Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Entertainment

March 20, 2013

Total Recall (2012) is a total mess of a remake

Greensburg — One gets the sense, watching 2012’s “Total Recall,” that Director Len Wiseman took pains to differentiate his film from the 1990 Schwarzenegger-starring original.

Considering the redundant, derivative dreck regularly churned out by Hollywood, such originality is a worthwhile pursuit. Wiseman, though, succeeds only at stripping his vision of Philip K. Dick’s 1966 novella “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” of an identity. Wiseman, in fact, merely throws his own layer of dreck onto Hollywood’s continually growing pile.

Anyone who’s seen the biggest, most popular sci-fi film’s of the last four decades will find something familiar in “Recall.” From “Alien” to “Logan’s Run” to “Blade Runner” to “E.T.” to “Star Wars” to Christopher Nolan, “Recall” recalls them all — and not in an original, reverential way, but in a blatant rip-off way.

This film becomes so entangled in rip offs, that it ultimately feels like a rip off of the 1990 original.

The story here is basically the same as in both the 1990 film and in Dick’s novella: In the late 21st century, an average, everyday working-class Joe named Carl Hauser (Colin Farrell) visits a business called Rekall.

Rekall specializes in transplanting false memories to poor, everyday citizens. Those false memories are intended to grant society’s underprivileged trips to exotic locales and grand adventures.

Hauser requests to be implanted with the memories of a super spy. The folks at Rekall discover, however, that he subconsciously carries real-world super-spy memories, which have been wiped away with a new identity. They can’t get him out of their office fast enough.

Literally.

Before Rekall can rid itself of brainwashed spy, a swat team from the agency that erased Hauser’s identity — the same one he previously worked for and turned against — breaks in and kills everyone but Hauser.

Working completely from instinct, Hauser proceeds to kill the entire swat team, unaware before then he was capable of such carnage.  

Hauser then comes to learn that his supposed wife of seven years, Lori (Kate Beckinsale), is actually an agent assigned to watch him and reinforce his fake identity.

Lori tries to kill Hauser, and he’s off and running with a woman named Melina (Jessica Biel), a member of the resistance movement he ditched his spy agency for. Further complicating matters: Melina was Hauser’s lover in his other life — in his true life as former-spy-turned-resistance-fighter, Douglas Quaid.

In addition to all the sci-fi rip-offs, Wiseman clutters his film with endless chases and gunfights. The film is so cluttered and busy, in fact, there’s no chance to connect with or care about these characters.

For some inexplicable reason, Wiseman also switches to an Earthbound setting, whereas the 1990 film and the source material were set largely on Mars, where Quaid did his actual spy work.

This interpretation is set entirely on Earth, in a world that’s been whittled down to two livable continents by global warfare. It’s a change that reeks of yet another random attempt at differentiation.

“Total Recall” is certainly a visual masterpiece, and I found myself wishing the storytelling efficiency of the original film could be merged with these special effects. Colin Farrell makes for a likable enough everyman, too, and could easily have played the same role in the original film.

Those are about the only things to recommend “Total Recall,” though, and they’re not near enough. This film deserves to be skipped and forgotten.

Rating: Yip

Score: 25/100

Runtime: 118 minutes

Rated PG-13 for violence, nudity and language.

Rating System Explained: Rabies = 0; Yip = *; Bark = **; Howl = ***; Lone-wolf howl = ****; Leader of the pack = *****    

Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • The Civil War comes to Knightstown this weekend The Annual Civil War Event at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, north of Knightstown on State Road 109, will begin Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. “The cavalry is coming this year, with more cannons, more reenactors, and special events,” states park owner Dan Moll.

    August 1, 2014

  • "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie poster Movie preview: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

    Plot: After stealing a mysterious orb in the far reaches of outer space, brash adventurer Peter Quill, a half human/half alien, is now the main target of a manhunt lead by the villain known as Ronan the Accuser.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Get On Up" movie poster Movie preview: “Get On Up”

    Plot: James Brown’s life is chronicled in this biopic from a childhood spent in poverty to his emergence as the Godfather of Soul.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb073114-state fair concerts jpg Indiana State Fair concerts at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage boasts major talent Concerts that are part of the 2014 Indiana State Fair begin next week as Lynyrd Skynyrd performs on Thursday, July 31 (pre-fair) followed by amazing shows at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage throughout the run of the fair. Also, in celebration

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb073114-Movie boys pic Movie Boys: Lucy This week Andy is back from the opening round of parenthood, and we take a look at the Scarlett Johansson action vehicle, “Lucy” (R). Johansson’s title character is forced to become a drug mule, when an accident causes her brain capacity to advance a

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'This is the End' is long and not funny FROM THE DEN AT HOME — I was nothing short of stunned by how little I enjoyed “This is the End.”I rented this film expecting an irreverent, side-splitting hilarious romp, with laughs coming so quickly and frequently I’d be forced to watch a second ti

    July 31, 2014

  • ent-gb073114-New at library pic New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072614-book review pic 1 Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD & Lee Daniel Kravetz You’re not sure if you’ll ever recover.The loss of job or a business. The loss of a lifelong dream. The loss of your health or the life of someone you love. Without a doubt, you’ll never be the same. It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 25, 2014

  • "Hercules" movie poster Movie preview: “Hercules”

    Plot: Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo