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Where's My Kuato? Unfortunately, Not the Only Thing Missing from 2012's Total Recall!!!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Total Recall 2012Mark Bomback, Kurt WimmerLen WisemanColin Farrell, Kate BeckinsaleRonald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Total Recall(2012)
 

When the preview of the new “Total Recall” premiered, I was bemused by how uninspired it looked. How could a movie derived from one of the best Sci-Fi adventures of the 90’s be so potentially flat? I needed Kuato’s wisdom on this one! I took my ass to Mars, where Kuato popped out from some middle-aged man’s beer gut. Kuato’s slimy and tiny hands gently grab mine’s. I ask him, “Oh, Kuato, am I giving too much credit to a movie that co-starred a three-boob mutant? Is a movie where the most famous line is ‘See ya at the party, Richter!!!’ delivered with sardonic brunt by a 300 pound Austrian muscle-head absolved from the blasphemy of a remake?” Kuato’s calming voice just said “John...open your mind... open your mind... OPEN YOUR MINDDDDD...” My mind uncluttered, I was ready for recall, 2012.

Screwwww youuuu, Kuato! My original impression of the trailer was true; reminding me I saw this movie before, only cooler and surprisingly cleverer the first time around. In this new version, Colin Farrell takes over for Arnold Schwarzenegger as laborer Douglas Quaid. Bored with his blue collar stratum and existentially inquisitive about being part of something greater, Quaid goes to Rekall against the advice of his loving wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and buddy Harry (Bokeem Woodbine). Rekall, a clinic that implants memories into a person’s mind, offers Quaid the opportunity of a lifetime: to escape from himself and live out the wildest adventure as a secret agent.

Like in the first movie, as soon as Quaid gets “recalled,” the line between truth and fantasy is shattered. Quaid learns he is the key in a war between a rebellion lead by Matthias (Bill Nighy) against the tyrannical grasp of Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Of course, Lori still turns up to is a total bitch like Sharon Stone was in the old film, heading a group of Military droids in attempts to capture Quaid. A mysterious kick-ass babe Melina (Jessica Biel) becomes Quaid’s only ally in a fight not just for his sanity, but for the future of Earth.

“Total Recall” is re-imagined by director Len Wiseman (“Underworld”) and written by Kurt Wimmer (“Equilibrium") and Mark Bomback (“Live Free or Die Hard”). This version strips the Mars mutant war for air plot for a Earth-centered socio-political one, composites the Richter character with Lori, and eradicates the absurdity of the original film with dystopian intent. The biggest failure of this facelift is that it attempts to upscale the grandiosity of the original with overtly executed action sequences that have been recycled from “Minority Report” and “The Fifth Element.” Honestly, “Total Recall” in 2012 should have aspired to be the smarter movie, not the brawnier one. In fact, Paul Verhoeven’s exaggerated vision of a hyper-reality as the ultimate mind trip stands out even more when a leaner take of the same story missed the point.

Schwarzenegger’s Quaid, even as superhuman as the action star was in his prime, still had a certain charm that made him believable as both common man and hero. Colin Farrell is a good actor, but somehow you can’t engage with him as the puzzled yet allured hero. I feel the same way of Beckinsale, even as physically amped as she is, doesn’t have the menace required for a lead heel. Overall, there’s a good collection of actors that were either miscast or poorly directed, which leads to Len Wiseman.

I like Wiseman’s “Underworld” movies; they’re fun, moodily cool action films that brought freshness to the vampire/werewolf mythos. However, he was handed the keys to two established titles with his fourth “Die Hard” movie in 2007 and now this year’s “Total Recall.” Both movies are painstakingly mediocre, a disappointment considering that he's asked to revitalize 20 year old films/franchises that as great as they were aren’t immune of a tune-up. While it is unfair to expect Wiseman to be Chris Nolan, he’s not even Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class”), Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) or even Craig Gillespie, who actually made Colin Farrell interesting in his underappreciated “Fright Night” remake. I think Wiseman is a decent director, but definitely not a visionary. As for this “Total Recall,” it’s a memory best forgotten.

Trailer:

Official website:
Total Recall

Pics:
Total Recall2012Mark Bomback, Kurt WimmerLen WisemanColin Farrell, Kate BeckinsaleRonald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick  Total Recall2012Mark Bomback, Kurt WimmerLen WisemanColin Farrell, Kate BeckinsaleRonald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick  Total Recall2012Mark Bomback, Kurt WimmerLen WisemanColin Farrell, Kate BeckinsaleRonald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick 

Credits:
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Written by: Mark Bomback, Kurt Wimmer
Based on work(s) by: Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale


Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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