The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Total Recall | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Total Recall

Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, John Cho

Blue collar worker Farrell visits Rekall, a company who implant their clients with false memories, and discovers a past he was unaware of.

First of all let's get one thing out of the way. Despite the film-makers' claims, this is most certainly a remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 movie. For a start, the Philip K. Dick story on which both are based isn't actually called "Total Recall" and it certainly doesn't feature a three-breasted hooker. The reason Hollywood is remaking so many movies is because they seem to think audiences aren't interested in original material so why can't they just be up-front with us? Don't piss down our backs and tell us it's raining, to quote "The Outlaw Josey Wales".
I'm not against remakes providing they give us a new take on the material. John Carpenter's "The Thing" is a perfect example of how great a remake can be. This however is a perfect example of how bad they can be. Wiseman has chosen to give us a by the numbers retelling of Verhoeven's film, complete with all the aspects that make modern Hollywood movies so awful. It's a plot heavy film, one which requires clever storytelling to keep things moving and hold audience attention. The script, like most of this Summer's blockbusters, is weighed down with exposition. It's the old "explain the plot while I point this gun at your head" cliche amped to the max. By the halfway point I was clueless as to what I was trying to follow and frankly didn't care as my interest had completely waned. Don't expect the action scenes to save it either, they're terrible. Wiseman's shooting style is akin to watching one of the "Star Wars" prequels on fast forward, all flashing CGI and shaky camerawork.
There's no excuse for not turning this into a fun romp. Had someone like Hitchcock or Spielberg made this and you asked them what the movie is about they'd probably say it's the story of a man, his wife and his mistress. If you asked Wiseman I suspect he'd attempt to explain the plot. That's the difference between a great film-maker and a hack. When given a script, the hack will film the words. The great film-maker knows that cinema lives in the space between those words. Unfortunately for contemporary audiences, Hollywood only deals in words and numbers.