Throughout the years many Phillip K. Dick stories have been turned into successful movies, but Total Recall is the first one that has be made into two movies. The first was in 1990, and it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid, the everyman who wants a little more excitement in his life. This time around Colin Farrell takes the lead. Will he be able to pull himself out of Governator’s shadow and make the role his own, or will he find himself having a difficult time living up to the original?
Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a hard working factory worker who has a beautiful wife named Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and very little else to show for his life. He dreams of something more, and when he hears of Rekall, a business that offers implanted memories, he decides that he can at least find a little bit of the excitement he’s been craving. Before the procedure can be completed however, it is interrupted, and he finds himself on the run from government agents. He discovers that his wife isn’t really his wife, and is instead another agent sent to spy on him and kill him if necessary. As he attempts to discover who he really is he runs into Melina (Jessica Biel), a fighter for the resistance movement and the mysterious women who had been invading his dreams. As more of his memory begins to return Quaid not only finds himself disliking who he previously was, but he also finds himself in the middle of a war.
Total Recall will inevitably find itself being compared to the original, even though the movies are very different from one another. Other than the basic plot and characters, there really aren’t a lot of similarities. There is no mistaking director Len Wiseman’s style, which is basically cool cinematography, amazing action, little plot and poor dialogue. Unfortunately that makes this movie fall into the same category as his Underworld flicks, namely they are fun to watch once, but you probably won’t check it out a second time. The acting is very flat, and doesn’t stand out either, which makes it hard to care if Quaid gets caught or not. At times you really just want to hear one of the classic Schwarzenegger lines, but the movie doesn’t have any of them. The movie does pay homage to the original in a few scenes which was nice to see, and the city itself looks very much like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, which was an adaptation of a Phillip K. Dick story as well.
Total Recall is worth seeing once, but you probably won’t want to own it once it comes out on DVD. The city background will catch your eye and draw you in, and the action will keep you entertained, but nothing else is special about this movie at all.