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Total Recall movie poster

Total Recall: Movie Review


Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Len Wiseman

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine
Released by: Columbia Pictures

In Short: Breathless action combines with scary science-fiction fantasy in this fun remake of the 1990 adventure of the same name.

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REAL OR IMAGINED?

Action-Packed Adventure Is What Dreams Are Made Of

If you've seen the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger-Sharon Stone-Paul Verhoven version of author Philip K. Dick's story "Total Recall," you’ll find this reboot to be very different. In fact, the action never makes it to Mars.

Directed by Len Wiseman (the "Underworld" guy) and starring Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid (the names do remain the same), this iteration stays on Earth — but our planet is basically on life support, with only two colonies of humans left. Quaid is an assembly-line worker in that blighted futuristic world where things are pretty much a mess. But still, he's been living a carefree life with his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale, who happens to be Wiseman's real-life spouse), until he starts having a seriously bad dream over and over again.

He dreams he is a secret agent, fighting against the real autocratic regime of Cohaagen (a menacing Bryan Cranston) with the help of gorgeous Melina (Jessica Biel), who happens to look a lot like his wife. When that recurring dream begins to overwhelm his life, he seeks out Rekall, a company that will implant happy memories into his brain instead.

Kate Beckinsale in Total Recall Colin Farrell in Total Recall

But things there go incredibly wrong, and the chase is on! Turns out Quaid really is a secret agent; or wait, maybe not. Maybe he's a double agent; or maybe it actually is all a dream, happening while he is strapped into a chair at Rekall? You may not be sure which scenario is the truth, even by the time the credits roll – which is exactly Wiseman's plan.

Part "Blade Runner," part "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones," part Mario Brothers video game and all action, "Total Recall" is tons of fun, with some crazy sequences that will make your adrenaline levels shoot upward as you take the thrilling ride. There's a car chase that's worth the price of admission, and for all you guys out there, a slugfest between Beckinsale and Biel that may just give you some special dreams, too.

And while the relentless action may not be for everyone, and you might notice some plot points that are a bit over the top (those battling vixens come out of that all-out fistfight with barely a scratch, for example), overall "Total Recall" is a fun summer popcorn flick, filled with terrific visuals and breathless sequences. Plus, Kate Beckinsale is wonderful in an unexpected role and Colin Farrell brings enough macho and rippling muscles to his part to fill Schwarzenegger's shoes.

What better way is there to spend a hot summer night at the movies?

 

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

 



PCT073012
(Updated: 08/03/12 CT)

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