Friday, 24 August 2012
REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL
118 Mins. Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy & John Cho. Director: Len Wiseman. Screenplay: Kurt Wimmer & Mark Bomback
Arnie told us he'd be back-albeit it was in a different film-but 2012 sees the return of Mr. Schwarzenegger and 'Total Recall', but not together. At the 'Expendable' expense of Arnold, 'Recall' moves on from the memories to the moments and the past to the present as Colin Farrell beats out leading men Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender for the role of factory worker Doug McQuaid who goes to 'Rekall' and realizes things aren't quite how he thought.
If you recall the 1990 classic original you'll remember Arnie snapping necks and killing people with drills whilst delivering trademark punchlines like "screw you" all whilst turning everything and everyone on site inside out up on mars. Well this 2012 reboot is less of a remake as it spins in a different direction. One that sticks more to the narrative script of the legendary Philip K. Dick book-'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale' that this franchise was based on. Just like modern greats 'The Adjustment Bureau' and 'Minority Report' the influence of Philip K's novel ideas makes this film that much deeper, darker, bolder and better.
Speaking of 'Minority Report' (which included a breathtaking, breakthrough performance from Farrell in his early days) there are shades of that film here, to go along with some shimmers of 'I. Robot'. Hey, this is a Sci-Fi after all, at times 'Recall' is a few storm-troopers away from being a 'Star Wars' march. What 'Recall' lacks in space (London and a half hour, earth core lift trip to 'The Colony' or Australia as its better known is chosen over Mars) it makes up for in time and a well constructed piece that's equal parts dramatic, drawn out paranoia as it is fumbling but formidable action.
Colin Farrell yet again shows that he is one of the worlds best leading men with another standout performance. Bringing his brooding conflicting act to his action acting capability he takes this film from gun-toting to prose-quoting with an all-round, all-star show. "If I'm not me, then who the hell am I" he asks with genuine fear. You're the right man to take this film to the modern mainstream buddy. Sure this will always be Schwarzenegger's film but for at least two hours and our new memories Farrell makes it his.
Still fans of the original don't worry, the woman with three breasts is back and looking better than ever (this isn't it for Kaitlyn Leeb). Want more? Than how about Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. As the two amazing actresses bring their 'Underworld' and 'A-Team' combat training, along with their sex appeal to give this movie a real ass kicking, great look. As Farrell's lead is torn between two of the most beautiful women in Hollywood the femme fatales are in this film for much more than just a 'who's better' choice. They bring the substance over the style and are the perfect parts to symbolize the conflicted nature of this mind messing film. They tie it together perfectly.
Despite being underused there are some great performances from Bokeem Woodbine (especially in a tense, turmoil, turning point act), John Cho and legends Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy, but did I miss the Ethan Hawke cameo? Now there may be some lack of originality here, (then again check out the funky, fluorescent tattoos) but in the overdone world of science fiction its just nice to see a film that keeps up pace. Also all that can be forgiven for an unforgettable film. As a matter of fact, if you see this as a new futuristic action flick and not a 1990 recall this film looks all the better for it. From blending Western and Eastern influences to stunning car chases with more air this film looks the part. From the amazing, dark and totalitarian, futuristic look of the city this film awakens the pages of K. Dick's original book. Even Arnie has to give it up for one. More than another remake, this is an atmospheric reinvention. Remember this one. 'Total Recall' is back. TIM DAVID HARVEY.