23 June 2013

Total Recall (2012) Review

Sometimes, you should really re-consider your title. Or at least, consider it in the first place, because had it not been for the association with the turn of the 90s Paul Verhoven actioner, this could've been held in higher regard, because as an action-orientated adaptation of 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale', it actually works pretty decently.

Len Wiseman's always been one for boldly-staged set pieces - see his Underworld films, as well as the irritatingly badly written Die Hard 4.0 - and he doesn't disappoint here, with scenes that sweep through a decently realised, if slightly derivative dystopian future. He does, however, retain the sense to keep the films he references within the Philip K Dick adaptation stable - everything from Minority Report to Blade Runner to A Scanner Darkly, as well as Verhoven's effort, are given visual nods. There's simply too many of them for them to really be described as derivative - rather, it feels like an effort to have all of these films take place in the same world. 

Colin Farrell is solid in the lead role, believable as a bunched up and frustrated worker to whom there's more than is initially apparent. Kate Beckinsale - despite her husband's odd penchant for presenting her backside to the world - makes a fun switch from doting wife to futuristic femme fatale, and Jessica Biel, whilst hardly challenged, doesn't really bring anything particular impressive to her role as love interest/competition. It's nice to see Bill Nighy turn up once again in a Wiseman flick, and Bryan Cranston's evil dictator is like Walter White without the moral compass and more kung-fu skills, which is more or less as entertaining as it sounds.

It falters a little towards the end - the script not really sure what to do with itself, with screenwriters Kurt Wimmer (of Equilibrium and Ultraviolet fame) and Mark Bomback (of 'ruining Die Hard' fame) presenting us with possibly cinema's first quintuple agent, and ceasing to make any sense from there, resorting to just blowing shit up in lieu of figuring out its own clusterfridge of a story. The most interesting stuff happens when they attempt to play with the concept of rekall (with a K, no less), but this is ultimately restricted to a tense scene in the middle which sees Farrell's adversaries attempting to convince him that nothing he's done thus far is real.

But the action is fun, the story just about engaging enough to keep you occupied (if Becksale's butt doesn't quite grab you, as Wiseman insists it should), and the vision of the future is pleasingly technophillic. Just don't expect a satisfying resolut-...'Rekall'!! It should've been called 'Rekall'!

1 comment:

Lynne w said...

CAN Kate Beckinsale act or is it always her body parts? Well thought and written review.