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Columbia Pictures

Total Recall

Movies | Poorly paced story, limp acting and unnecessary smut make this a film we're ready to forget

Issue: "School choice," Aug. 25, 2012

Some things are worth forgetting. This summer's remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, Total Recall, is one of them. Director Len Wiseman's version is a boring rehash of the kooky original. Other than impressively dreary scenery and a cool chase scene, this film brings nothing new to the screen.

Schwarzenegger was able to pull off a sympathetic performance as a secret agent whose memory and identity were erased and replaced, but Colin Farrell wasn't able to do the same. His portrayal of the identity-confused agent is more tormented, more pathetic, and far less likeable.

The story begins in 2084 with a world decimated by chemical warfare. The United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony, a grungy, rainy version of Australia, are the only inhabitable areas on Earth. Enter Douglas Quaid (Farrell), a factory worker who dreams nightly about getting captured by drones.

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Turns out, it's a memory, not a dream-and Quaid, fighting to save the Colony from the hegemony of the UFB, has had his memory stripped and a new identity implanted.

Though it may be an intriguing concept, Farrell's tortured performance leaves us bored and in search of riveting characters. In this case, they're the women in his life-Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and Melina (Jessica Biel).

Though the violence isn't as gratuitous as in the original, a constant flow of profanity along with a weird scene of female nudity should have earned this pulp-fiction flick an R rating instead of its PG-13 label.

Quaid finds himself in the end, but it's too late: Killed by a poorly paced story, limp acting, and unnecessary smut, Total Recall by then is a film we're ready to forget.

Stephanie Perrault
Stephanie Perrault

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