Total Recall is a film about inequality and resistance, and about how who you are now is much more important than who you were in the past. Set in post apocalyptic Great Britain and Australia (known now as “The Colony”), the story focuses on Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), a factory worker who is displeased with his life as a citizen of the disenfranchised Colony. He goes to Rekall, a place where one can be given any memory one desires. Just as he is about to get the memories of a spy, the operator of the Rekall machine discovers that Douglas has real memories of being a spy. Things go terribly wrong from there and soon Douglas is on the run from the police as he realizes that he isn’t the man he thought he was.
Unfortunately, as interesting as this premise is, the film falls depressingly flat. As you watch you seem to see scenes from other, better films (“The Bourne Identity” springs to mind). Colin Farrell’s acting is adequate but never excellent. The same can be said for the rest of the performances (by actors such as Kate Beckinsale and Bill Nighy, to name a few)- they are serviceable but never exceptional.
The special effects are good as far as they go. One scene of a hover-car chase is particularly impressive. However, as good as some of the effects were there were definitely some places where the CGI was glaringly obvious, and the opening scene of the movie is hard to watch due to lights flickering and strobing seemingly at random.
The film deserves its PG-13 rating, as there is extensive violence but little gore, some language, and brief but eye catching nudity. The question must come: would I recommend this movie? The answer is no, but neither would I dissuade someone from watching it. The movie is watchable, and adequate for a mindless evening staring at a television set.
The original film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is better. I had hoped I wouldn't have to say that.
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