Total Recall (2012)


A factory worker dissatisfied with his lot decides to spice up his life and visit a memory implant service, only to discover that he is in fact an undercover secret agent and wanted fugitive.

The fact that I thought that the original Total Recall was a ugly, tacky, nonsensical mess means that this version had very little to live up to, and on that score it is a success. The cast is better – despite a criminal waste of the usually excellent Bill Nighy – the dialogue is better and the visual effects are a lot better. But as he consistently proves, Len Wiseman does action. He does not “do” character development, he does not “do” sophisticated narratives. He does action. And that’s it. So what we have here is a remake that stays very close to the original but dispenses with its more ambitious plot threads to deliver what is little more than Future Bourne, as an indestructible secret agent with amnesia gets chased around. A lot. The first half of the film is like the chase sequence of Minority Report stretched out for half a movie, and the second is I, Robot with so much noise and fireworks being thrown at the viewer it – rather than being ever more pulse-pounding – actually starts to get a little tiresome.

As a no-brain visual effects extravaganza it’s entertaining enough but without any attempt at an Inception-style twist beyond the bog-standard “or is he…?”, there’s very little here to think about.



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