For those of you who are big Arnie fans or you just simply watch a lot of ITV2, Total Recall thrust Arnold Schwarzenegger into a world set on Mars for what was an event of action, one liners and plenty of sci-fi to keep the early '90s fans happy. Fast forward to 2012 and the film gets its very own revamp/remake/reimagining (whatever your preference) in placing Colin Farrell in the lead role followed by co stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.
This time around we are still following an individual by the name of Douglas Quaid (Farrell), a factory worker who is gradually questioning whether his life is the one he actually wants to lead. As he begins to grow tired of everyday life, Quaid heads to Rekall in order to live out his wildest dreams in having memories inserted into his brain enabling him a life as a secret agent. When things go awry it appears that he is in fact already an agent but his memory is not quite what is used to be. With his 'wife' (Beckinsale) in tow attempting to kill him, aided by a force of soldiers, both human and robotic, Quaid joins forces with Melina (Biel) and looks to unveil the truth about the life he thought existed.
Veering off slightly from the original plot, the Total Recall of 2012 is undoubtedly an actioner that fans of the genre will be hugely satisfied with. Each and every pulsating sequence is a barrage of gunshots, explosions and CGI landscapes, all backed by a pumping orchestral score, and the presentation of it all is impressive. From neon-signed territories riddled with the massess to underground tunnels leading to other accessible areas, the film is a feat of visual brilliance, somewhat influenced by the likes of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element in presentation.
As for the acts involved, Farrell is a perfect choice for the everyday man turned fighter in a turn that sees him in familiar territory, and breezes through yet another leading part. Co-stars Biel and Beckinsale are very much a chalk and cheese operation though, Biel trudging through rather unnoticeable as Farrell's partner in crime, whilst Beckinsale revels in her role as the bad Jezebel. Clearly working under director Len Wiseman once again following their Underworld series, Beckinsale adds meat to the bones in much of the action unfolding and portrays her character in very much a similar vain to that of her Underworld role. Elsewhere, Bill Nighy is hugely underused in a role that almost appears rather understated and Bryan Cranston's villain cruises through proceedings with nothing more than a standard performance.
Total Recall is one of those action films that is hugely entertaining yet utterly forgettable, rather ironically. Farrell's Quaid is not quite the character we were treated with in the original, with hardly any stand-out moments throughout, and Beckinsale aside, the other acts fail to provide that extra panache to make you sit up and pay attention. Admittedly, the action is a treat to behold, both visually and in entertainment value, but there seems to be one piece of the jigsaw somehow missing. Whether its the humorous quips of Arnie or a lack of Mars focus, Total Recall retains a feisty and pacey edge but falls slightly short of astounding.
Film rating: 3 out of 5 F's