Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Total Recall was that it had so much potential. A talented but underused cast. A sleek design that blends into monotone rather than popping memorably. A mind-bending premise that's all but forgotten (though vaguely hinted at) by the end of the film.
Say what you will about the Arnold Schwarzenegger original: at least it had an identity. The Colin Farrell remake lacks that almost entirely. It's a safe, if dull, PG-13 action flick.
I know there are critics who don't exactly find Colin Farrell to be the most compelling actor out there. I urge those critics to see In Bruges. Personally, I would have preferred to see all of Total Recall from the perspective of Farrell's character. Every moment out of his viewpoint was a confirmation that the film's action wasn't all in its protagonist's head--the most potentially compelling plot point of the movie. I am not a fan of "It was all a dream!" twists, but when "What is real? What is reality?" is designed to be the primary theme in your film, it isn't a twist so much as an absolutely necessary component.
The film does its chase and fight scenes a PG-13 action flick type of justice. There is plenty of shooting, plenty of adrenaline, plenty of "cool" shots at the expense of realism. The somewhat-nonsensical elevator chase was still a fun one. It was fun to see two absolutely capable female action stars duke it out, even if their clothes were just a bit tighter than they needed to be.
Overall, the film was a passable, if disappointing, summer popcorn flick.