Note to the reader : In this review I will not be comparing the new one to the old one, this movie warrants its own review as a stand alone movie.
A lot of people cry about remakes, especially when they stray so far from the original material (the movie in this case, not the short story!) judging it as “inferior” and “predictable” it is a remake you idiot! Of course it’s going to be predictable! The thing I loved most about Total Recall is that is was none of these things.
Factory worked Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell, I know I thought Randy and Dennis have another brother?) is bored with his routine job, going nowhere living in “The Colony” Set at the end of this century the world has been torn apart by nuclear war and only 2 countries remain The United Federation of Britain and The Colony (Australia). Living in the Colony is no easy feat, you are seen as the scum of the planet and the UFB are trying everything they can to control everyone on the planet to their wielding ways.
Quaid is married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale) an emergency worker, Quaid keeps having recurring dreams of being chased and trapped with another woman. The same day at work upon finding out he didn’t get the job promotion he has worked so hard for because someone at the UFB beat him to it (those British bastards!) he learns of a company named Rekall, a place that can make your fantasies come true and help you forget just how horrible the world is.
The beauty of this movie is that it does such a perfect job of creating a destroyed, near-apocalyptic world that is barely habitable. The dark and moody tones mix with the grittiness of the streets to create the perfectly believable premise that the world is horrible and anyone who lives in this universe would want to escape it.
Quaid moves off to Rekall and choses the fantasy of being a spy, a double agent working for both the UFB and the resistance led by Mathias, leader of the resistance set on revealing the truth about the UFB’s plan to control the world.
When the system goes haywire Quaid wakes up from Rekall and cannot tell if what he is experiencing is real or rekall?
Colin Farrell shines as Quaid, never before had I envisioned him an action movie star, but from the start with the shirtless scenes (drool!) and his ability to hold his own for the entire movie, make him the unlikely hero you will be cheering for. It has been awhile since we have Jessica Biel in a starring role and she delivers an outstanding performance here. Kate Beckinsale plays well Kate Beckinsale with her pout, evil eyes and pointy guns. It is a solid performance from all involved and this is part of what makes the movie work so well.
Story wise it is a major jump from the original and this was necessary to separate it from any pre-conceived ideas about what the story should be. It is a fresh and welcome approach to the idea of Recall and maintains interest in the plot for the entirety of the film.
Story aside this is predominately an action movie, and action there is! Countless explosions, magnetic car chases, roof sliding, lift jumping, crashing and smashing, it is all her and in full gear. Action junkies will marvel at just how much action was packed into the 2 hour long movie without sacrificing a good story.
Overall fans of the original seeking a nostalgic revisit will not find this here, you will find a fresh new film that has been expertly told with a fresh cast and perspective. This is definitely one to catch at the movies!
Review by Alaisdair Dewar