Total Recall? More like Total Re-TREAD, am I right? *chuckle*
*Ahem* Sorry. Anyway…
The first title card that shows up when Total Recall begins is for the production studio Original Films, and my friends and I all got a chuckle out of the inherent irony attached to it, because not only is Recall a wholly unnecessary remake – it’s also a rote, lifeless, tedious excercise is empty 21st-century filmmaking. It’s as if the withered, reanimated corpses of Blade Runner, Minority Report, I Robot, JJ Abrams Star Trek, and The Star Wars prequels had a sweaty orgy and gave birth to an utterly soulless abomination.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that there isn’t a single original idea in this film. Every special effect, camera shot, weapon, action sequence, vsual style choice, set design, and lighting scheme is cannibalized from a different (and better) sci-fi movie. Kate Beckinsale does her acrobatic, vampy Underworld routine while chasing Colin Farrell through a theme-park recreation of Blade Runner’s rainy Chinatown set; A chase through a vast cityscape in flying cars invokes Blade Runner yet again, and also Minority Report, Attack of the Clones, and even Back to the Future II; the robotic peacekeepers wear armor derivative of Star Wars’ Clone Troopers, and share the same CGI framework as the automatons in I, Robot; a chase involving characters hopping from vertically and horizontally moving elevators is lifted right out of Revenge of the Sith; and poor Jessica Biel wears the same boots, cargo pants, and tight-fitting muscle shirt that she has worn in every movie she has ever done. It just goes on and on throughout the film’s running time; every scene reminded me of something that I had already experienced 10,20, and even 30 years ago.
Total Recall is also chock full of vapid, wink at the audience callbacks to the 1990 version. Remember this scene from the original Total Recall? Well, here it is jazzed up with some ridiculous new CGI computer displays! Remember the three-breasted hooker? Well here she is, with absolutely no context or explanation! It’s all a complete load of pandering bullshit.
Hack director Len Wiseman (aka Mr. Kate Beckinsale) assaults the audience’s senses with more lens flares than JJ Abrams entire filmography, a thunderous electronic score, and relentless (yet banal) action pacing in the vain hope of distracting us from the terrible dialogue and blank ciphers this film tries to pass off as dynamic characters. Total Recall is by-the-numbers filmmaking at its absolute worst. It made me want to visit “Rekall” myself and have memories of a better movie implanted in my head.