Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho.
Written by Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback, Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon and
Jon Povill, inspired on the short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick.
Directed by Len Wiseman.
Everybody wants a Mulligan. Despite the critical and financial success of Paul Verhoven and Arnold Swarzenegger's Total Recall (1990), someone thought it was high time for a do-over.
Set in the year 2084, the 2012 version of Total Recall stars Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, a factory worker who lives in "The Colony" (Australia) and commutes to England via a tunnel transport system called "The Fall" which connects directly through Earth's core. Quaid is married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and has the same recurring dream in which he is captured by police as a woman named Melina (Jessica Biel) tries to help him. Troubled by his dream, Quaid seeks answers at a red-light district business that grants fantasy wishes by altering one's memory called "Rekall." Just as the Rekall treatment begins, cops storm the place, and Quaid (although a blue collar factory worker) kills the entire SWAT team and wings it back to his shabby apartment, hoping to find refuge and understanding from his wife. When he gets there, he discovers that Lori really isn't his wife, but a police officer who tried to kill him. He escapes again, and discovers that his mundane life isn't real, but that he had a former existence as government agent named Hauser.
As Quaid tries to find out who he really is, he travels to London where he tries to re-connect with the "Resistance" to the world government led by Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), a man who plans to wipe out the Colony's population and replace the planet's workforce with robots. Quaid is aided in his efforts when he reconnects with Melina, who takes him to meet the "Resistance" leader Matthias (Bill Nighy). When he meets Matthias, cops and Cohaagen burst in, revealing that his memory was altered as a means to spring a trap on the "Resistance" and lead Cohaagen to an obliteration of the Resistance and the Colony.
A big fight breaks out as all the major players travel through the core tunnel to the Colony.
I'm not a big Paul Verhoven fan, so I was not as impressed with the 1990 version of Total Recall (a little too much gratuitous gore for me) as others. The new version has a few more things going for it, but not much. Colin Farrell eats up less scenery than Ah-Nold, as evidenced in his ablity to strip himself of a thick accent. Total Recall's action holds up, but the story and conclusion are nothing exceptional (dare I say..."forgettable"?). Not terrible, but not great, either.
By the way, if all you remember about the 1990 version is the three-breasted prostitute, you will not be disappointed in the only scene that warranted a PG-13 rating in the new version.
Total Recall works if all you're after is a little action and special effects (although sometimes too dark), but to me, it's just another tepid, undistinguished science fiction movie in a string of many.