Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Total Recall

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.

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