2012 was a pretty awesome year for new-age action, with not only titles like Dredd and John Carter (21 Jump Street, Prometheus, Lockout, Expendables 2, Men in Black 3, Skyfall, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers... holy shit the list of great action movies this year just goes on and on!), but remakes on such classics as this! And not a bad one either... even if it doesn't quite 'live up' to the previous. I mean it's not as alive. It's way more authentic, sure, but it's also gray, grueling, and aggravating in new ways. Good and bad, of course. It stands on it's own as a great movie, but I liked the last one better.
The differences? Both main characters have been switched from blondes to brunettes/black-hair's, and they add in backstory. As with any typical modern movie they explain more than they need to just to make it seem as real/advanced as possible. The intrigue's not bad but... I find it's the simplest intrigues that delve the deepest. The more they explain, the less mystery, and the less there is to imagine.
They pay homage with plenty of elements from the first one though, and I appreciate how they mix things around. Things like how the three-boobed girl says you'd wish you had three hands, and the lady at the airport... does what she does. Harry's still a good buddy too - played by none other than Bokeem Woodbine, though The Fall is new. Part of the 'over-explanation' thing (but it plays a role).
About roles: Colin Farrell seems to get all the weird ones, but he does this once convincingly, and Kate Beckinsale plays a convincing bad girl. The good girl is Jessica Biel. Bryan Cranston is the boss, and he looks a bit like Arnold too, albeit without the buffness. Intentional?. Also: did this movie have the first dubstep soundtrack part in a Blockbuster movie that actually worked?
The views are pretty impressive. The society's complex; the architecture layered and creatively twisted. It makes you lose your sense of direction, and reminds me a bit of the Fifth Element, but more. Old movies underdid it. These movies? They overdo. There are cellphones built into hands too (a nameless Internet of things plug?), and all these elements aren't bad, but all together... a bit much. Like my overuse of emphasis.
I like the creative car chase - which had me wondering if maybe Luc Besson had directed this movie. Hmm... turns out it was Len Wiseman - coincidentally the guy who's been involved with all Underworld movies I'm watching right now, which also star Kate Beckinsale. Paul Verhoeven directed the original Total Recall, as well as many other iconic (and similar, now that you know the connection) titles of the times, such as RoboCop and Basic Instinct, and a few others. All works of equal caliber.
This movie ends equally, but this time with even more of a twist, so we really aren't sure if everything went alright this time. Is it all... a dream? Of course I hope it isn't. If it was there'd be no need to show their ads within it, right? Recall. Or maybe that's exactly why it is there.
Ain't nothing like a good twist. It doesn't feel neither as refined, nor as raw as the former, but for a modern sci-fi action flick it's a real trip. Total Recall. Today. I'm happy to relive it.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle