Quaid (Colin Farrell) is seated in the mind trip chair inside the Rekall tripping den in the action thriller Total Recall.

Quaid (Colin Farrell) is seated in the mind trip chair inside the Rekall tripping den in the action thriller Total Recall.

Reel Reviews: Recall notice has been given

Total Recall is a new take on an old favourite, with Colin Farrell taking on the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger originally played.

  • Aug. 10, 2012 6:00 p.m.

At the end of the 21st century, Earth is slowly falling apart. Only two continents have survived a global chemical war, the Colony (Australia) and the United Federation of Britain.

For factory worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) life is mundane and lacking the relevance it deserves. After visiting Rekall, a company that implants false memories into its customers to spice up their lives, Quaid awakens convinced he is a spy. Now on the run for his life from the police of a corrupt government, he must first figure out what is real and what is Rekall, before he can figure out who he is.

We say, “It’s a new take on an old favourite.”

HOWE: Total Recall is a beautiful looking movie; it’s very slick, polished and neonish. It’s a jammed packed action movie from the very opening to the very end. For me it was a little too much action and not enough story.

TAYLOR: I love Phillip K. Dick stories and I also enjoyed the original film from 1990. This film did pack more of a punch than the first, but I agree that the price you pay for that punch is plot. I found myself getting bored of frenetic chase sequences and Bourne-like fist fights.

HOWE: Farrell did an okay job, but then again any action star could have played the part. You could have thrown Jason Statham or Clive Owen into the role of Quaid and you would have had the same result. Come to think of it even Arnie could have played him.

TAYLOR: I agree. A blind gorilla could have played Quaid. It’s the story that matters for this film; the exposition, the world in which the action takes place that is interesting. This world did not get served as well in this film as it did in the first. However, other than the added fight and chase scenes, I did like the differences between this film and first.

HOWE: This Recall isn’t a straight remake of the ‘90s version which is good, but there are a few references to original, a nice touch by director Len Wiseman.

TAYLOR: The future Earth was a lot bleaker and deeper, like a modern view of a Blade Runner-esque world, complete with mixed races, languages and non-stop rain. Still, if you lined up these two movies, back to back, I think I would prefer the original. It was more fun. This one, although kept entirely on Earth and offering a similar capitalist threat, felt like Bourne meets I, Robot at times. It made the trappings of Quaid’s double-agency less effective. The film seems to want us to remember the original, by way of throwing out one liners once in a while, as if saying, “Look, we’re clever and cute too.” But I don’t think, in this instance, they needed to. Also, not enough mutants…

HOWE: What about the three breasted lady? You don’t see that every day.

–– Howe gives Total Recall 2.5 core travelling trains out of 5.

–– Taylor gives it 3 S’mints out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are The Morning Star’s movie reviews. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday and Sunday.