Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel in Total Recall: movie review (+trailer)

With one-dimensional characters, 'Total Recall' is just a big-screen video game.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / August 3, 2012

Actors Colin Farrell (r.) and Jessica Biel (l.) star in 'Total Recall.'

Michael Gibson/Columbia Pictures/AP

Enlarge

How many audiences recall 1990’s “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone? Probably not many. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Skip to next paragraph

The reboot, starring Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel, is set in a futuristic world rendered almost uninhabitable by chemical warfare. Farrell is an assembly line worker who, despite his beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale), wants to spice up his life by visiting Rekall, a company that, through medical injection, converts the patients’ fantasies into real memories. Things, of course, go completely haywire. Once Farrell is injected, soldiers burst onto the scene, and he spends the rest of the movie on the run or on the hunt. Is he a superspy or is this just his fantasy?

The problem with all this is that the characters are little more than bots, so all the existential angst of the premise, courtesy of a Philip K. Dick story, is moot. Director Len Wiseman is good on action, and Patrick Tatopoulus’s dystopic production design is within hailing distance of “Blade Runner,” his chief influence. But essentially this is a big-screen video game. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.)

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!