Recalling Total Recall

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Apr 4, 2012 in Cinema |

Total Recall 1990

The first trailer for Len Wiseman’s Total Recall hit the net this week, and surprisingly, it really looks good. Given Hollywood’s current fetish for reinventing classic films, I had plenty of reservations when plans were announced a year ago, especially after hearing that Colin Farrell would be cast as Douglas Quaid, a character we’ve only ever associated with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Farrell isn’t unknown to the action genre but for a time, Schwarzenegger defined it. So how do they plan on tackling it? The answer is simple, believability.

After watching the trailer, I found myself asking why it looked so good, especially since I loved the original — or so I thought. In hindsight, the original film wasn’t that great. The acting wasn’t all there, the pacing needed work, and following the actual plot could prove difficult at times. Not as difficult as Mission: Impossible, but confusing enough to make explaining it to a 5-year-old a real challenge. Setting aside Schwarzenegger’s silly one-liners, a gratuitous three-breasted mutant, and Michael Ironside’s memorable performance, the film ultimately comes off as another cookie-cutter 80s action flick.

While the trailer for the upcoming reboot doesn’t promise an entirely new plot, or even the inclusion of three-breasted mutants, it gives us hope for something better. Farrell actually looks more believable in the role of Douglas Quaid. I mean, just think about it, Schwarzenegger plays a man — conveniently a construction worker — who fantasizes about life as a spy, but just happens to be cut like Thor? At least Farrell passes for your “Everyday Joe.” It helps that like most films these days, the visuals are top notch. If the trailer is any indication, they don’t plan on going over-the-top with the CG.

Total Recall 2012 poster

Finally, they’ve clearly expanded the roles of Quaid’s wife, as well as his female companion. Both Jessica Biel and Rhona Mitra are decent actresses and should carry their respective roles well. It all seems so promising, so keep your fingers crossed. With any luck, Wiseman will fix the pacing issues, and deliver a film worth remembering. Total Recall hits theaters August 8th.

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