I think I am slightly too young to have fully appreciated the original Total Recall. By the time I saw it the ‘dream vs. reality’ concept was fairly played out and the effects seemed a little dated. I was fairly anxious to revisit a story that was familiar but updated with modern special effects and I wasn’t disappointed.
Colin Ferrel plays the role of factory worker Douglas Quaid, made famous by Arnold Schwarzeneggar in the original in 1990. Quaid is unhappy with his lot in life and decides to use a service called Rekall to implant an interesting memory in his brain. He chooses the life of a secret agent but as he is undergoing the procedure he is told that he actually is a spy, Rekall is attacked and Quaid quickly dispatches the agents that had come for him. He comes home to his wife (Kate Beckinsale) only to find out that she is an undercover agent assigned to keep tabs on him. Quaid manages to escape and runs off with Melina (Jessica Biel) while trying to separate dream from reality.
Ferrel is admirable in the lead role but isn’t given material that really suits his strengths. I tend to prefer disgruntled, smart-ass roles for him, but he does lost and confused fairly well. As for the actresses, let’s just say they were not necessarily cast for their acting ability. While the two of them were not bad, I kept asking myself why is Kate Beckinsale’s character still around (may have something to do with her being married to the director). Any movie that makes me wish there was less of Kate Beckinsale has done something slightly wrong.
While I will say that the new Total Recall is far from a perfect film, the same can be said for the original. The new one strays far fewer times in to the truly bizarre. It probably makes the movie a little less silly but also a little more forgettable because there are fewer images from the film that stick in your mind. It’s still worth a watch as long as you don’t get all butt-hurt that the movie doesn’t take place on Mars.