Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012)

20/05/2021 0 By anotherkiwiguy

Not all moves are capable of living up to the hype.  Total Recall (2012) was directed by Len Wiseman, and was expected to be a blockbuster of epic proportions.  It was a re-imagining of the original 1990 film of the same name, directed by Paul Verhoeven.  Following a similar premise of “Protagonist thinks he is an average every day dude, but is actually caught up in a mired web of lies; deceit and corporate espionage”, the 2012 film failed to live up to the expectations of the audience.


Set in a dystopian future, the world is divided into two distinct classes – The Ruling (or Corporate) Class based in the UK/EU, and the Working Class masses who live on top of each other in the Colony (Australia).  The two are connected by a tunnel bored through the center of the planet, and the working class travel via a kind of capsule through what they call the Drop to get to work on the other side of the planet.

Douglas Quaid (played by Colin Farrell) is a work-a-day plebeian, who travels The Drop daily to work.  While is life seems simple enough, he has a deep yearning for something more, as if he was meant to do great things with his life.  Through a series of mostly random events, he seeks out Rekall – a company that implants memories into the minds of people who want to have experienced greater things.  We are, after all, the sum of our memories.

The Rekall representative (played by John Cho), offers a selection of memories, to which Quaid responds strongly to the thought of having the memories of a virtual Spy. The implantation of the selected memories begins, and due to a series of circumstances, the memory implant fails.  The main evens suddenly take a turn toward the extreme, as Quaid comes under fire from all directions.


Douglas Quaid/Carl Hauser is mostly believable, thanks to Farrells general intensity.  He seems to have a good grasp of what makes a good lead, but lacks the presence of a physically more imposing actor.  Someone with the experiences of Quaid/Hauser should feel more buff.

Kate Beckinsales Lori, is a little over the top, and her demeanor tends to grate on the nerves a little.  It’s not that Beckinsale cant portray the part well, it seems to be how the character was written.  She comes off as both needy and psychotic at the same time.  Perhaps that speaks to Beckinsales acting prowess.

The love interest Melina, played by Jessica Biel is somewhat one note.  She comes off as a needy, if somewhat empty character.  We don’t see any character development here, and it feels very lacking.  I didn’t feel like I cared about her enough to want to know more about her, or her back story.

Bryan Cranston stands out as the near perfect antagonist to Farrell, with similar physical builds, and a snobbish demanding personality.  Everything this actor touches just feels like it turns to gold.  He brings a real amazing versatility to any role, and this is no exception.  His part as the Governor of the UK feels like a real politician who isnt afraid to get his hands dirty should the need arise.

The other parts played by the likes of Bill Nighy; Bokeem Woodbine and Will Yun Lee are fairly forgettable, with the exception of Nighy’s somewhat interesting interpretation of what the leader of a resistance movement should be.

Quaids home environment is very reminiscent of the Neon laden drabness of Blade Runner, but lacks the finesse of Ridley Scotts touch.  The futuristic and spartan UK/EU on the other side of the Drop is interesting, but feels very empty after being bombarded by the Australian home scenes.  The UK, with its hovering cars, manicured gardens, and tall glass towers feels extremely manufactured, almost like it was printed out of cement, steel and silicone.  In the political climate of 2020, it creates a strong “us vs them” mentality, and it will ring true with the average movie goer.

There are some glaring plot holes, but none of which detract from the movie being enjoyable.  There is a little niggling issue where all of the people who are on display are for the most part, attractive.  The protagonist; his wife; his love interest; the Governor of the UK.  Even most of the people on the streets and Quaids co-workers.

Another thing that stands out, is that the plot is centered around the UK and Australia, and all but two of the characters are speaking with American accents.


If you can find it in the Bargain Bin at the Warehouse, grab it.  There’s nothing quite like a Friday night with a couple of beers and a good action flick.  While it not be a true masterpiece, it holds its own against some of the more mundane and pedestrian action films out there.  Good characters, a booming soundtrack, and a lot of beat-em-up action.  Perfect for that night in with the boys.

Total Recall (2012)









  • Thumping Soundtrack
  • Cool action sequences
  • Decent special effects


  • Very cliche plot devices
  • A complete rewrite
  • Frustrating plot holes