour of the original while replacing it with dull storytelling and a lack of involvement in what is happening.
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