Total Recall is the newest film to contribute to the ever growing recent string of remakes and sequels in Hollywood. In other words about a year ago a studio exec thought, “Man, wasn’t that movie with the three tits awesome. We should do that again. Except replace Schwarzenegger with a bland and charmless lead and take away all of the fun. Yeah, that’s a recipe for success. How could that possibly fail?” Well, I’m here today to tell you that, surprise, it fails. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
In theory this movie could have worked. It’s built on an intriguing premise borrowed from a Philip K Dick short story, which usually leads to at least something of interest happening, and part of me thought Colin Farrell had redeemed himself as an actor after his great performance in In Burges. However, even the genius of Philip K Dick cannot save this film from its innumerable problems.
I could understand this film’s existence if there was any genuine creativity or at least a solid execution behind it all, but as far as I can see there’s an astounding lack of anything here. It’s like a flat boring field filled with nothing but an occasional plot hole to draw the eye. The action scenes that are supposed to titillate and excite do nothing but move the plot forward. Sure, we know there was a gunfight, but do we care? The characters are no better. They start the film boring and charmless and end it in just the same way. This definitely isn’t helped by the flat performances given throughout the film. Even the normally great actors here, like Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy, give droll and bland efforts. I can only imagine the script was too poor for even a master like Cranston to work with.
Unfortunately, the only redeeming aspect of this wholly disappointing work is the setting it ripped off from Blade Runner, an infinitely superior movie. However, that’s even somewhat mitigated by the fact that the film spends most of its time giving it a blind eye in favor of its insipid plot and two dimensional characters. I guess I could also say the premise itself is interesting, but it’s never really explored other than to hint at possible plot twists. Everything of substance that could have possibly been drawn from this idea was completely glossed over and ignored.
Total Recall’s problem isn’t that it’s offensively written or that it’s horrendously executed. No, in many regards it’s very adequate. It’s main problem is that it’s just flavorless. There’s nothing here to engage me, to make me go wow or even oh. It’s a nothing, fluff that barely even registers. It baffles me as to why this even exists in the first place. I can only assume that someone must have really like those tits.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5