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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


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

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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.)


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