A curious question to as is, when Hollywood writer’s original ideas, what’s next? Why, you start to remake blockbusters from the 1990’s, of course. total recall

Total Recall (2012) Film Review

Dreams haunt Douglas Quaid (Collin Farrell). In them, he tries to escape captivity but cannot escape a high-tech facility where others pursue him. Before he wakes, he remembers saving a woman (Jessica Biel) who he does not recognize. His wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is always beside him to help him get past these nightmares.

Living in a post-apocalyptic world, each day Doug goes about the same routine while his wife works as an EMT. The British Federation police keep order, while a force known as the “resistance” is at the mercy of the media’s negativity. From the poorer ‘colony’ community, Doug knows something is missing from his life. He wants something different. So hoping for change in his humdrum existence, he goes to a place called Rekall. A place that manufactures any reality the costumer wants but there’s a catch; you cannot pick your own reality. Before his dream begins, armed guards attempt to arrest Doug, and suddenly he becomes a wanted man.     

Sci-Fi movies from the 1990’s make me cringe. Just looking at the production stills of this 1990 film of the same name causes me to go, “ew!” Without ever seeing the original film I shouldn’t judge, but in this case, I will say, it won’t be a sacrifice to say I prefer this movie over the cheese of its predecessor. For a non-sci-fi geek, this is a surprise and something out of my comfort zone to see, but it’s pretty good. Plus I’m rather fond of its leading man and Kate Beckinsale, who once played Austen’s iconic Emma Woodhouse. 

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‘TOTAL RECALL’ (2012). Collin Farrell and Jessica Biel co-star in this sci-fi film about a man who tries to regain freedom. Text © Rissi JC

Any film that goes into mind control is a bit sketchy. For a million different reasons, this is not a movie that everyone will like. Its setting is dark, the depravity in each situation depressing, and the idea behind it may offend some potential viewers. Not only does corruption rule what (the things) surrounds each character but their attitudes, one of acceptance and unhappiness. Doug is suddenly unhappy in his reality and it makes us sad that he cannot be happy. And it’s reason enough for us to wish for him his “freedom.” It’s just not the peaceful journey we may expect by rooting Doug on. total recall

The body count is high and the emotional impact is staggering. There’s some intelligence in the script though most the time the movie is too much of a flashy blockbuster to realize it could have be more. The filming takes some adjusting to as a white light backlights the character and halos them in a sterile type glow and seems to distract from enjoying the movie. No matter some of the fun parts of the film, this one is also a frightening idea. What I take away from is a scenario of The Bourne Identity albeit in a high-tech, post 21st century, war-torn world. If you like sci-fi movies, this is a fun (3-star) one to watch on a lazy afternoon. 

Content: In a flashback to its R (rating) predecessor, there is one instance of nudity when a bare-chested woman flashes a man. Other minor sexual implications are present between a married couple; she is seen in her undergarments once. Violence is a high count of high-powered weapons and bullets spraying everywhere, and hand-to-hand combat that leaves numerous bodies in its wake. Profanity also racks up high uses of sh*t as well as abuses of God’s name in various forms, and more minor profanities in a**, b*tch, h*ll, etc. The film is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I wanted to see this, but then changed my mind. I'm a huge thriller/sci-fi fan, which is why it held some appeal. But I read some reviews from Focus on the Family and decided it wasn't worth it this time around. Hehe.

    Good review!

    1. Sci-fi is a genre I've come to love, Rosie – it's just fun. Whether its a combo of Cowboys and Aliens or the quirkiness of a Wizard of Oz re-make, it has grown on me. This one I watched before Christmas and actually loved it. True it's not a favorite but still, it was good. :)

      As FontheF said; this re-make didn't tone down the content all that much. And it's unfortunate.

  2. It's a really cool movie, but my college courses have altered my perspective somewhat when watching or reading almost anything. I didn't like the forward-thinking motivation of the rebels, not at all. We have to look at our past to see where we've been, or we'll never learn. Funny, but a few years ago I would have never noticed. Still, it was awesome, and I do enjoy those crazy CGI scenes. it doesn't quite beat "Blade Runner" though. Harrison Ford is just awesome! ;)

    1. Glad you liked this one okay. Apocalyptic/futuristic movies are usually startling. I don't think I can say they bother me but there is something jarring and unpleasant about the prospect of the world we know now being… different.

      If there is one thing sci-fi flicks can do, it's the crazy filming – and this one delivers!

      Never saw the Blade Runner flick, Carissa. My Harrison Ford films are limited to the most recent "Indiana Jones" and the classic Sabrina. Or those are the only two that come to mind just now. :)

  3. I haven't seen the original (despite loving sci-fi stuff; I'm sorely behind in the sci-fi movie department, but anyways) but when I heard that they were remaking it, I was just O_o Hollywood is really scaring me with the number of remakes these days and lack of original scripts coming out…but I digress ;)

    Great review! I might consider checking it out one of these days (I was sort of on the fence about it but I just might add it to the list to watch now ;))

    1. For all my questions about it, it was good! Love the cast which really helped and while it may not be the most clever movie, it kept me entertained which is usually all I ask.

      Just from looking at movie stills, my reaction to the original was: Ew!. There was some sort of weird alien thing going on… and it just turned me off! ;D

      Hope you enjoy if you decide to see this one, Lianne – I'll keep an eye out for any thoughts you may share. :) Thanks so much for reading.

    1. Always have liked Collin, he's just not usually in "good" movies. His best was American Outlaws. It's still one of my family's fave films. I get not liking an actor and putting off a movie you may have otherwise seen – been there, done that. :)

      Hope you enjoy this one, Renee! It's got the whole sci-fi thing down splendidly. :)

  4. It’s not the most inventive remake out there, but it’s still a fun one that has you suspend your belief and turn off your brain for about 2 hours, and just enjoy what’s on display. Can’t see too much wrong with that, can you? Good review Rissi.

    1. I like movies that don't require us to "think," Dan. We do enough of that in life. :) As a sci-fi movie, this one was fun and in many ways, clever. Glad you liked it also.

      Thank you so much for reading!

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